Top Ten Attributes of a Direct Response Friendly Merchant Account Provider

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Direct Response (DR) businesses have unique transactional needs, and their success largely depends on having seamless and successful transactions—consistently, and at affordable rates. If you have a Direct Response offer in the market, you need a DR-friendly merchant account provider. These are the top 10 things you should look for:

1. Support and integration for multiple payment methods. To be successful in DR, you need to be able to accept a wide range of payments and electronic transactions. Whether your orders come from credit cards, debit cards, e-checks or paper checks, you should never have to say no to a customer because you don’t accept a particular payment method.

2. Flexible reserve requirements.  Most direct response businesses know that they will have to deal with reserves, particularly if they have a new product or campaign. While reserves are a good way to counter any negative effect of returns or charge backs on your cash flow, they should not leave you cash-less. A DR-friendly merchant account provider will work with you in setting reserve requirements that are suitable to your needs, and that can be reviewed later in the campaign to make sure your reserve amount accurately reflects your business and transaction flow.

3. Robust reporting tools. A DR-friendly merchant account should be able to provide you with robust, state-of-the-art online reporting tools. You should be able to customize the reports generated, the access to such reports, their frequency, etc. Most importantly, the interface and the reports generated should be easy to analyze.

4. Competitive cost structure. When you add all the different kinds of transaction charges that are added to your product cost (annual fees, programming fees, processing fees, shipping and handling), those fees and costs can seriously impact the bottom line of your direct response campaign. Your merchant account processor should be able to offer reasonable and competitive rates, in line with industry standards.

5. Fraud prevention tools. In this era of increased incidence of fraud, your merchant account processor should provide you with tools and support to prevent, detect, and deal with fraudulent transactions in an expeditious and reliable manner.

6. Streamlined chargeback process. Providing an organized and systematic process to allow you to respond to chargebacks and retrieval requests is crucial in selecting a DR-friendly merchant processor. Your ability to recover these funds alone could pay for their service, and your timely response to these requests will create better customer retention and put your direct response business in a good light with your merchant processor.

7. Ability to work with “free trial” offers. Many direct response businesses come up with a “free trial”, “deferred billing”, or “shipping only” product offer at one time or another. It’s important for your merchant processor to be open to work with this type of offers – in accordance with industry best practices – to allow you the flexibility to manage your customer acquisition strategies.

8. Ability to work with continuity offers. Continuity and recurrent billing offers are a fundamental part of most direct response campaigns and business models. As such, it’s critical for your merchant processor to offer you the flexibility to include continuity offers as part of your offer portfolio.

9. Willing to grow with you. Some merchant processors would only work with established vendors of a certain size or a certain media format. However, every direct response offer started small at some point, and then grew based on demand. It’s important for your processor to have the foresight to work with DR businesses of all sizes and categories, and partner with them as they grow.

10. Continuous, dedicated support. Regardless of how long you have been in the direct response industry, you will always be faced with new developments and trends – change is the norm. As such, you need a merchant processor that will have the resources available to help you keep up with these changes and give you the support to implement them. Your ability to provide outstanding customer service and maximize your offer depends on it.

The success of your direct response campaigns depends largely on your ability to give the customer a convenient way to pay using the best method for them. By partnering with a leading merchant account processor, you get best in class services, solid reporting and the support that would allow you to properly manage your cash flow. When you work with a Direct Response friendly merchant account processor, you gain from their experience while optimizing your cash reserves and minimizing your transactional costs.

At J2 Response, we have helped dozens of clients find a direct response friendly merchant processing provider to help them maximize the value of their direct response campaigns. We can do the same for you. Contact us for more information: