Improper Merchant Underwriting Directly Affects Your Business

Merchant Underwriting

To acquire a customary Merchant Account, your business must experience go through a wide analysis process called merchant underwriting. Sorry to say but some Merchant Account Provider doesn’t satisfactorily underwrite businesses, which can rapid issues down the line.
Merchant Account underwriting is completed by an individual or team of high risk analysts and in general takes two days to a week to complete, depending on the provider. For businesses needing a quick fix, there are options that don’t require any underwriting — but those have their own drawbacks. More on that later.
First, let’s go over what underwriters usually review.

Representative Merchant Underwriting Process

The vital goal is to evaluate the business’s level of high risk for the provider. Why? Because of a merchant account is fundamentally a line of credit. If a business is strike with a chargebacks, but doesn’t have enough funds in the bank to pay it, the provider fronts that expenditure right away.

Just before truthfully establish the High Risk Business level, providers review the following:

  • Industry Type— every business kind has its own level of risk. For example, a business that swipes cards is less inclined to deception/fraud and chargebacks, and is therefore less dangerous, than a business that sells products on the web. The riskier the business, the more support documents and information required for review.
  • Business History and Policies— This incorporates years in industry, billing, shipping and return policies (if applicable). Organizations that ship products are more risky because the product might not be delivered, which can result in a chargeback.
  • Merchant History and Card Acceptance Method(s)— Providers will need to know things like your business’s chargeback ratio (over 1 percent is a red flag), whether your business is or has been on the Merchant Terminated File and, if so, why. Most providers evaluate current merchant statements to get an idea of processing volume and methods of acceptance. Businesses accepting tips or phone and online orders are taken into consideration for added features and security measures, if approved.
  • Processing Limits Requested— Providers will take these into consideration in conjunction with the above information. Providers should set your limits at a happy medium — they should accommodate your regular processing without giving too much room in the event of a large fraudulent charge. If your business doesn’t need very high limits, your account shouldn’t be set up that way.
  • Financial Stability— This can include a look at the business’s bank statements, its financials and, usually, the owner’s credit. This is vital for high-risk businesses, as this information can make or break the merchant underwriting approval.

Some providers inadequately review businesses, resulting in issues after they’ve started processing.

Poor Merchant Underwriting After effects

Without an in-depth analysis, your High Risk Business may suffer from one or all of the following:

  • Incorrect Limits— whether you’re left with insufficient or excessive limits, it’s a problem. Limits that are too low will hinder your business from processing your regular transaction amounts, which may prevent customers from paying on time and constrict your cash flow. If limits are set too high, you may get hit with major fraudulent charges you can’t cover.
  • Hidden Volume Fees– Some providers will give you a limit, but let you exceed it without warning. The penalty? You’re charged an additional fee on either the volume that went over your limit or on the entire processing volume for that month.
  • Downgrades– If your account is set up without certain features and security measures, you’re susceptible to transaction downgrades, which mean you’re unnecessarily paying higher transaction costs. Providers often fail to set up accounts with these features because it means more money in their pockets on the downgraded transactions.

Some businesses opt for an account with Payment Facilitators, such as PayPal, Stripe or Square, which bypass merchant underwriting altogether. While they may seem like a better option, these alternatives have their own pitfalls.

Speak with a specialist about underwriting at 888-622-6875.