How Do I Get Out Of My Merchant Account Agreement?

Your best solution is going to be to select a merchant account provider that does not require you to sign a contract. However, if you already have a contract with a merchant account provider follow these steps:

  1. 1. Read your contract. It will clearly state what information is needed to cancel your merchant account and whether you can cancel your contract by phone or if you must send a written request by mail or fax.
  2. 2. Read your contract. Some credit card processing companies require a 30 or 60 day notice before the cancellation takes effect. You are required to continue to process credit card transactions during that period. If you don’t, you may be subject to additional fees.
  3. 3. Read your contract. You will need to provide certain information in order to cancel your account, including your name and account number, security and other questions as required.
  4. 4. Read your contract. If you cancel your account, you may be subject to an early termination or buy-out fee.
  5. 5. Read your contract. And if you leased credit card processing terminal(s) from your provider, there may also be a fee to cancel your lease agreement early.

Are you seeing a pattern here? All the information you need to know to cancel your merchant account is set out in the terms and conditions of your merchant account contract. Why didn’t you notice that before? Because just like the honeymoon stage of any relationship, when you signed up for your merchant account, you were far more interested in knowing how much it was going to cost to process credit card transactions than what it was going to take to get out of your relationship with your merchant account provider. But these terms and conditions govern your merchant account, and it’s in your best interest to become familiar with these terms.

So you see, how you get out of your merchant account agreement is actually right there in black and white for you to reference. It’s been there all the time. But there are a few steps you can take prior to cancelling your provider contract that can smooth the way.

Preparing To Cancel a Merchant Account Agreement.

Read your contract! Because if you have agreed up front to an early termination fee (ETF), you may have some options.

  1. 1. Check your statements to see if any of your fees have been raised within the last three month. Some states have a law that says if your fees have been raised at any time during your contract, you can cancel within a certain period after the increase with no ETF.
  2. 2. Some contracts waive ETF’s if you close your business before your contract expires. If this is not stipulated in your contract, make sure your credit card processing company knows the circumstances surrounding your business closing, and ask to be released from your ETF.

If you refuse to pay any early termination fees, your credit card processing provider has the right to take serious legal actions that can damage your credit rating and keep you from getting another merchant account. The same goes for any legitimate fees you owe your provider, such as monthly fees or any remaining processing fees. These are valid fees, clearly stated in your contract and you are legally responsible for them no matter that you want to cancel your account.

Your credit card processor is clearly protected by the terms and conditions of the contract you signed. What can you do to protect yourself when closing your merchant account?

  1. 1. Be sure you know when your contract is due for renewal. This information is clearly stated in your contract. If you follow the terms of your contract and give the proper cancellation notice to coincide with the end date of your contract, you can avoid any early termination fees.
  2. 2. Gather any information that supports your reason for why you should not pay any early termination fees.
  3. 3. Keep records of each call you make to your credit card processor during your cancellation or cancellation dispute period. You may get conflicting information from different customer service representatives. Be sure you have all this detailed.
  4. 4. Review your bank statement and final merchant account statement to be sure no waived fees have been deducted in error.

The terms and conditions of your merchant account agreement are actually there to protect both you and your credit card processing provider. In the final analysis, it’s your responsibility to know what’s in your merchant account agreement in order to understand how these terms and conditions can actually benefit you.