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Privacy policy

Please contact us at 407.401.0772 to discuss your needs with a payments specialist and we will send you the documentation needed to get setup.

Got your own question?

If the merchant application is received and submitted before 3:00 pm EST, you could be processing the following day. There are a lot of variables to consider but a typical merchant account setup from start to finish is 1–3 business days.

Didn't get your question answered?

FirstClass Merchant Services will submit funding to your bank that day if batches are settled by 7:00 pm EST. If you miss the deadline, you will receive your funds the following business day. Please note that funding does not occur over the weekend or on holidays.

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We support a variety of merchant accounts including, but not limited to: Retail, Restaurant, Lodging, Petroleum, MOTO, ecommerce and Mobile.

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Yes! Your credit is only one of the many factors looked at when opening a merchant account. We have a very high approval rate and some customers have been surprised that they qualified. We do not charge an application or setup fee so there is really no harm to try.

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FirstClass Merchant Services prides themselves with the personalized support that they offer their customers. We always recommend that you contact your dedicated payments specialist first with any questions or issues you may have. We also offer 24/7 support to all customers.

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The Payment Cardholder Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) was created by Visa, MasterCard, American Express and the Discover Network to protect cardholder information and reduce data theft. PCI DSS establishes and enforces security requirements for members, businesses and service providers. When you become PCI compliant, you protect your customers from losing valuable card data and safeguard yourself from possible legal issues and certain fines from the credit card companies. If your business fails to comply with PCI DSS, you risk substantial fines—and even risk losing your ability to process credit card payments.

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Credit card processing always involves at least the following two steps: Authorization & Settlement. An authorization is when a credit card transaction for a sale is processed and connects with a credit card processing network and submits a transaction request. The processing network takes the request and matches it with a database maintained by the bank that issued the credit card. If there is enough credit available, the transaction is approved and the necessary funds are held in a reserve. This reduces the card’s “open to buy” (available credit) by the transaction amount. No money changes hands at this point. Approved transactions are written to a settlement or open batch file and these transactions remain in the file until settlement is performed. The next step is the settlement (or “close batch”) procedure. You must settle before the funds from approved transactions are deposited in your bank account. During settlement, the transactions must be sent to the processor so funds can be transferred to your account.

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Interchange is a set of rules that enables issuers and acquirers to exchange information, transactions and money on a standardized and consistent basis when going through the bankcard system.

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Interchange Fees are set by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and so on to accept the various types of cards offered by their brand. These fees vary by industry and card type, and are the majority of your processing cost. All of the Interchange fees go back to your customer’s card issuing bank and is considered compensation to reimburse the issuer for the expenses of processing the transaction as well as the risks associated with providing loans. All banks and credit card companies have the same Interchange cost and are bound by the exact same schedule. Therefore, interchange could be considered the wholesale cost of processing a transaction.

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Processing Fees are any charges above Interchange cost and are paid to the payment processor for performing authorizations, settlement, risk underwriting, network infrastructure, customer service, equipment deployment, and other back end functions.

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When a processor groups Interchange and processing fees into a single rate, it is called a merchant discount rate. Merchant discount rates are generally quoted as part of a three tier billing system which includes qualified, mid-qualified and non-qualified transactions where the interchange fees are hidden by the Merchant Account Provider. These categories can also be viewed as “Buckets” where processors will group many Interchange fee categories together. The processor then sets a surcharge for that bucket that will cover the highest downgrade plus add profit. This price structure can be costly to your business as often times the surcharges are three to four times higher than the actual Interchange fee category.

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FirstClass Merchant Services can provide you with any of the three options. However, the cost of terminals have significantly gone down over the past couple of years as more competition has entered the marketplace. Most standard machines and be purchased brand new for $300 or less. Leases will lock you into an agreement of four years or longer and carry outrageous markups in excess of 1,500% or more. Therefore, we do not recommend that you rent or lease the equipment unless you need a more expensive device such as a wireless terminal or POS System and need to pay for it over time. We can also use your current equipment if it is supported and PCI Compliant.

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Yes. Your FirstClass Dedicated Payments Specialist will train you on the equipment in person or walk you through the process over the phone, depending on your situation. We also provide a quick reference guide and have online interactive tools available for your convenience.

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FirstClass Merchant Services supports Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Diners, JCB, ATM, debit, check, and stored value / gift card transactions.

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No. FirstClass Merchant Services provides an AMEX Full Service solution (a.k.a. AMEX One Point) which is a new processing product in the industry. It is available to merchants through First Data, allowing merchants to more easily accept and process American Express cards, and may lower the overall merchant cost to accept this card type. In addition, AMEX Full Service simplifies the merchant card acceptance experience by consolidating reporting of card types into one report.

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A chargeback is a transaction/debit that an issuer returns to an acquirer because of a dispute between the cardholder and/or their issuing bank and a merchant, usually because of fraud, dissatisfaction on the part of the cardholder with service or merchandise or non-authorization by cardholder. If you receive a chargeback notification or chargeback retrieval request you must reply to this as quickly as possible. The best way to protect your business from chargebacks is to stop them before they happen by creating a chargeback prevention plan and be sure to follow if for every transaction. FirstClass Merchant Services is here to help assist you with any disputes or chargebacks that may occur.

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It is recommended to retain all processing documentation for at least 18 months. This will help resolve any customer disputes or chargebacks that may occur.

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FirstClass Merchant Services is a family owned company that specializes in working with Small to Medium size businesses. Being a small business our self and having another one in the family for over 100 years, we understand what our customers go through on a daily basis and make it a point to be there when they need us. We also understand that knowledge is power so we try to educate our customers as much as possible about the industry to help them minimize their processing expense. We want to keep our customers long term so we have put together a pricing model and support structure to reflect our goal and commitment to you. In addition, FirstClass Merchant Services utilizes a referral based business model and does not directly solicit businesses. We believe that honesty and transparency is good business and feel that gimmicks and hard sales tactic is not. We look at and treat our customers as family.

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At FirstClass Merchant Services, we set our customers up on a true Interchange Pass-Through price structure. This is the most cost effective structure to date for merchants, as all fee categories are simply passed through at cost. All other rate structures will lead to added cost to your business. As an educated merchant, you should settle for nothing else. Many processors will hold back Interchange Pass-Through for only their biggest and more informed merchants because the profit margins are very minimal on this structure. We believe that all merchants should get the same advantages and service levels and urge every merchant to insist on true Interchange Pass-Through, whether they choose us or another processor.

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Joshua Cole currently holds the position of President, First Class Merchant Services, and is Vice President and Secretary of JCMS, Inc.

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If you’re already locked into an account with a contract there are a couple of ways that you may be able to cancel without having to pay a cancellation fee. First, we need to look for the small print in the merchant service agreement that waives the cancellation fee if rates and fees have changed during the contract period. If this is the case, you will be able close the account without being penalized. The second option is for us to review the savings to see what the payback period is. If you’re processing enough volume to justify the expense, we will work with you and may be willing to pay some or all of the expense incurred from changing providers. At FirstClass, we understand that we have to earn your business.

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There are a number of different pricing models that act upon the underlying interchange fees differently. The three main types of pricing are tiered, interchange plus and enhanced recovery reduced (ERR). Of these three, FirstClass Merchant Services utilizes the interchange plus model because it is the least expensive and most transparent to our customers. Tiered pricing generalizes interchange categories resulting in potentially large surcharges and ERR pricing has a hidden charge that is the difference between target interchange and the qualified rate.

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In this structure, interchange fees are categorized into buckets or tiers and is one of the most expensive way to process credit cards. Aside from being expensive, increases in interchange fees are amplified on a tiered structure. When a single interchange category is increased by Visa and MasterCard, many merchant service providers compensate by raising the rate of an entire tier. The end result is that the merchant pays higher costs on interchange categories that haven’t actually been increased by Visa and MasterCard. The across-the-board rate hike also produces larger profits for the merchant service provider.

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The truth of the matter is that there’s a little fancy footwork going on behind the scenes. Whenever you see a provider advertising a single rate it tells you right away that they’re using a tiered pricing structure. This type of pricing facilitates an artificially low qualified rate (which is what you see advertised) and additional mid and non-qualified tiers that have higher rates. This tiered structure is what makes it possible for providers to advertise one rate and then deliver another. To keep from losing money (and to make a profit) the provider gets to dictate into which tier the interchange categories will be placed. Providers use something called a qualification matrix to dictate into which tier an interchange category is placed. While there are some standard practices, the qualification of interchange categories from one provider to the next is inconsistent. These “inconsistent buckets” make it possible for merchant service providers to offer a very low qualified rate while still turning a profit because they’re able to route interchange categories into the mid and non-qualified pricing tiers.

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Your local bank is not always the best merchant account provider for your business. It is natural to assume that because your local bank is a financial institution and they also offer merchant account services. In many cases, small local banks are contracted by a third-party processor or an independent sales organization (ISO) to resell merchant services to their banking clients. FirstClass Merchant Services is one of those providers that handles processing for local community banks. Therefore, we know it can be a good thing if your bank has contracted with a good merchant services provider. However, because many banks are purchasing merchant services from a reseller, they generally sell at higher rates and fees in order to make a profit. In addition, in most cases the local bank is not the entity responsible for handling customer service issues and is the responsibility of the originating provider that is reselling the merchant processing services to the bank. With that said, not all local banks are resellers, and not all local banks will have higher rates and fees. Many banks do offer very competitive merchant accounts and services to their banking clients. It is always good to consider obtaining merchant services through your local bank, but you should not give the bank extra consideration over other providers based solely on the fact that they are local.

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Online Privacy Policy 

We respect and value your privacy. Our Online Privacy Policy (“Privacy Policy”) describes and applies to the information we collect from you when you visit this website (“Website”). The terms “we,” “our,” and “us” in this Privacy Policy refer to JCMS, Inc. and/or its affiliates, divisions, or subsidiaries. Our Privacy Policy generally describes how we collect, share, use, and protect your information.

1. Information That We Collect 

When you visit our Website, we receive and collect certain information about you. The information that we receive and collect depends in part on what you do when you visit our Website. You may be able to improve your experience on our Website when you tell us who you are – for example, by signing up for e-mail or newsletters, applying for products, making inquiries, or requesting further information about a product or service.

Some of the information you may submit is personally identifiable information, but much of it is not. Personally identifiable information is information that identifies a particular person. Examples include your name, phone number, address, and social security number. It is possible to browse our Website without actively submitting any personally identifiable information.

We may use this information for a number of purposes, for example, to better service your requests and/or inquiries, monitor Website usage and/or performance, improve the customer experience of our Website, ensure technological compatibility with your computer, protect against fraud or identity theft, or conduct aggregate analyses on usage patterns. 

Automatically Collected Information 

Every time you visit a website, some information is automatically collected from you. For example, this information may include some or all of the following items: your computer’s Internet protocol (IP) address and/or domain; type and version of Internet browser software and operating system you use; date, time, and duration of your Website access; specific pages, buttons, images, videos, links, or forms that you access while visiting the Website; and demographic information concerning the country of origin of your computer and the language(s) used by it. 

Information Collected via Cookies and Other Similar Technology 

“Cookies” are small text files that are placed on your computer to distinguish you from other visitors to our Website. The use of cookies is a standard practice among websites to collect or track information about your activities while using the website. We or our third party advertising service providers may place cookies or similar files on your hard drive for many of the reasons listed above while visiting our Website. Most people do not know that cookies are being placed on their computers when they visit websites because browsers are typically set to accept cookies. You can choose to have your browser warn you every time a cookie is being sent to you or you can choose not to accept cookies. You can also delete cookies from your computer at any time. If you refuse cookies, the functionality of our Website may be impacted or become non-functional. 

In addition to using cookies, we or our third party advertising service providers may also use similar technologies to track users’ interactions with our Website. Some of these technologies include web beacons (transparent graphical images placed on a website) and flash objects.

We may use these technologies on our Website to verify your identity, remember personal settings including your preferences, to offer you additional options or enhance your online experience, and to improve our products and services. We may also use them for marketing site personalization, and tracking of online applications and programs and/or track the effectiveness of advertisements for our products and services, referred to as banner ads, that we may place on our Website or other linked and/or partner websites. Cookies used for tracking advertising effectiveness do not collect personally identifiable information. In order to better serve you, some of these technologies allow us the ability to view your past interactions with our Websites and/or online banking environment for customer service, troubleshooting, risk analysis and fraud detection, as well as other related purposes.

2. Information You Choose to Submit 

For most of the browsing on our Website, we neither require nor collect personally identifiable information. You can browse our Website and take as much time as you want to review our services without having to submit such information.

3. E-Mail Communications 

Forms of communication such as, e-mail, text messaging, our Website Contact Us or similar forms, or other forms of electronic communication are inherently insecure. Please refrain from submitting sensitive personal information (such as account number or social security number) via e-mail or similar method of communication.

When you send an e-mail to us, you are communicating with us electronically and consent to receive reply communications from us or our providers electronically. We may retain the content of the e-mail, your e-mail address, and our response in order to better service your needs or for legal and regulatory reasons. 

4. Personal Information on Children 

We respect the privacy of your children and encourage all parents to supervise their children’s computer usage. We do not knowingly collect or retain personal information from children under the age of thirteen. We advise all visitors to our Website under the age of 13 not to disclose or provide any personally identifiable information on our Website. To learn more about the Children’s Online Privacy Protect Act (COPPA) please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.ftc.gov/kidzprivacy

5. Third Party Websites 

Our Website may contain links to third party websites. These links and pointers to third party websites are not part of our Website. Neither JCMS, Inc. nor its affiliates, divisions, subsidiaries or parent company make any representations or warranties regarding these third party websites. We are not responsible for any losses or damages in connection with the information, security, privacy practices, availability, content or accuracy of materials of such third party websites. These third party websites might have privacy policies different from us and third party websites may provide less privacy and/or security than our Website. We encourage you to review the privacy and security policies of all third party websites before you share any personally identifiable information. 

6. Additional Uses or Sharing of Your Information 

In addition to those methods discussed in this Privacy Policy, we may use and share your information, including personally identifiable information, without limitation, in the following manner:

  • In response to judicial or other governmental subpoenas, warrants and court orders served on us in accordance with their terms, or as otherwise required by applicable law; 
  • To comply with legal, regulatory or administrative requirements of governmental authorities;
  • To protect our rights or property, protect our legitimate business interests, to enforce the provisions of our terms or policies, in cases of customer fraud/disputes, and/or to prevent harm to you or others;
  • To protect or defend us, our subsidiaries, affiliates, or parent company and any of their officers, directors, employees, agents, contractors and partners, in connection with any legal action, claim or dispute;
  • As disclosed in other applicable policies, terms of use, or other agreements; or 
  • As permitted or required by law or as authorized by you.

7. Online Security 

We maintain security standards that are designed to protect your information as it is transmitted from your computer to our network. This technology is called Secure Socket Layer (SSL). SSL is the leading security protocol for data transfer on the Internet and helps to protect the safety and confidentiality of your online banking information. 

8. How to Protect Your Personally Identifiable Information 

You have a role in helping us by safeguarding your information from others. You have several options when deciding how you can best protect your personally identifiable information. One option is simply not to volunteer it. The Federal Trade Commission’s websites (www.ftc.gov, www.ftc.gov/idtheft, and www.onguardonline.gov) offer useful information about how to protect your personally identifiable information.

9. Suspicious E-Mail 

We will never e-mail you to request personal account information over the Internet or by any other means. Help protect yourself against online fraud – if you suspect that an unsolicited e-mail is fraudulent, please contact us. 

10. Notice to Persons Accessing this Website Outside the United States 

If you reside outside the U.S., any information you provide to us on our Website will be transferred out of your country and into the U.S. If you do not want your personally identifiable information to leave your country, do not provide the information to us. By providing personally identifiable information to us, you explicitly consent to the transfer of your information to the U.S.

11. Changes to our Online Privacy Policy 

Please note that we will periodically make changes to our Privacy Policy. It is your responsibility to review this Privacy Policy frequently and remain informed about any changes to it, so we encourage you to visit this page often. Your continued use of our Website constitutes your acceptance of any amendments to and the most recent versions of this Privacy Policy. 

12. Questions or Comments 

If you have any questions or comments concerning our Privacy Policy please let us know.

PRINTING INSTRUCTIONS 

For a copy of this document, use the print command on your web browser. 

This Privacy Policy was last updated on: July 15, 2012 


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