Merchant Applications reference legal Terms and Conditions that govern Merchant Accounts
By signing most applications, you are agreeing to terms you have not seen. Simply processing a single transaction can also obligate you to terms you may not know exist. Just know this, MasterCard and Visa have Terms and Conditions and you can't accept cards without agreeing to them, so please avoid those who try to hide the contract terms from you.
Working with merchants every day, we receive lots of feedback regarding our educational sales approach. Recent stories from the field bring to light new warnings we need to share with you. Vantage has been warning merchants to avoid long-term contracts and merchant contracts with cancellation fees. However, be careful if you hear sales people telling you in proposals and verbally that they will waive the contract cancellation fee or waive the three year contract term! They may even line through hard -coded fees on their merchant "application". So are these companies finally coming around? Unfortunately not.
Here is the problem with this “waiving” phenomenon.
1. Reps are waiving processing terms and fees on the merchant application, not on the actual legal agreement. In fact, pay close attention to see if you are actually reading the legal agreement at all. You may just be looking at a “Highlights of Terms and Conditions" not the actual Merchant Processing Agreement. These highlights "look" legal but be careful.
2. When examining the fine print of the full legal merchant agreement, in addition to looking for contract term and cancellation fee notices, you will want to find key language like: “amendments” – no provision of this agreement may be waived, amended, or modified except in writing signed by an officer. Sales reps do not have the authority to waive contract terms.
We are on a crusade to inform and educate merchants and to save them from making costly mistakes. Don't be blinded by “acquisition style pricing” to the point you forget about the difference between the application and terms. Be cautious when you spot "say anything, do anything" salesmanship.
When you spot questionable merchant acquisition business models in your market, sound the horns and warn your neighbors and friends.