Payment Processing Pitfalls

Marketers make many mistakes in taking payments; here’s how to avoid them


As a marketer, you must execute your campaign near-perfectly for your product to be successful. But many marketers overlook minor details that can cause a product to fail. Many come in the area of payment processing—and these pitfalls can undermine customer satisfaction, attract unwanted regulatory scrutiny, and ruin confidence in your product or service. Let’s go over a few of these easy-to-avoid problems.

Avoiding Chargebacks

The No. 1 concern on merchants’ minds is avoiding chargebacks. A chargeback is a refund that’s initiated by the credit-card company or card-issuing bank instead of the marketer. Normally, a refund is issued by the merchant selling the product; in the case of a chargeback, the customer is refunded his or her money directly by the credit-card provider. You can dispute a chargeback by providing evidence that you rightfully earned the sale, but reversed chargebacks still count against you and include a reversal fee. So you must avoid a chargeback at all costs.


Once you’re in chargeback trouble, a downward spiral of negative consequences hits. Your merchant account might be shut down completely and without warning. Issuers might hold higher reserves. Your rates can be raised up to 3 percent or more above whatever you currently pay. Most merchants accept the higher rates, because they often have difficulty opening another account once they’re in chargeback trouble.

Not Having Multiple Accounts

If you have only one merchant account, you are “rolling the dice” and hoping for the best. Circumstances beyond your control including fraud and chargebacks could result in an account suspension, and you won’t be able to process any payments.

Don’t make it hard for people without credit cards to purchase your products and services.


If you have multiple accounts and one is halted, you can drive customer traffic to your other active account(s). This is particularly important for advertising marketers who generate high processing volumes in a short period of time. Just a few chargebacks can set off alarm bells with the wrong payment processor.


By leveraging the money in your business bank account when your account is in good standing, you can acquire a second or third merchant account to process credit cards. The added benefit? Increased processing capacity. Merchants want to process every sale without any processing limit obstacles imposed upon them. Who wants to turn away sales from customers ready to pay in full?