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Landlording Essentials
by Julia Nielsen   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2007

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A merchant account will be your new best friend, the friend who will always stay loyal, the friend that will make your life as a landlord that much better, and it’s just ONE phone call away!

LANDLORDING ESSENTIALS: Introduction to Merchant Accounts

Are you tired of hunting down your rent checks at the beginning of every month? Are late payments, partial payments, and worst of all, no payments causing you unnecessary grief as a landlord? After all, time is money.

Then you owe it to yourself and your business to set up a merchant account.
A merchant account will be your new best friend, the friend who will always stay loyal, the friend that will make your life as a landlord that much better, and it’s just ONE phone call away! Interested? Keep reading to discover the many worthwhile benefits of setting up a merchant account.

Hundreds of smart landlords are discovering how to minimize or even ELIMINATE these common landlording problems. Let us show you how establishing a merchant account can make your job as a landlord much easier, by allowing you to collect rent payments by credit card, debit card, or automatic check withdrawal.
A merchant account gives you the ability to accept credit card payments from any of the major credit card companies: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. It also provides popular payment options, beyond cash and checks. A financial institution will provide an account for the merchant to have the ability to collect proceeds from the consumer’s bank account or credit card transactions.

You can collect these in several ways, depending on your tenants. For example, if you operate an 8-plex or a large apartment complex, you can set up a credit card processor onsite to receive payments from your tenants. Or, if you have a few single-family residences, you can take along a wireless credit card reader to collect payments while physically at the property.

All transactions can be concluded on-site, leaving you time to do more valuable things than collecting back checks or sending out monthly statements. Your merchant account program will be setup so that the amount paid by your tenant will be deposited DIRECTLY into your bank account.

Opening a merchant account will equip you with the latest technology that can SAVE YOU TIME and MONEY! You can reduce the amount of help required from your staff by relying more on this tried and tested technology.
One of the most unrestrained credit card payment options is to set up a website that represents your company’s business. How nice would it be if your tenants had the option of simply logging on to your website to make their rent payments?

There is no need to keep on doing business the old fashioned way when you can easily UPGRADE to an “e-commerce” solution. Costs are manageable, and again, the benefits are invaluable.

Call 1-800-609-1877 today and ask an Aria Financial Services representative about getting your merchant account started!

Have more questions about a merchant account? Read on…

How a Merchant Account works:
The payments are submitted through an online credit card machine called a Virtual Terminal that you have access to 24-hours a day, ANYWHERE in the world, as long as you have an internet connection. Your gateway then links your website to the merchant account. When someone does a transaction or keys in a transaction, this payment is automatically authorized and the payment amount is automatically deposited into your bank account.
Following are simple, easy steps to further explain this GREAT service!

Step 1:
The merchant submits a credit card transaction through a virtual terminal on behalf of a customer via a secure connection from a website, at retail, from a MOTO (Mail Order or Telephone Order) center or a wireless device.

Step 2:
A virtual terminal receives the secure transaction information and passes it via a secure connection to the Merchant Bank’s Processor.

Step 3:
The Merchant Bank’s Processor submits the transaction to the Credit Card Interchange (a network of financial entities that communicate to manage the processing, clearing, and settlement of credit card transactions.)

Step 4:
The Credit Card Interchange routes the transaction to the customer’s Credit Card Issuer.

Step 5:
The Credit Card Issuer approves or declines the transaction based on the customer’s available funds. The issuer then passes the transaction results, and if approved, the appropriate funds, back through the Credit Card Interchange.

Step 6:
The Credit Card Interchange relays the transaction results to the Merchant Bank’s Processor.

Step 7:
The Merchant Bank’s Processor relays the transaction results to the virtual terminal.

Step 8:
The Virtual terminal then stores the transaction’s results and sends them to the customer and/or the merchant. This communication process averages three seconds or less!

Step 9:
The Credit Card Interchange passes the appropriate funds for the transaction to the Merchant’s Bank, which then deposits funds into the merchant’s bank account.

Merchant Account Statistics
The use of credit cards has become so convenient and commonplace that a business which does not accept credit cards is the exception rather than the rule. The following statistics reflect numbers of credit cards issued, and the sales volume based on them in the USA and worldwide:

In the U.S., the number of credit cards issued is rapidly approaching 500 million and 50% of all purchases over $50 are done via a credit card. Although only 34% of Internet users have currently purchased products/services over the Internet, 12% say they would do so in the future and a resounding 80% say that their preferred payment method in buying products/services over the Internet was the credit card.
Such a large group of people with the power of using a credit card simply cannot be ignored!
82% of American Express card members and 79% of Visa & MasterCard card holders AGREE that regardless of the nature of the business, merchants should offer customers as wide an array of payment vehicles as possible. *
Want more astounding facts?
1.332 Trillion Dollars was processed using Visa & MasterCard in the United States for 2003. *
90% of all Internet Sales are made on credit cards. *
755.3 Million Visa & MasterCard credit cards and Debit Cardshare are in circulation
*(Nilson Report Issue 784 )

How are Merchant Accounts Secure?
 Merchant Accounts are uncompromising when it comes to providing merchants with secure, trustworthy payment processing services.
 Merchant Accounts implements the most advanced Internet security protocols including 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) when receiving and transmitting customer payment information. On top of that…
 Merchant Accounts CONSISTENTLY employ an EXTENSIVE number of strong practices, procedures and industry technologies, to maintain tight security for the ENTIRE payment gateway platform.
 Merchant Accounts also maintain compliance with high quality security programs developed by the card associations, such as Visa Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP) and MasterCard Site Data Protection (SDP), and are continually investing time and money to MAXIMIZE the security surrounding the payment gateway.

What is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)?
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is an Internet protocol that safeguards electronic communications between two or more computers. For a communication or transaction that is transmitted over an “end to end” SSL connection, the computer initiating the transmission will open an SSL connection. This means that when Computer 1 sends a request to Computer 2 to transmit information, Computer 1 will include a digital certificate—a complex authentication tool that is basically a third-party issued certification that Computer 1 is a trustworthy source. Computer 2 then accepts the transmission and, in the event that Computer 2 has information to return to computer 1, the SSL connection may remain open until the transaction between the two computers is complete.
Server-side SSL can also be used in the event that Computer 1 doesn’t have the necessary digital certificate or the ability to open an SSL connection to submit a communication to Computer 2. However, Computer 2 may have some other means of authenticating the trustworthiness of Computer 1 or other computers that are submitting communication requests. Any transmissions sent to other computers by computer 2 will be transmitted via an SSL connection to those computers. In this case, the SSL connection is terminated, once Computer 2 has completed its transmission.

When transmissions are sent over an SSL connection, they cannot be intercepted, viewed or modified by other parties on the Internet. As such, customer payment information is transmitted securely.

What does Internet Protocol (IP) mean?

Internet Protocol (IP) is the method of transmitting information and communications between computer systems and networks via the Internet. For the payments industry, the ability to use IP to transmit customer payment information directly to the processing network has revolutionized the way merchants run business—opening doors to a wide range of new payment acceptance opportunities, including from websites and wireless devices, to helping store-front merchants cut costs and speed up checkout lines.

How do Merchant Accounts protect merchants from fraud?
Merchant Accounts recognize that fraud may well be the biggest challenge facing our merchants—which is why helping merchants protect themselves from fraud is one of their highest priorities. There are several ways Merchant Accounts protect merchants from fraud including
 Merchant Accounts have an established and dedicated Fraud Management Department, dedicated to the daily monitoring of merchant accounts and development of merchant protection practices and program.
 Merchant Accounts are continually investing money and resources into providing merchants with the tools and information they need to protect themselves from fraud.
Benefits of using a Merchant Account for Landlords

 Reduce invoice costs
 No trips to the bank
 Increase in customer retention
 Landlords can create a recurring billing schedule or “subscription” for the purchase of goods or services
 Landlords enter transactions and customer billing information
 specify a billing amount and billing interval, and software will process the rest—automatically generating subsequent transactions for the duration of the subscription
 Provide flexible and secure products and services that enable landlords the ability to accept nearly all types of electronic payments from tenants including:
 Major credit cards: MasterCard®, Visa®, American Express®, Diners Club®, Discover®, JCB®
 PIN-secured and signature debit
 Gift cards, purchasing cards (levels II and III)
 Automated Check Handling (ACH)
 Web-based, e-commerce transactions through a secure and complete online payment solution
Getting a merchant account has never been easier. Call 1-800-609-1877 today and ask for an Aria Financial Services representative, who will assist in helping you set up your own account.

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Reviewed by David Taylor

You have some interesting ideas on how to organize the business, but I find myself dealing with the very nature of man. If money is owed from one person to another, there's always strings attached. Depending on the person, however, the strings pull both ways.

I remember my parents trying to do the landlord thing. One of my earliest memories as a kid, I would have been something like six or seven, was my mom going to the rental house. The woman of the house stepped to the door, and with great dignity, informed my mother that they did not have the rent money. I remember my mother trying to argue the point, and the woman standing there with the air of a great suffering martyr. Just then one of her kids rode by on a brand new bicycle. Kid level thinking, it was a bike I could not have dreamed to ask my parents for, totally out of our price range, a rich child's toy. My parents sold the rental property shortly after that.
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