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Who Makes the Decisions with Your Merchant Services Relationship?

July 19, 2016
Ray Pereira
Ray Pereira

If your company accepts card payments, do you know who owns your merchant services relationship? Is it your bank — which many companies assume is the case — or is it actually a credit card processor?


Who Owns Your Merchant Services Relationship?


Who Owns and Makes the Decisions with Your Merchant  Services Relationship?

It’s important to know. If the ultimate decision maker is the processor, and not your bank, it could be much more complicated to get a problem resolved if something goes wrong.

When the card processor owns your merchant relationship, rather than your bank, you lose the simplicity and efficiency of dealing with a single entity for all of your banking services needs.

Popularity of Outsourcing

It’s not always evident, but the norm among banks is to outsource at least some portion of merchant services to a third-party contractor.

Most banks outsource the back office (core processing) card-acquiring functions. But many banks also outsource the entire relationship, including sales and day-to-day client service. In such cases, the bank may refer to the processor as its merchant services “partner.” But you may find that your processor owns the decision rights on your account, not your bank. And that has ramifications.

Service Implications

If your point-of-sale card terminal or electronic commerce gateway ever stops working, that’s a major problem. Your company could be losing sales every minute, so you need help fast.

But let’s say you call the 1-800 customer service number you have been provided for merchant services, and no one is calling you back. Understandably, you become anxious and call your bank relationship manager, but if your merchant services relationship is with the card processor, rather than the bank, there’s really nothing your banker can do to help.

In these situations, you are better off if your bank owns the merchant services relationship and decision making. The urgency to promptly solve your problem may be greater with your bank relationship manager, who knows you and understands what is at stake in your business.

Value of a One-Stop Shop

In an effort to better support our clients, Hancock and Whitney Bank altered our business model and became one of the few banks that owns and supports sales and service for merchant services. Now, when a client works through us to establish merchant services, they can call their bank relationship manager and we’re responsible for resolving their issue.

Adding merchant services to the banking services we provide and fully support is one more way we make managing business finances easier for our clients. They have one banker who is positioned to support the full range of payment services — not only merchant services, but checking accounts, credit cards, remote deposit capture and more.

At Hancock and Whitney Bank, we can set up clients on all of those services in one experience, instead of saying, “I can help you with a checking account but you have to call Joe at ABC Processor for merchant services.” And the banker who works with the client has a much better understanding of what they need, and what will work best for their business.

So make sure you know who makes decisions regarding your company's merchant services relationship. It matters — and you might be surprised by the answer.

Interested in learning more about merchant services at Hancock and Whitney Bank? Talk with a banker today.