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Credit card questions? We have answers

Customer paying with credit cardSmall and mid-sized businesses have a lot to worry about: product quality, inventory, marketing, vendors and human resources. Payment processing? As important as it is to cash flow and to customer confidence, the payment processing process is often a mystery to a business owner. You might accept credit and debit cards or other forms of electronic payment, but you may not know if you’re using the best system or whether the reporting you receive is as easy to read and accurate as it should be.

In this second of two blogs, we’ve invited Curtis Beames, our Vice President and Merchant Services Specialist, to answer six more of the top questions business owners have about credit and debit cards.

1 — Do I need a manual imprinter in case the internet or our phones are down?

The official answer is yes, but it also breaks some of the new Payment Card Industry (PCI) rules. You should get an imprint of the card to make sure you get paid, but many cards no longer have a raised card number, so imprinting does not work.

Here is a much safer method: You can use the offline mode on most machines, which allows you to put in the authorization code you can get by calling your processor.

2 — Who do I call if a card is declined?

You can call your merchant processor and try to get an override. Most the time it is best to ask for another form of payment.

3 — Do I need to take ID from the customer to verify they are the card holder?

No, as long as it is a chip card, and you have a chip enabled machine, all you need to make sure you get paid is to insert or swipe the card, get an authorization, and then a signature. You also need to verify that the signature matches the signature on the back of the card.

4 — What if another business asks me to run cards for them?

Never, never, never do this. Not only is it against MasterCard and Visa policy, it is almost always fraud. You risk losing money if the customer doesn’t recognize the business name, disputes the charge and successfully requests their card company to do a charge back.

5 — Why do they need my personal information to set up processing?

Everything changed after 9-11. Congress passed a new regulation arming law enforcement with new tools to detect and prevent terrorism. As a result, all processors are required to verify the signer of any new or existing account. Getting this information lets us verify against certain databases to make sure we know who we are opening accounts for.

6 — What is PCI? Why do I need to do all that?

PCI is short for Processing Card Industry Security Standards Council. This group sets the standards that the industry continues to refine, and which are designed to protect card holder data from being stolen and used for nefarious purposes. Each merchant is required to meet certain requirements that vary according to the point-of-sale device, type of business, and size of merchant. The annual PCI questionnaire that each merchant is required to fill out addresses which sections and which form your business needs to fill out.

We invite you to consider Curtis and our Merchant Services Division a resource for your business. With more than 20 years in the credit card processing industry, he is available to help you choose the merchant processing system and equipment that best meets your needs. He can help you think about all the ways you might need electronic payments, and whether the system needs to be able to allow online payments. Will you need the flexibility to accept not just credit cards, but Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay and other new payment models that come along?

Most businesses receive their annual questionnaires around the anniversary of when they first began accepting credit cards. Are you stumped by the questions? Curtis would be happy to walk you through the questionnaire.

Our team helps our customers ensure their revenue from cards and/or electronic payments flows into the proper accounts and and takes the time to ensure customers can access and read their reports. Are fees one of your concerns? Curtis can explain those. And rest assured, First Utah Bank is committed to fair and transparent fees for handling your payments. Moreover, our customer service staff is on duty 24/7, 365 days a year and they’re based right here in Utah.

We invite you to consider First Utah Bank for all of your business needs — checking and savings accounts, treasury management and merchant processing. Would you like to talk to Curtis Beames? You can call him at 801-308-2357 or complete the form on the First Utah Bank website.