Although quality Canadian merchant accounts are scarce, you can find one that fits your business needs.
It is enough to say that running a business, regardless of your location, can be a complex undertaking. Adding to the complexities are the challenges of finding a top-quality merchant account provider.
Our neighbors to the north of us, the Canadians, have an especially steep uphill battle as they face an absolute deficiency of first-rate merchant account providers based in their home turf.
At first sight, this does not make much sense, especially since regulations within the Canadian payment industry are considerably more “consumer-friendly” than the U.S. This is precisely why merchant account providers that service both the U.S. and Canada deliver superior customer service for our northern neighbors.
Let’s get to know more about the payments industry in the Great White North.
The Financial Consumer Agency Of Canada
Founded in 2001, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada or (FCAC), is an “independent agency” of the Canadian government that imposes consumer protection laws, statutes, and commitments to the industry by financial agencies that are also federally regulated. The aim of this agency is to educate and protect both consumers and merchants.
One of their many laws of protection for merchants includes:
Merchant Rights under the “Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry”:
- Merchants have the right to receive all pertinent information related to their merchant account in a clear, non-misleading way. That information includes the “effective merchant discount rate”, the interchange rates as well as other rates as charged by payment service providers.
- Merchants must receive notification of at least 90 days prior to any upcoming increases of fees attributed to credit and debit card transactions.
- Before entering into a “multiple service provider” agreement, the payment service provider is required to furnish a summary of each contract with all critical information related to the terms and conditions for each provider.
- If there is an introduction to a new fee, merchants have the right to cancel their contract without the risk of penalty. They have 90 days from the time they receive their notice of the new fee to cancel their contract.
Selecting The Best Canadian Merchant Account Provider
The resources available within the FCAC is quite extensive as they endeavor to give merchants the best possible start with choosing the right merchant account provider for their business.
Here are some of their best tips:
- Determine the services you require: Ask yourself which payment card network you will be accepting payments from. Figure out how many payment terminals you need. Look at the pros and cons about leasing, buying, or renting terminals before you make a final choice.
- Research potential service providers: There’s nothing better than getting personal recommendations and referrals from your colleagues to lead you to a reputable provider. If you are a member of a professional organization, perhaps they might have “preferred rates” that they offer exclusively to their members. Also, they could also be a good source of referrals for high quality merchant account providers.
- Ask lots of questions: There is no such thing as a dumb question, especially when it will affect your bottom line. Get informed as much as possible about your contract terms and obligations, all applicable fees, when you will receive your funds, contract auto renewals, how to cancel your contract, and so much more. Check out the FCAC website for the complete list of information.
There Is Hope For Canadian Merchants
Although finding a good, reputable, and quality Canadian merchant account provider can be even more of a challenge than in the U.S., Canadian merchants still have lots of things to be grateful for. For one thing, the laws and regulations enforced by the Canadian government prove that merchants are not completely on their own.