New companies in direct selling start with developing their product, their commission plan, and their founding distributors. The next big requirement to starting your business is to get credit card processing. You can only work with cash payments for a short time before you realize there is a need for electronic payments. A few questions might come up. How do I get a merchant account and credit card processing gateway? How long does it take to set them up? How many do I need in order to work in multiple countries?
To begin earning revenue as a company, it is important to work with your software provider to connect your commissioning engine, order processing, fulfillment, and returns systems to your merchant account. I recently had a conversation with Glen Rawlins, a merchant processing and fraud monitoring consultant who works with startups and companies seeking to expand internationally. He has observed the difficulty new companies go through when they try to get and maintain merchant accounts.
Avoiding credit card fraud
When fraud happens, you often do not learn about the fraud until up to six weeks later when a chargeback occurs. A fraudster can take a half a million dollars before you realize you have been hit. Most startup companies cannot afford even $50,000 in fraud let alone $500,000. Unfortunately, fraud is on the rise in the direct sales industry. Fraudsters have figured out that they can purchase your companies’ product at a lower price on eBay and earn commission on the purchases using stolen credit cards. They can do this without setting a foot out the door.
Because of the rising incidence of fraud in the industry, Glen Rawlins highly recommends that executives consider advanced policies, procedures, fraud monitoring, and fraud detection systems that include Device ID (examples: www.kount.com, www.ThreatMetrix.com) essential.
Some processors are starting to integrate advanced fraud detection systems. Most companies are unaware of the complexity involved in integrating these systems and thus have no idea how to tighten the barrier between themselves and fraud. Glen recommends his clients implement a system that allows them to use a review queue for questionable transactions, instead of just a pass/fail.
The process of implementing Glen’s recommended configuration for credit card processors and gateways to serve multiple countries can take one to six months depending on the complexity of your system. Having been a direct selling software developer for 35 years he also has key insights and experience in connecting these processing systems with multiple current direct selling software vendors.
Processing checks electronically
Many people also forget that they will most likely need to process checks. Online check processing is called ACH. It is a great way to process orders online, over the phone, and much more. These services are available to distributors to pay by online check if they prefer (e.g. www.vericheck.com). It takes an additional three business days to see if a check clears, but it can reduce your cost of processing the orders, and you can pass part of the savings on the distributors and customers.
In conclusion, it is important for every new startup to understand the delicate nature of their merchant account and ACH processing in a world full of fraud risk and online orders. Having an expert to guide you can save you weeks if not months or even possibly years with the wrong solution. If you are seeking help as you get secure merchant account processing and fraud detection software, consider reaching out to Glen Rawlins for assistance. His contact information can be found on his author page.