As we saw in New Merchants Part I: Check Your Statements a merchant has responsibilities when establishing their new merchant account. Another one, an important one at that, is to verify that you are receiving your deposits.
Typically, whenever you receive payment via credit card you will receive payment with three business days (Visa and MasterCard take only two business days. American Express and Discover Card take up to three business days). If you do not see your funds for those transactions, called batches, deposited within your checking account within that time frame you will need to do some research as to why this has occurred.
Your first step is to call the customer support department of your processing bank. Be sure to have information pertaining to your batches handy as it will assist them in assisting you. Be ready to explain to them that you have deposits that appear to be missing and you would like them to investigate it for you. Using the information about your batches that you provide they will be able to see what the status of those deposits are. Typically a delay in deposits is a result in batches not being settled properly. Naturally the sooner you catch this the sooner you get your funds and the sooner you learn how to use your merchant account properly.
The other possible cause for deposits being late is incorrect checking account information. Often times the voided check used to connect your merchant account to your checking account is faxed. Sometimes it might be faxed more then once on its way to the proper employee who will process it. Numbers can get smudged or otherwise difficult to read and an incorrect routing number or account number is entered into your account. Sometimes it’s just a result of human error. In cases like this catching it early is important as rejected ACH deposits can take weeks to be corrected. Businesses with tight margins or little working capital often cannot wait weeks for those deposits as they need those funds to purchase new inventory or pay vendors.
So what’s the best way to ensure this does affect your business? Immediately upon learning your merchant account has been established process a transaction for $1 using your personal credit card. Immediately batch that transaction. If you do not see that transaction deposited in your bank account in the correct amount of time, follow the instructions above. It’s better to go looking for that $1 transaction then an entire weekends’ worth of sales. If you do see that $1 transaction deposited into your account, you can safely assume all future deposits will be successful as well although you should still monitor your deposits anyway as a good business practice. You should also do this for American Express and Discover Card as well as they may have problems even if Visa and MasterCard don’t. If you do experience problems with Visa and MasterCard definitely test these two cards as well as the chance of them experiencing the same problem is very high.