Open Letter from Ted Hardison, CEO, Vantage Card Services

As a merchant in these difficult economic times, you are looking for every way possible to cut costs and survive.  And there seems to be no shortage of merchant account providers soliciting your business, offering to lower your rates for accepting credit cards and promising the big savings you are looking for.  However, now more than ever, merchants must use caution when selecting financial firms to process their payments.

Primarily a commission only sales force, many of the representatives walking through your door selling merchant accounts today will likely not be in the industry in a few months.  A good number of the organizations they represent may not be either.  With these challenging market conditions: lower payment card transaction volume, fewer new merchants opening businesses, higher default rates of businesses going out of business, increased competition, lower margins, and greater fraud risk; the merchant account provider you are about to commit to may be hurting worse than you are. 

As a smart consumer of merchant services, you not only must consider the rate and rate structure, find the hidden fees, and read the contract's fine print; you also need to independently research the financial status, years in business, the BBB and D&B reports of the proposed provider before making a decision.

You should also consider the motivation and business model of the merchant services vendor you are considering.  Introductory rates are designed to make long-term contracts appealing, but if you value your time, consider not just the short-term but also the long-term consequences.  Acquisition pricing (below market, unsustainable pricing models used to simply acquire new customers) does not last. 

Like you, we are feeling the downturn.  But, with 13 years under our belt, we are fortunate to have built a large loyal client base.  Vantage’s overhead is low; our pricing is highly competitive and value driven.  We know this because every provider is operating from the exact same published Interchange rates.   We know all of our competitors’ rates.  We also know that no company can compete with the overall value package of price, service, terms, solutions and incentives we deliver. 

What’s a rock solid vendor relationship worth?   With payment cards comprising a large slice of your total revenue, don’t take your processing choice for granted.  All merchant service providers are NOT created equal.  Vantage has an A+ rating with the BBB and a solid reputation for delivering value, quality and stability.  Vantage’s processing bank relationship is with HSBC Bank USA.  As of 2008, HSBC is the world's largest banking group according to Forbes magazine.  Global Payments and Vital are two of the top processing networks in the industry.   Now is not the time to risk your processing to inexperience.

To save time, weed out the “rate as low as” solicitations.  Don’t take the risk of changing providers simply for the “promise” of big savings.   Given the chance, we will fight hard for your business with the knowledge that you are not overpaying.  We hate losing good customers to gimmicks, tricks, hidden fees and hidden terms.  Let us provide the professional services you’ve come to know to thoroughly evaluate the terms and fine print of any offer your receive and give you a second opinion.  It will save you time and money in the long run.  

Please let us know how we can improve and serve you better.  We strive to be your “vendor of the year” every year.  We thank you for choosing us as your payment processing partner and wish you much success in 2009!

Sincerely,Ted Hardison

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