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What are merchant services?

Merchant services is a broad term used to describe processing services that allow a business to accept credit/debit cards for payment through a secure network.


What is PCI and why do I care about it?

Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards are the guidelines businesses must follow to process credit card payments and protect both the business and their customers. It is required for all merchants, regardless of size.


What are encryption and tokenization?

Encryption and tokenization are security measures to protect credit/debit card information from being stolen during and after a transaction. Encryption prevents cardholder data from being visible without access to an encryption key. Tokenization replaces sensitive data, such as bank details, credit card numbers and customer information, with a number called a token. Anyone trying to intercept this data is not able to view or decipher the information.


What does EMV mean?

EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa and refers to a credit card that contains a smart chip secure technology.


How does payment processing work?

Payment processing comprises several steps but takes only a few seconds to complete. In a nutshell:

  • A customer uses their debit/credit card to pay for goods or services.
  • The merchant’s payment processor authorizes the payment with the card’s network (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) and sends the information to the customer’s issuing bank.
  • The bank verifies the card is legitimate and whether the funds are available to cover the purchase, either approving or declining as appropriate.
  • The merchant then compiles (batches) all the day’s transactions and sends to their payment processor for the funds to be deposited to the merchant’s account and debited to the cardholder (the charge then appears on their monthly statement).


How long does it take to process a credit card payment?

The time it takes to process a credit card payment generally takes one to three days, but  some payment processors are able to provide next-day funding for their business customers. 


What is a POS system?

POS—aka, point of sale—is like a digital cash register, but without the bulky countertop machine of yesteryear. POS systems allow businesses to check out a customer whether they are in-store or online, via app or internet-enabled device. The system calculates the price of an item, including sales tax, and updates the inventory count to show that the item is sold. Your customer then pays for their purchase and the POS generates a digital or printed receipt.


What are chargebacks?

A chargeback is a payment dispute. Customers can request their bank to reverse the funds charged on a credit/debit transaction if they believe the charge to be fraudulent, if they haven’t received the good/services, or if they returned an item. Impulse Payments provides merchants with a dedicated chargeback specialist who will notify you when a chargeback is initiated and provide status updates until the case is closed.