Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

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Opening A New Merchant Account

How do I apply for a merchant account?
Applying for a Fidelity merchant account is simple. Fill out the “Contact Us” form to the right of this page, and we’ll have a representative contact you right away to get started.

What do I need to apply for an account?
1. A United States business address
2. A US Tax ID number (or Social Security number if it’s a sole proprietorship)
3. A valid business checking account
4. An authorized business signer that is a US citizen (with SSN) with a fair credit score
For businesses in Canada or the UK, please visit our website www.FidelityPayment.com.

How do I request more information about credit card processing?
Our representatives are knowledgeable, experienced and ready to answer any questions you may have. Simply fill out the form to the right of this page, and you’ll get a call back shortly.

How long after I apply for an account can I start accepting credit cards?
Account approval usually takes place within 2-3 business days. During this time, the account must get approved by the bank’s underwriting departments and equipment must either be purchased and set up or reprogrammed.

Why do merchant accounts need to be “underwritten”?
Each merchant account must be approved by the bank before it goes live. This process is called “underwriting.” What happens is the bank examines the documents provided by the merchant to ensure that they are trustworthy from a financial and legal standpoint. This is because in the event of issues that arise, the Merchant Account Provider holds responsibility for any losses. Therefore they have a rigorous screening and approval process prior to boarding each account.

Can I be approved if I have poor or no credit?
The risk factor for businesses with poor or no credit is very high, which makes obtaining a merchant account more difficult. However, we specialize in accommodating high-risk accounts and will consider each case on an individual basis.

Our Services

Which payment services does Fidelity provide?
Fidelity provides an extensive array of payment solutions for merchants. We’ve worked with businesses of all sizes, and across all industries for the past 25 years. Currently, we offer credit card processing, check services, payment gateways, point-of-sale systems, e-commerce fraud solutions, gift cards, and ATMs.

What is credit card processing?
Merchant Services or credit card processing is the handling of electronic payment transactions for merchants. Merchant processing activities involve obtaining sales information from the merchant, receiving authorization for the transaction, collecting funds from the bank which issued the credit card, and sending payment to the merchant.

What are gift and loyalty programs?
Gift programs allow merchants to offer electronic gift cards just like the major retail chains at a fraction of the price. Loyalty programs reward customers when they reach a certain number of points, purchases or visits. A loyalty program will help you not only retain your customers but increase spending and frequency of visits as well.

What is ACH?
An ACH is when money is electronically transferred from one bank account to another via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. Instead of sending a check, the customer authorizes the merchant to initiate a “debit” directly out of their checking account. An ACH can also be used as a credit and sent by the customer to the merchant to create an account balance prior to purchasing.

What are check services?
Check services, or e-checks is a broad term that can include ACH, Check21, and Check Guarantee. It allows you to handle checks and obtain funding from the comfort of your office, using a desktop check scanner, online, or over the phone.

How does Fidelity’s ATM program work?
You can find an ATM in many retail stores, clubs, restaurants, and business offices. This is because it is an easy, automated source of income for businesses from the surcharge that is generated for each transaction.

What is cash in advance?
Cash in advance is a program that gives merchants the ability to get actual cash by tapping into the funds of future credit card sales. Fidelity’s Cash in Advance program affords merchants the flexibility of having cash on hand to finance their immediate operations.

Equipment

What is a POS system?
A POS or Point of Sale system is a software program with integrated credit card processing capabilities that takes the place of a regular cash register. It uses customizable functions with tailored features to a particular industry or retail environments such as payroll or inventory management.

Will you provide training on how to use a credit card terminal or gateway?
Absolutely! All new merchants are thoroughly trained during the setup process. For further questions along the way, our customer support team is knowledgeable and ready to help you with any questions you may have.

How do I choose which terminal, software, and equipment are best for my business?
Our Agents are experts in the latest software and equipment options on the market. They will help you find one that meets your business needs, at the price point that is right for you.

What is e-commerce?
E-commerce refers to online businesses. In e-commerce transactions, the payment process occurs electronically and automatically, through online payment “gateways” that integrate directly into your shopping cart.

What is a gateway?
A payment gateway is a virtual portal that replaces the traditional countertop credit card terminal. FideliPay is our fully automated online terminal solution.

What are the benefits of FideliPay?
As Fidelity’s premier e-commerce portal, FideliPay provides a fast and reliable gateway for merchants to process secure credit card transactions. It is one of the most affordable on the market, is easily customizable, and includes credit card and recurring billing features. Unlike software, upgrades are automatic and do not need to be downloaded, and you can access the gateway from anywhere.

Processing Credit Card Transactions

When do my transactions get funded?
Fidelity offers next-business day funding for all card types, including American Express.

How do I get next day funding?
There are a number of factors to keep in mind when setting up next day funding, so please make sure to discuss it with your rep during the setup process. To receive your funds by the following morning, you will need to have your system set to batch out at a specified time each evening.

What is the difference between a void and a refund?
A void must be done on the same day of the original charge, before the batch is closed, and will not appear on a cardholder’s credit card statement. Whereas a refund can be issued any time after the original transaction, even if the batch was settled. It is displayed as a credit on the cardholder’s statement.

What’s the difference between a keyed and a swiped account? Which is preferable?
Most retail stores and businesses accept credit cards when the card and cardholder are present. Other businesses, such as mail order companies, key in the credit card information without actually seeing the card or cardholder. The difference between these swiped and keyed conditions are the associated risk factors per transaction, which will determine a merchant’s rates.

Swiped or inserted transactions have the lowest rates because they are the lowest risk since the customer and the card are present at the time of the charge.

Keyed transactions have higher rates since the cardholder is not present when the card is charged, which creates a higher risk of fraud.

Billing

How often will I be billed for a merchant account?
Credit card merchant account statements are posted on the 2nd or 3rd of each month, for the previous month’s processing. Merchants who opt for online reporting can view their statement the same day, and all merchants should receive their statements in the mail by the 10th of the month.

How often will I be billed for check services?
Check services fees are debited on the second week of each month for the previous month of processing.

How often will I be billed for a payment gateway?
Gateway fees are debited on the second week of each month for the previous month of processing. An invoice is sent via email on the same day.

PCI Compliance

What is PCI?
PCI compliance is a security guideline mandated by the major credit card associations. It was created to reduce fraud in the credit card industry by requiring certain safety and security precautions in the handling of personal credit card information. Perhaps the most noted feature of PCI is the prohibition of merchants storing card data in any shape or form unless it is encrypted in accordance with PCI rules. To be compliant, all merchants are required to submit an annual SAQ (Self Assessment Questionnaire), and merchants that process over the internet are usually required to pass a quarterly vulnerability scan.

Do I need to be PCI Compliant?
Yes. All merchants are required by the major credit card associations to be PCI Compliant. Being compliant ensures that your customers’ personal information is safe and that you run a secure operation. Non-compliant merchants that experience a data breach are often penalized with fines and penalties.

What is my username for the PCI portal?
The username to access the PCI portal is your full merchant number. It can be found on your statement or the sticker located on the side of your terminal.

I’m a seasonal merchant that only processes three months out of the year. Does my merchant account still need to be PCI Compliant?
Yes. Any merchant that has the option of taking credit cards must be PCI Compliant, no matter how often they process.

Fraud

What can I do to prevent credit card fraud?
Fidelity offers a wide array of fraud prevention tools, including customizable filters, advanced IP address tools, and automatic email notifications after suspicious transactions. For more information on which fraud protection tools would benefit your business, feel free to give us a call to speak to a knowledgeable representative.

How do I prevent chargebacks?
The best method of preventing chargebacks is to process transactions exactly as you were trained to do. For retail merchants, that would mean to complete “card present” transactions with electronic authorizations and the cardholder’s signature. Additionally, there are several practices that merchants can adopt to reduce the likelihood of chargebacks. Some examples are: Having a clear refund and return policy, responding promptly to inquiry letters, and letting customers know what merchant name will appear on their credit card statements.

Adjusting For Daylight Savings Time

Will my terminal adjust automatically for Daylight Savings Time?
No. Terminals need to be manually adjusted for Daylight Savings Time twice a year. For instructions on how to do so, watch our instructional videos here.

Will my gateway adjust automatically for Daylight Savings Time?
Yes. Gateways and other online e-commerce options adjust automatically for daylight savings time.