As the world becomes more digital, credit cards are becoming the leading form of payment for many retailers, tobacconists included. There are three types of tobacco merchants that typically accept credit cards today: brick-and-mortar, online and wholesale business-to-business retailers. A retailer that is able to accept payments in person faces fewer issues than those that are forced to accept payment over the phone or online, two scenarios that have become a regular occurrence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When a retailer is forced to charge a credit card online or over the phone, many processors will not board this type of merchant because it is considered to be too high risk. This is where US Merchant Services has built its business over the years—offering a solution to those retailers that are not accepting payment from their customers face to face and processing those credit cards with fewer stipulations than other processors have in place.
“US Merchant Services was founded in 1996 after I worked for another credit card processor when I first moved to Florida from San Francisco in 1995,” says Steve Norell, founder and president of US Merchant Services. “It was clear to me that the company that I was working for was not as ethical as I was led to believe, so I decided to start my own company. In 1995, not as many businesses took credit cards as today, so it was the wild wild West and almost anything went. In 1997, we processed cards for our first cigar bar, which got us interested in the tobacco industry, and the rest is history.”
There are certain benefits provided tor tobacco retailers who use US Merchant Services, including:
- The ability to process for “card not present” tobacco merchants.
- Offering a point-of-sale (POS) system for retailers that will provide business solutions needed by tobacco merchants. US Merchant Services will install the POS system in person for all of its customers.
- US Merchant Services offers multiple pricing models, including one rate for all transactions—the cost plus 5 cents a transaction—as well as the ability for retailers to charge the customer to pay the credit card fees as a surcharge.
Because Norell and his company have been processing cards for the tobacco industry since 1997, his company is uniquely positioned to offer retailers solutions to many issues and problems they face. Norell also has firsthand experience with tobacco retail. He opened his own cigar store over five years ago and has personally experienced and worked through many of the problems that US Merchant Services deals with. US Merchant Services is more than just a credit card processor. It is a resource and tool that can ultimately help save money and time and boost a retailer’s business and profit margins.
US Merchant Services offers its customers a high level of customer service, something it’s able to accomplish by having its customer service handled completely in-house. When a retailer calls US Merchant Services, he or she will be connected with a customer service representative that is familiar with their account and can provide the service necessary to completely resolve any issues. US Merchant Services offers around-the-clock customer service, from in-house support during normal business hours to support staff that fill in during the remaining hours.