How to Set Up a Merchant Account for Call Centers

Call centers provide vital services for companies across the business spectrum. Although the definition of a call center can vary, generally speaking, call centers can answer customers’ questions, provide customer service, conduct research, or solicit new business from potential customers. While they are sometimes considered part of the customer service arm of a business, more often than not, the specialized call centers will contract with businesses to handle these customer service functions.

This occurs because call centers can often run functions for multiple businesses at the same time. As a result, they can provide customer service functions that operate 24 hours a day.

Unfortunately, as any call center operator knows, it is often not easy to manage a call center. There are a variety of obstacles to deal with, including high staff turnover, a wide variety of client projects and objectives to meet, and challenges at conducting the basics of business. Indeed, that last item can be particularly burdensome, as many call centers have trouble obtaining basic tools of business, such as establishing a merchant account.

Fortunately, there are many businesses that can provide high-quality business services to call centers, but there is no question that finding access to affordable business services can be a challenge for many call centers.

What Is a Merchant Account for a Call Center?

A merchant account is what allows a call center to do business. It lets any business accept credit card payments, bank payments, and other merchant services.
As any business knows, the idea of accepting money is not simply a matter of taking cash, making the occasional bank deposit, and watching your money grow. These days, there is a huge array of how businesses collect payment. Cash is barely the smallest fraction of them. There are also credit cards, ACH payments , eCommerce, eChecks,crypto payments, and more. Furthermore, the rise of cybercrime and fraud has created an entirely new need for fraud protection services, and a merchant account provider is critical to not only keeping vases of fraud at a low but also protecting both the merchant and customer from when these instances of fraud occur.
If you are new to this line of work, you may think that opening up a bank account is all that you need. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Banks and bank accounts can help you make payments, store your money, and provide you with financial services. That being said, a bank account is not enough to accept payments, manage the records related to those payments, and more. For that, you need the more advanced financial services that only a merchant account provider can give you.

As such, any call center needs to go out of their way to ensure that they find a merchant account provider who is capable of giving them high-quality merchant account services. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge for call centers for reasons that are often specific to their industry.

Why Do You Need to Establish a Merchant Account for a Call Center?

In theory, all you have to do is call up a merchant account provider and find out how much it will cost you to have them process your payments, set up payment gateways , and manage any other services that you need . They occur because a company is at a higher risk for either fraud or chargebacks.

Since all major credit cards have fraud protection, the credit card company will refund the fraudulent payment. Someone other than the cardholder will then have to bear the burden of the cost. This will result in a chargeback. Chargebacks hurt everyone involved but can be particularly expensive for vendors and merchant account processors, as they have to engage in additional paperwork, investigate the situation, and ultimately refund a charge.

In order to offset the greater risk associated with processing payments for merchants, merchant account providers will often charge vendors — such as call centers — a greater fee with every transaction that they make. They may also engage in more extensive paperwork or charge greater set-up fees.

Avoiding making greater payments for vendors is unavoidable. However, all merchant account providers are absolutely not the same, and many work with a wide array of industries to help reduce their risk — and ultimately the money that they pay.

Why Is a Call Center Considered ?

The classification rarely occurs as a result of 

  • Fraud: A call center will often take payments over the phone, verifying the identity of the cardholder may be difficult. This makes call centers far more likely to inadvertently be participants in making unauthorized charges on a credit card.
  • Volume: The sheer volume of calls that a call center processes — and the elevated-risk nature of many of these calls — dramatically increases the odds that higher-than-average volumes of fraud will occur during these calls.
  • Subscription -based services:Call centers will manage many subscription services, and these centers often help to process cards or otherwise handle customer service issuesSubscription-based services face elevated risks of chargebacks because many people don’t understand when or why they are being billed for subscription services, resulting in refunds.
  • Foreign transactions: Many call centers are either located outside of the United States or deal with customers that are foreign. This increases the likelihood of fraud occurring, and this means that there may be more chargebacks incurred by your call center. 
  • Product-specific: A vendor is more likely to get tagged as if they work with products that are of questionable legality. There are also business-specific concerns with products that may have illegal uses. A business classification is more likely if you work with any of these examples, which may include adult products or products related to drug paraphernalia. 

How Can a Merchant Account Provider Work With a Call Center?

Thankfully, there are many ways that a merchant account provider can work with a call center, and in doing so, help a call center reduce its overhead, incidents of fraud, and chargebacks.

The most important thing that a merchant account provider can do for a call center provides them with a  payment gateway . This means that a merchant account provider will actually set up the software and integration that enables a call center to process credit cards, ensuring that the money will wind up in the appropriate bank account. However, in many cases, this may extend beyond traditional credit cards. Your business may also need ACH payments. ACH payments are payments from one bank to another, and call centers will often utilize these types of payments. Depending on the nature of a call center’s business, a call center may need to incorporate alternative payment methods, including checks, eChecks, or Crypto payments. This is particularly true for Crypto payments, which have grown in popularity and are being used more and more frequently by many types of industries. Your call center business should be looking at expanding the methods of payment that you collect.

A slew of other eCommerce options may also be necessary. For example, many merchant account providers are expanding their reach in order to touch more digital payment methods, including Stripe, PayPal , Venmo, Shopify, and more. If your call center does business with any of these payment methods, you will need to make sure that your merchant account provider is capable of handling these transactions. 

Finally, you will want to make sure that a merchant account provider has ample experience in dealing with foreign banks or currency exchanges. Call centers often deal with international customers, and this means that the money will either have to travel through foreign banks or will arrive in your bank account via a foreign currency. As a result, you may incur additional transfer fees, and you should work with a merchant account provider that has experience in managing these fees and keeping them to a minimum.

What Should I Look for in a Merchant Account Provider?

At the end of the day, your call center business is going to need more than just the basic services. Merchant account providers will often offer extensive services for your business. You will also likely need an array of other services that are exclusive to your particular industry.

First, you want to make sure that you locate a merchant account provider who has ample experience in working with merchants or call centers. Call centers have a variety of needs that are highly specific to their industry, including handling a massive volume of calls, managing fraud reduction, working with out-of-the-country clients, and more. This means that you will need a merchant account provider who has accumulated a set of skills and experience that is unique to this sector of the economy.

You will also want to make sure that your merchant account provider offers you some form of chargeback protection.  This means  that they will not only help you limit the number of chargebacks you incur but potentially cover a certain number of chargebacks before you have to take the financial hit yourself. These services may come with a flat fee or may be part of an overall package tailored towards merchant needs, and it is worth investigating whether or not such a protection service is right for you.

Next, make sure that you are working with a merchant account provider who can integrate their software with yours. If your business is already established, odds are good that you have a long history of working with a platform that manages your accounting, customer relationship manager, tax records, and more. As such, you will want to make sure that your merchant account provider has the expertise to integrate the software that they provide with the software that you already have on hand. This will minimize both your expenses and the amount of training time your staff may have to incur.

The additional software you may need to purchase may also come with additional needs in terms of physical equipment. Point-of-service equipment may be necessary for your business, so make sure to find out what sort of equipment you will have to purchase. You will also have to investigate the fees on that purchase. Additionally, if maintenance or customer service is necessary on the equipment that you purchase, make sure to find out right away what sort of fees you will have to pay. Nothing is worse than a lack of transparency on the part of your merchant account provider, and they should be upfront with you about how much it will cost to use their equipment.

There are many merchant account processors out there, and you have to be extremely careful and judicious in what you look for and what services your merchant account processor can provide you with. You will need a business that has extensive experience in dealing with other merchants, can provide you access to additional products, and is capable of  integrating  with your already existing software in order to ensure a minimum of work and a maximum of functionality. At the same time, you’ll need prices that are fair and affordable.

If this is what you are looking for,  reach out to iCorp Global , and learn more about how we can help your business grow