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Being able to accept credit cards as a form of payment can really help grow your business. It’s an obvious necessity for online sellers, plus is proven to increase in-store sales by 40%. This guide shows you how to accept credit cards for all types of selling needs, plus explains rates, disputes, fraud protection, and more.

Before we dive in, the credit card processing solution that tops our list for small businesses is Square. It’s quick to set up, has tons of features with no monthly fees, and works anywhere you do, in retail stores, on websites, via mobile, and more. Click here to get started today.


Credit Card Processing Terms To Know

If you’re new to accepting credit cards, here are some key industry terms that we refer to throughout this guide:

A Merchant Account is an account that lets you accept and process credit card payments and get paid by the credit card companies. You can get a merchant account from your bank, from an all-in-one payment service like Square, or through independent payment processors like Payline.

These are fees that your Merchant Account Provider charges for their services. Generally, these fees are a percentage of each transaction plus a per-transaction fee for certain types of charges.

POS systems handle payments for in-store sales and generally include a payment screen, credit card reader, receipt printer, and cash drawer. Many POS systems, like Square POS, include features like inventory and sales reporting to help you manage your business.

A payment gateway connects your online store’s checkout page to your payment processing solution. Some processors like Square, PayPal, and Payline include a payment gateway with their service. Other require you to have a separate payment gateway account. Most payment gateways also include a virtual terminal to accept payments for phone sales, invoice payments, and recurring charges.

This is the secure page in your online store’s checkout process that connects to your payment gateway to securely accept customer payment information.

Now that you know these key terms, let’s explore how to accept credit cards for various business needs, the processing costs, and the equipment you’ll need.

How to Accept Credit Cards In-Store, Online, Mobile, & More

It’s important to first understand that accepting credit cards in person differs from accepting credit cards online. Here are the three things you need to know:

  1. In-person (in-store and mobile) credit card payments require card reading equipment that allows you to physically swipe a card.
  2. Online (ecommerce and virtual terminal) credit card payments use a payment gateway that lets customers or sales staff enter credit card information into a secure online form.
  3. The credit card processing fees for in-person sales are lower than online sales since in-person sales carry a far lower risk of fraud.

Merchant account providers differ, too. Some, like Square and PayPal, are all-in-one solutions that support all types of payments from one central account. That means wherever you accept payments: in-store, using a mobile card reader, via an online store, or through a virtual terminal, all sales are managed within a single account and subject to simple, flat-rate fees.

Other merchant account providers require you to have one account for in-store and mobile card reader sales, and another for online store and virtual terminal sales. Having to manage two accounts to cover all of your selling outlets can be time-consuming, plus usually comes with more fees. This is something to consider when deciding on a payment solution.

Since Square does it all with very clear, simple fees, we’ll use them to quickly illustrate how processing fees and equipment differ for various types of payments:

Square’s Credit Card Processing Fees & Equipment

(Free Square Store)

(Free with Square account)

Click the button below to check out Square’s website:

Now let’s take a closer look at how to accept credit cards in each sales scenario.

How to Accept Credit Cards for In-Store Sales

  • Credit Card Reader or a POS System
  • Merchant Account with a retail merchant services account or all-in-one provider like Square

Pay pier 1 credit card online

To accept credit cards in an in-store retail setting, a credit card reader lets customers physically swipe, insert (for chip cards), or tap (for eWallets like Apple Pay) credit cards to complete their payment. Your card reader is connected to the internet directly or through your POS system, like the one pictured above.

After swiping, inserting, or tapping the card, the payment information is transmitted for approval via your merchant account. Within a moment, you receive confirmation that the transaction was approved or declined. If approved, you complete the sale and your merchant account provider deposits the funds into your account, generally within 1-2 days.

In-store sales generally have the lowest processing fees since you are face-to-face with your buyer, able to confirm their identity, and physically process the card. Here, the risk of fraud is relatively low. For example, Square charges its lowest fee, 2.75%, for in-store sales. We cover how processing fees and rates work in detail below.

How to Accept Credit Cards for Online Sales

  • Ecommerce Platform with a secure checkout
  • Secure Payment Gateway (if not using an all-in-one provider)
  • Merchant Account that supports online payments or an all-in-one provider like Square

Pay pier 1 credit card online

To accept credit cards in an online store you need an ecommerce platform that, ideally, supports a secure checkout, as shown above. If you choose Square for your credit card processing, you get a free Square online store with your account. Or, Square and other payment solutions work with most top-rated, low-cost ecommerce platforms including BigCommerce, Shopify, and Ecwid.

Depending on your merchant account solution, you might need a payment gateway to accept and process payments in your online store. However, all-in-one solutions like Square, PayPal, and Stripe include a built-in gateway with their service, so they’re often the simplest choice.

When an online customer enters their credit card information into your online store’s checkout page, the gateway encrypts (secures) the information and sends it over the internet for approval via your merchant account. The purchase is instantly approved or declined. If approved, your online store automatically completes the sale and your merchant account provider deposits the funds into your account, generally within 1-2 days.

Online sales have higher processing fees than in-person sales since you aren’t face-to-face with your buyer. Since you’re not able to confirm their identity in person or physically process the card, the risk of fraud is higher. For example, Square’s processing fee for online sales is 2.9% + 30¢ per transaction, which is higher than their in-store and mobile payment fees. We’ll look at processing fees and rates in detail below.

How to Accept Credit Cards for Mobile Sales

  • Mobile Credit Card Reader
  • Smartphone or Tablet
  • Merchant Account that handles mobile payments, like Square

Pay pier 1 credit card online

To accept credit cards in a mobile sales setting, you need a mobile credit card reader that connects to your smartphone or tablet, like the Square reader shown above. Readers can accept every type of credit or debit card and simply swipe, insert (for chip cards), or tap (for eWallets like Apple Pay), to complete the payment.

The payment information is sent through your cellular or wifi connection via your merchant account for approval. You instantly receive confirmation that the transaction was approved or declined. If approved, you complete the sale and your merchant account provider deposits the funds into your account, generally within 1-2 days.

Like in-store sales, mobile sales generally have the lowest processing fees since you are face-to-face with your buyer, able to confirm their identity, and physically process the card. Here, the risk of fraud is relatively low. For example, Square charges the same low 2.75% fee for mobile sales as it does for in-store sales. We explore how processing fees and rates work in detail below.

How to Accept Credit Cards Over the Phone & for Invoices and Recurring Payments

  • An Online Virtual Terminal
  • Merchant Account with a secure payment gateway or an all-in-one provider like Square

To accept credit cards for phone sales or invoice payments, or to set up automatic recurring charges for memberships or services, you need a virtual terminal. Most payment gateways include a virtual terminal in their service. It allows you to log into a secure screen, enter or key-in your customer’s payment information, and process the the charge over the internet. The charge is instantly approved or declined. If approved, your merchant account provider deposits the funds into your account, generally within 1-2 days.

Here’s a look at Square’s virtual terminal in action:

Pay pier 1 credit card online

Most virtual terminals provide important features like online invoicing and recurring payments. Online invoicing helps you get paid quickly by allowing customers to conveniently pay invoices online using their credit card. Recurring payments are a handy way to set up automatic credit card billing for all sorts of business needs, from sales and service payments to subscriptions and lessons.

Like online sales, virtual terminal payments have higher processing fees than in-person sales since you aren’t face-to-face with the buyer. Since you’re not able to confirm their identity in person or physically process the card, the risk of fraud is higher. For example, Square’s processing fees for virtual terminal payments is 3.5% + 15 ¢ per transaction, which is higher than their in-store and mobile fees.

That sums up the many different ways you can accept credit cards for all types of sales and other business needs. Next we’ll examine how credit card processing fees work in detail, plus how to handle refunds, charge disputes, and fraudulent activity.

Understanding Credit Card Processors, Rates, & Fees

Above, we touched on the different types of merchant account providers you can use and mentioned that their fees can differ greatly. Now we’ll take a closer look at these differences.

There are basically two types of credit card processing services you can use to accept credit cards. To make it easy, we’ll refer to them as:

It’s important to understand how each works so you can make the best choice for your specific business. Here’s a quick comparison:

How to Accept Credit Cards: Your Processor Options

Let’s explore each in detail to see which is the best solution for your business.

All-in-one processors, like our recommended provider, Square, are the simplest way to accept credit cards anywhere you sell. Most all-in-one credit card processors handle in-store, mobile, online, and virtual terminal payments all in one convenient account. Even better, they have transparent, no-surprises fee structures and just a few simple-to-understand processing fees.

For example, here are Square’s simple flat-rate processing fees for any type of payment you might process:

Square Credit Card Processing Fees

Mobile payments & in-store POS sales

Online store sales & online invoice payments

Phone orders, automatic & keyed-in payments

Unlike the traditional merchant accounts, all-in-one providers process all types of cards, credit or debit, under the same fee structure. That way you always know what you’re being charged and why. All-in-one processors also tend to be very easy and fast to set up compared to traditional merchant services. For all of these reasons, most startups and small businesses find all-in-ones to be the best way to accept credit cards.

Traditional Merchant Services Credit Card Processors

Traditional merchant services providers are a great option for higher-volume sellers since their credit card processing fees tend to be lower than all-in-one options. Generally, you’ll see worthwhile savings when your sales reach about $18K/mo.

If you want to go this route, it’s important to understand the different fees they charge because they’re not as straightforward as the all-in-ones. Along with the credit card processing and transaction fees, you might have an account fee, a gateway fee, fraud prevention fees, and more. They sometimes charge different fees and rates for credit vs debit cards, and add fees for rewards cards, corporate cards, and so on. So always make sure you’re clear on both the processing fees and any added fees when considering a traditional merchant services provider.

Traditional merchant services providers fall under two different types of fee structures:

1. Interchange-Plus Merchant Services Providers

The banks that issue credit cards and the credit card companies themselves charge a base processing rate to use their service called the Interchange Rate.

Interchange-plus providers charge a fixed markup above that interchange rate. For example, our recommended interchange-plus provider Payline charges:

Interchange Rate + 0.2% & 10¢ per transaction

This means that the merchant services provider (in this case, Payline) adds .2% to the card companies’ interchange rate, plus charges $0.10 per transaction. Interchange rates can vary, but based on an average Visa retail rate (1.51% + $0.10 per transaction), your fee using this type of provider generally will run:

Interchange Rate + 1.71% & 20¢ per transaction

2. Tiered Pricing Merchant Services Providers

Tiered pricing providers charge a different markup for every single type of card you process. Credit and debit cards each have different fees, but that’s not all. Rewards cards, corporate cards, and even airline miles cards have different fees as well, and you never know how much you’re being charged until you receive your bill.

This makes it very hard to understand how much you’re paying to process credit cards. Plus it makes it very easy for the merchant account provider to overcharge your business since tiered billing is confusing to sort out. We don’t recommend tiered pricing providers for small businesses since there are many better options with all-in-one and interchange-plus providers.

How to Know Which Merchant Provider is Right For You

Since tiered pricing is not a very practical solution for small businesses, you really have two main options for accepting credit cards: all-in-ones like Square, or a traditional merchant services interchange-plus provider like Payline.

To decide if an all-in-one or traditional merchant account is best for your business, you need to consider three factors:

  1. How and where do you sell?
  2. What is your average monthly credit card revenue?
  3. What is your average sale amount?

Now let’s explore these factors to help you decide which solution is best for your business.

Most credit card processors can handle all types of credit card sales: in-store, mobile, online, and more, but some make it easier to accept credit cards in certain scenarios than others.

All-in-ones like Square provide hardware that makes processing credit cards anywhere a seamless process. Plus, every card you charge is managed in one central account. Most all-in-ones use their own branded readers and point-of-sale hardware, so you tend to have fewer technical or connectivity issues. They also tend to work with many online shopping carts or, like Square, include a free online store.

Traditional merchant services often contract with third party providers for readers and point-of-sale equipment. This can lead to a more difficult setup, plus getting tech support when needed can take longer. Also, for online sales, you’ll need to connect your merchant account to your online store using a payment gateway, which can add yet another fee.

To sum it up, if you sell in-store, mobile, and online, an all-in-one like Square can be the better choice. But if you sell in high volume in just a retail location, the savings from an interchange-plus merchant services provider might be ideal.

2. What is your average monthly credit card revenue?

Generally speaking, if your average credit card revenue is below $18K/mo., a flat-rate provider like Square is the best choice. If you sell over $18K/mo., an interchange-plus provider like Payline can be more economical.

Comparing Credit Cards Fees by Monthly Revenue: Flat-rate & Interchange-plus

This comparison shows the fee difference between Square and Payline at two different revenue points: $12,500 and $25,000 in monthly credit card sales.

*The example uses a Visa retail swipe rate with an average order value of $35.

As shown above, Square is more economical if you’re charging $12,500/mo. in credit card payments. However, Payline is more economical at $25,000/mo. This is because Square charges slightly higher processing fees (2.75%), but doesn’t have any monthly charges. Payline has lower rates (1.71% + $0.20 for Visa) but charges a $15 service fee every month.

The takeaway here is that after a certain revenue point, Payline’s lower rate beats Square’s flat-rate, but under that, Square is the more affordable option.

3. What is your average sale amount?

Overall monthly charges are just part of the equation. Your average sale amount also plays a role in your credit card fees, as you can see in this comparison:

Comparing Credit Cards Fees by Sale Amount: Flat-rate & Interchange +

As shown above, Square charges the same rate regardless of the sale value. This is because they charge of a fixed fee of 2.75%.

Payline charges both a percentage rate of 1.71% plus 10¢ per transaction (for Visa payments, the fee is 20¢ in addition to the 1.71%) This makes Payline far more expensive for low-cost items. As the table shows, Payline charges nearly 10¢ more than Square on a $10 purchase. This can add up tremendously over time.

On the other hand, Payline can be significantly cheaper for high value purchases. The fee was 84¢ lower than Square on a $100 purchase, and this becomes even more pronounced as the sales values increase.

Clearly, you need to consider more than just the processing rates and fees when choosing a merchant account. It pays to do some homework and run your numbers to see which credit card solution offers the best range of services at the best cost for your unique needs.

So, we’ve discussed many ways to accept credit card payments, how rates and fees work, and what to look for in a credit card payment provider. Next, let’s look at how you can handle common credit card processing issues and prevent costly losses.

Tips for Handling Refunds, Disputes & Chargebacks

Like it or not, refunds, disputes, and chargebacks can occur when you accept credit cards. You can minimize them by being upfront with your return policies and, if selling online in particular, having detailed product descriptions for every item you sell. Here’s a look at how to handle all three:

Part of providing great customer service is offering hassle-free refunds for returned, damaged, or defective merchandise.

Refunds are processed using the same system that you originally used to process the sale. Basic in-store credit card processing equipment may require you to swipe the card for a refund, but most modern POS systems just let you reverse the charge via the onscreen dashboard (so it’s okay if your customer didn’t bring the card they used for the purchase). Mobile payments, online sales, and virtual terminal refunds all can be processed onscreen, too.

Most payment processors have a time limit on refunds, often between 60 days to 120 days. This is important to note for your return policies. If you have an unlimited timeframe for returns, you won’t be able to credit the payment back after a certain date. But, you can always offer a store credit instead.

Once you process a refund, your merchant provider removes those funds from your daily deposit. If the refund exceed that day’s deposit, your processor deducts the difference from your bank account the following business day. After that, it takes about 2-4 business days for the refund to appear in your customer’s credit card account.

Most processors will charge you a transaction fee to process a refund, but a few, like PayPal, actually refund some or all of your original transaction fees. This is something to consider when selecting a payment provider, especially if you sell products with a high return rate, like apparel.

Every so often a customer will dispute a charge. Here are a few of the reasons you may encounter this:

  • They don’t recall the purchase
  • They didn’t receive the item (in the case of online sales)
  • A family member made the purchase without permission or knowledge
  • The customer is unhappy with the item or service but doesn’t want to go to the trouble of returning it or requesting a refund

When a customer disputes a charge, your merchant account provider sends a notification with all of the details and provides you a form to document and submit key transaction information. How a dispute is resolved depends of several factors, but you never want to ignore a notification. If you do, you’re guaranteed to lose money through a chargeback, which we detail below.

If a customer disputes a charge because they don’t recognize the transaction, a quick call to your customer usually clears up any confusion. In this case, the customer contacts their card provider and clears the charge. However, it’s always best to respond on your end as well and note your conversation with your customer on your dispute form.

In cases where a customer claims an item did not arrive (for online sales), that it was defective, or that the charge was fraudulent, you need to submit information to defend the charge. But know that many times these cases are decided in the buyer’s favor. Sometimes it’s best to just refund the charge in question so you don’t have a chargeback.

A chargeback happens when the customer’s credit card company sides with the customer in a dispute and deducts money from your account to refund the charge. If you have a high rate of chargebacks, you risk paying higher processing fees or having your account suspended altogether. So it’s important to understand why chargebacks happen and how to minimize them.

Usually, the funds in question are removed or frozen for the duration of the dispute. Plus, you’re billed a chargeback fee of around $25.00. If you win the dispute, the funds are released to you and the fee usually is refunded. If you lose the dispute, the funds in question and the fee are deducted from your account. If you don’t respond to the notification promptly and provide all details, you may also be charged an additional fee or risk account suspension.

Handling refunds, disputes, and chargebacks in a timely manner is important to maintain a healthy merchant account, but that’s not all. You also need to protect yourself from thieves who use credit cards to steal in many creative ways. Here’s how.

How to Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud

Credit card fraud is another reality you face when you accept credit cards, but there are ways you can protect yourself. Most top merchant account providers and all-in-one solutions offer powerful fraud detection tools and you should put these in place per their direction. Plus, always be sure to do the following:

For In-store and Mobile Transactions:

  • Verify identification with a photo ID for in-person transactions
  • Visually check the signature and name on the card against the ID provided
  • Don’t offer cash refunds for credit card charges, refund the amount only to the original card

For Online and Virtual Terminal Transactions:

  • Use a secure ecommerce solution with a secure checkout
  • Use a secure payment provider and gateway that requires Address Verification Service (AVS) with ZIP code and street address match
  • Use Card Identification Number (CID) verification that requires customers to enter the 3-digit code on back (Visa and MasterCard) or the 4-digit code on front (American Express)
  • Require contact information including phone and email
  • Follow applicable PCI-security standards and don’t store any payment data on your own computer

These steps can help protect you and your customers from fraudulent credit card activity. If you suspect that a fraudulent charge has occurred, report it to your merchant account provider immediately and refuse the sale.

Most people find the subject of credit card processing complicated and difficult to understand. However, it’s essential that you understand the basics to avoid putting the wrong solution in place and paying more than you should when you accept credit cards.

When your monthly card sales exceed $18K per month, you might consider an interchange-plus model. We recommend Payline because they provide one of the lowest processing rates in the industry. At this point, we also suggest trading-up from free to paid POS software, to benefit from more advanced inventory, employee management, and CRM modules.

If you are just starting up, your monthly card sales are less than $18K per month, or most of your purchases are low-value (below $25), then we recommend using Square. It’s quick to set up, comes with many free features like POS software, an online store, and business management tools, and works anywhere you want to sell. Swipe readers are free, or you can spend $29 on a reader that processes swipe, chip, and eWallet payments.

Krista Fabregas is a staff writer at Fit Small Business and editor of the Ecommerce Section. Krista launched her first ecommerce site in 2001, and soon grew to operate two niche B2B and B2C sites, a 10K square foot warehouse, and staff of nine. Combined, her sites sold more than $1.5M annually for several years. Krista now shares her hand-on experience with others looking to expand into online sales. When not helping small business owners launch and grow efficient ecommerce operations, Krista enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction, and riding horses and motorcycles in her hometown of Houston.

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Which payment methods to support per country?

For an online seller it is of great importance to offer the right set of online payment methods to be able to turn shoppers into buyers. Every country has its own specific online payment habits, cultural preferences and payment solutions.

For example, Brazilian shoppers prefer to pay their products with card installments and boleto, the majority of Turkish shoppers pay by credit card and most Belgium shoppers pay with their local payment brand Bancontact/MisterCash. In this chapter we have gathered the preferred payment methods per country from a consumer perspective and ranked them based upon (estimated) market share.

  • payment preferences and payment method market share may change over time
  • new online payment methods and solutions will be introduced and could rapidly gain market share
  • payment preferences and shares can differ per individual online seller and industry, even when targeting the same country (e.g. gambling, insurances)
  • data is sourced from several sources including publications by Payment Service Providers, news websites and ecommerce shopping associations.
  • Please note that not all online payment methods (e.g. offline methods, cash on delivery payments) are supported by Payment Service Providers and are not always taken into account in reports. Online sellers should be aware that these "offline" payment methods could represent substantial volumes and could be "must haves" in order to convert shoppers into buyers.

  1. iDEAL (local alternative payment method – simplified online bank transfer (SCT)) – 56% marketshare
  2. Credit cards (1. MasterCard, 2. Visa, 3. American Express) – 12%
  3. Authorization (one-off or recurring SEPA direct debit) – 6%
  4. SEPA Credit Transfer (regular Bank Transfer) – 5%
  5. PayPal – 5%
  6. Giro (offline bank transfer) – 4%
  7. Maestro (offline, in store) – 3%
  8. Gift cards (Fashioncheque, YourGiftCard, . ) – 3%
  9. Afterpay (pay after delivery through iDEAL or online bank transfer) – 2%
  10. Other payment methods (SOFORTbanking, Klarna, Billink, Bitcoin) – 4%

The Netherlands: iDEAL is the must-have payment method

iDEAL is the number one online payment method in the Netherlands and a must have for merchants operating on the Dutch online market. iDEAL has a share of 56% of all online payments during the first half in 2015 and a 35% share on transactions originating on mobile devices (almost 50% growth compared to 2014). iDEAL is within the top 10 of well-known brands in the Netherlands.

The credit cards' market share (MasterCard en Visa) stabilizes at 11-12%. PayPal and Afterpay showed some growth (both 1% compared to the same period in 2014).

iDEAL is an online payment method using simplified, real-time online bank transfers (SEPA Credit Transfers) to complete for online purchases or transactions. As a key driver for the usage of iDEAL, all issuing banks support iDEAL enabling over 10 million Dutch people to use iDEAL.

There is no chargeback mechanism and merchants benefit from payment guarantee. Processing costs are fairly low in comparison to other online payment options and they are fixed (roughly between 15-50 euro cents). Consumers feel confident using their familiar home banking and not having to share sensitive card data. Merchants benefit from instant payment confirmation, swift settlement (normally +1 or 2 days) and fixed fees, regardless the transaction amount.

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  1. Bancontact/MisterCash (local alternative payment method – simplified online bank transfer) – 32%
  2. Credit cards (1. Visa – 30%, MasterCard – 20%, American Express – 2%)
  3. Online Banking: KBC/CBC Online, ING Home'Pay and Belfius Direct Net, SOFORTBanking – 8%
  4. PayPal – 3%
  5. SEPA Credit Transfer (regular Bank Transfer)
  6. Maestro (online) – 2%
  7. SEPA Direct Debit
  8. Other payment methods (, paysafecard, spaar&pluk, gift cards, Bitcoin)

Bancontact/Mister Cash is the domestic debit card scheme in Belgium, allowing consumers to pay in real-time and guarantee payment to (online) merchants and businesses. Bancontact payments are immediately debited from the consumer's bank account. The seller’s account will be credited the next working day. Today, there are more Bancontact/MisterCash cards in circulation (15 million) than there are Belgian citizens (10.5 million). No less than 99% of all consumers know Bancontact/MisterCash and 86% of all payments by electronic card are Bancontact/MisterCash payments. Bancontact/MisterCash is the offline and online payment method in Belgium. Merchants are most often charged a fixed fee (0.25-0.50 euro) and a percentage of the transaction (between 1.50% and 2.25%)

Almost every debit card issued in Belgium facilitates for both online Bancontact/MisterCash transactions as well as online Maestro (eMaestro) payments. Both local and international merchants should keep in mind that the costs for online Maestro could be substantially lower (interchange rates for Maestro domestic and cross-border are capped at 0.20% of the transaction), but also realize that Bancontact is the preferred and trusted payment brand in Belgium.

Whereas Bancontact/MisterCash requires the authentication procedure as enforced by the issuing bank, while online Maestro requires to use the 3D-secure protocol by MasterCard.

  1. Credit cards (1. Visa, 2. MasterCard)
  2. PayPal
  3. SEPA direct debit
  4. SEPA credit transfer (regular Bank Transfer)
  5. Others (American Express, Diners Club, Bitcoin)
  1. Local debit/credit cards – Carte Bancaire, e-Carte Bleue (both co-branded Visa or MasterCard)
  2. Credit cards (1. Visa, 2. MasterCard, 3. American Express)
  3. PayLib (eWallet)
  4. PayPal
  5. SEPA direct debit
  6. Slimpay (SEPA direct debit solution)
  7. SOFORTbanking (overlay online bank transfer)
  8. Others (gift cards, paysafecard, credit consumption, Bitcoin, Yes by Cash (offline), FacilyPay)

Carte Bancaire and e-Carte Bleue (part of CB scheme) are an interbank scheme that requires a connection to a local acquirer (otherwise these card payments will be processed as MasterCard or Visa payments as most cards are co-branded and capable of transacting online). A direct connection to a local French acquirer is supposed to result in higher approval rates for merchants.

From processing stats by several Payment Service Providers it seems that the number of (co-branded) Visa cards exceeds the number of co-branded MasterCard cards. The split between Visa and MasterCard is roughly 2:1.

PayLib (developed by three major French banks servicing over 23 million customers, and launched in 2013) is a digital wallet comparable to PayPal (unlock your wallet by username/password, pay by card). PayPal is assumed to have 7 million users in France.

It seems that French shoppers do prefer to split payments into more payments (pay by installments) if the option is provided, and is likely to increase conversion, especially in case of higher transaction amounts. Payment methods like FacilyPay make use of the Carte Bancaire card system and the option to offer installment options.

  1. ELV (SEPA direct debit)
  2. Credit cards (1. Visa, 2. MasterCard, 3. American Express)
  3. PayPal
  4. SOFORTbanking (online bank transfer)
  5. Giropay (online bank transfer)
  6. Open Invoice (e.g. BillPay, RATEPay, Klarna)
  7. SEPA Credit Transfer (regular Bank Transfer)
  8. Others (paysafecard, Bitcoin, gift cards)

ELV refers to Elektronisches Lastschriftverfahren and is widely used in Germany. ELV is semi-real-time payment method where the shopper authorizes the merchant to make a collection (direct debit). The authorization can be provided in (electronically) written form, by email or through a web interface set up by the merchant. Consumers have the right to cancel ELV direct debits. Merchants should be aware that they bare the risk in case of fraud and there is no chargeback protection.

Besides ELV, credit cards (MasterCard, Visa predominantly), PayPal, SOFORTbanking and GiroPay, merchants should consider to offer the eInvoice payment methods such as BillPay, RATEPay and Klarna. These third parties pay merchants for the products and services purchased by shoppers, and then they collect payment from the shopper after delivery. It provides confidence and trust to (first-time) online shoppers and does not require to use cards, PayPal, or an online banking system or overlay payment service at the time of purchase, and thereby increasing conversion.

  1. Credit cards – 1. Visa (dominant 70-80%), 2. MasterCard, 3. American Express
  2. Debit cards – 1. Visa Debit, 2. Maestro
  3. PayPal
  4. Bank Transfers
  5. Others (Discover, Skrill, Klarna, paysafecard, Bitcoin)

Credit and debit cards are very popular in the UK, as many shoppers holding 2-3 cards. Cards approximately account for 90% of all online payments. Online bank transfer type of payment methods are virtually non-existent.

President's Choice Financial ® Mastercard ®

In our † stores 2 10 PC Points per $1 3

Everywhere else 10 PC Points per $1

20 PC Points per $1 5

10 PC Points per $1

Enter your estimated monthly expenses to watch the PC ® points you could be earning add up.

Purchases interest rate

Cash Advance interest rate

6 months for new accounts 8

  • Mastercard Global Service ™ that replace your card or offer a cash advance in case of emergency
  • Up to four free additional cards on your account for family members, so you can earn PC points even faster
  • Free personalized convenience cheques to pay with at places that don't accept credit cards
  • Free Purchase Assurance in case of theft, loss or damage in the first 90 days 6 when you pay in full with your PC Financial Mastercard credit card (learn more)
  • Free Extended Warranty that doubles the manufacturer's regular warranty for up to an additional year 6 on items purchased with your PC Financial Mastercard credit card (learn more)

Earn PC points for every $1 spent 3 everywhere you shop.

  • You can start redeeming once you’ve earned 20,000 PC points, which equals $20 in free groceries. Or redeem higher amounts in further increments of 10,000 PC points (which is equivalent to a further $10 in rewards).
  • Just present your President's Choice Financial Mastercard or bank card at the check-out at participating stores where President's Choice ® products are sold and tell the cashier that you're redeeming your PC points.
  • Purchases rate in effect when your account is approved: 19.97%
  • Cash Advance rate in effect when your account is approved: 22.97%.
  • Promotional balance transfers: 0.97% for 6 months for balance transfers¹ made within 90 days of account approval.

We may, with prior notice, increase your Purchases and Cash Advances rate to the Performance rate of 25.95% for Purchases and 27.95% for Cash Advances following a review of:

  • Your account use (including whether you exceeded your credit limit or had any dishonoured payment transactions), or
  • Your credit bureau reports and credit history.

Your interest rates will increase to the Default rate of 25.97% for Purchases and 27.97% for Cash Advances if you:

  • Do not make the minimum payment by the due date for two consecutive months, or
  • Are not in full compliance with the terms of your cardholder agreement.

Interest-Free Grace Period - 21 days

A minimum of 21 days for new Purchases (meaning purchases which have not appeared on any previous statement) if you pay your entire current statement balance in full by the applicable due date, otherwise interest is charged from the transaction date.

The interest-free grace period does not apply to Cash Advances (which include balance transfers and convenience cheques), and interest is charged from the transaction date.

Any past due amounts, plus: your statement balance if $10 or less, or the greater of

(b) 2.2% of your total statement balance, or

(c) The interest charges and fees billed on the current statement plus $1.

For foreign currency transactions, the foreign currency conversion markup percentage charged is 2.5% of the amount of the charge or credit transaction as converted first into U.S. dollars and then into Canadian dollars at the current exchange rates on the transaction date.

Other Fees - To be charged on the day the transaction occurs:

  • Cash Advance at a bank machine or teller in Canada: $3.50
  • Cash advance outside Canada: $5
  • Overlimit charge if over the credit limit on statement date: $29
  • Cash equivalent transaction (such as for a wire transfer or money order): 1% (minimum $5, maximum $10)
  • Dishonoured payment or convenience cheque: $42
  • Copy of a sales draft or previous account statement: $10
  • Credit balance refund made by cheque: $20
  • Balance Transfer: 1% of the transferred amount will be charged for balance transfers requested 6 months or more after account approval.
  • Inactive account: if on your statement date there is a credit balance on your account and there has been no activity on your account (meaning no debits, credits, interest or fees) for the preceding 12 consecutive months, your account is subject to a fee equal to the lesser of $10 or the credit balance amount.

Managing your PC Financial Mastercard account online or from your mobile device is easy, and puts you in the driver’s seat. Visit to enroll and we’ll help you keep on top of your account.

  • Check your balance and available credit
  • Quickly review a summary of your account and recent transactions including pending authorizations
  • Update your contact information
  • Switch to paperless statements - get your statements faster and receive an e-alert when your statement is ready to view online
  • View e-statements from the past two years
  • Make account requests such as ordering additional cards (a maximum of 4) or informing us about your travel plans to help keep your card accessible

Account Balance Protection - Spousal

This insurance can cover * your minimum payments on your President’s Choice Financial Mastercard in case the unexpected happens to you or your spouse, so you have one less thing to worry about.

  • Covers 5% of your balance on the date of loss (more than the required minimum monthly payment) for up to 20 consecutive months in the event that you or your spouse becomes disabled or suffers involuntary job loss * up to age 65
  • In case of the death, accidental dismemberment or diagnosis of a critical illness (cancer, heart attack, or stroke) * of you or your spouse prior to age 75, pays off the full balance owing on the date of loss or date of diagnosis for critical illness, up to $15,000
  • Covers one monthly payment of 5% of your balance as of the first day of hospitalization (to a maximum of $500) if you or your spouse are hospitalized * for more than 2 consecutive days prior to age 75
  • Your premium appears on your statement
  • If your current month's statement balance is zero, so is your premium
  • Try it risk free for 30 days - you can cancel anytime, and if you cancel within the first 30 days of your coverage becoming effective we’ll refund any premiums collected
  • Only $1.19 (plus applicable taxes) per $100 of your current month’s statement balance

Call 1-866-246-7262 today to speak to a representative and add ABP Spousal to your account

* Certain limitations and exclusions apply. Complete details, including the definition of covered conditions, are set out in the Certificate of Insurance that will be sent to you when you enroll.

Account Balance Protection - Standard

This optional insurance plan covers you in three different ways:

  1. If you were to become disabled or lose your job involuntarily before age 65 while enrolled in the plan, it pays 3% of your President’s Choice Financial Mastercard balance at the date of disability or job loss each month for up to 2 years starting after 30 days of disability or unemployment.
  2. If you were to be hospitalized for more than 7 consecutive days before age 70 while enrolled, it would make a one-time payment of 3% of the outstanding balance of your President’s Choice Financial Mastercard as of the date of hospitalization, up to $500.
  3. It would pay up to $15,000 to cover the outstanding balance on your President’s Choice Financial Mastercard as of the date of death or injury in the event of your loss of life or accidental dismemberment. This death and dismemberment benefit covers you and any authorized user who is your spouse.

  • Try it risk free for 30 days - you can cancel anytime, and if you cancel within the first 30 days of your coverage becoming effective we'll refund any premiums charged
  • Only 99¢ (plus applicable taxes) per $100 of your current month's statement ending balance

Account Balance Protection - Involuntary Job Loss only

This insurance can cover your minimum payments on your President's Choice Financial Mastercard account and help protect your credit rating in case of involuntary job loss.

  • Covers your minimum monthly payments for up to 20 consecutive months in case of involuntary unemployment
  • If your current month's statement balance is zero, so is your premium
  • Your premium appears on your statement
  • Try it risk free for 30 days - you can cancel anytime, and if you cancel within the first 30 days of your coverage becoming effective we'll refund any premiums charged
  • Only 79¢ (plus applicable taxes) per $100 of your current month's statement ending balance

Additional Account Balance Protection Insurance plan options may be available. For complete information regarding Account Balance Protection options please call 1-866-246-7262 to speak with a representative.

Credit Alert Plus is a comprehensive suite of tools that helps you proactively monitor, manage and protect your valuable credit and identity information.

  • Credit Report: You will receive an easy-to-read copy of your credit report and score (based on information from Equifax ® ), so you can make sure that your information is accurate with no unexpected activity
  • Daily Monitoring and Surveillance: You will be sent an alert within 24 hours when there are certain changes to your report. Credit report inquiries, address changes and new accounts opened, can be key indicators of identity fraud, and are monitored from both major Canadian credit reporting agencies - Equifax and TransUnion. Text or e-mail alerts allow you to respond quickly when identity fraud is suspected.
  • Quarterly credit report: Every 3 months you will receive a refreshed score, information on any new accounts opened, certain inquiries made, address changes and identification information changes
  • Credit education specialists: Specialists are available to help you understand your credit report, walk you through some of the more complex credit or fraud issues, and help you understand how information is obtained and retained by the credit reporting agencies
  • Victim Assistance and Restoration: Access to trained specialists at the service provider's Identity Theft Recovery Unit who will walk you through the steps of restoring your credit if you should become a victim of identity theft
  • Security software: Help protect your computer and internet identity from hackers thanks to anti-virus and anti-key logging software
  • 24/7 online access: Access your credit report and score 24/7 online or through a mobile app

Get the first 30 days free, and pay only $19.99 per month thereafter (plus applicable taxes). To cancel at any time, simply call 1-866-246-7262. If you call within the first 30 days you will not be billed. Credit Alert ® Plus is not an insurance product. Services are provided by AIMIA Proprietary Loyalty Canada Inc.(“AIMIA”) and Intersections Inc. President's Choice Bank and its related companies are not affiliated with AIMIA and Intersections Inc. and are not responsible for delivery of the services or liable in connection therewith and are also not liable for fraudulent use of your membership for this service.

Making a payment shouldn’t give you a headache. Here's what you should know:

  • If there’s a balance on your account, you’ll be required to make monthly payments
  • You’ll receive monthly account statements and you must pay at least the minimum payment by the due date shown on your account statement
  • Payments must be made in Canadian currency

There are four easy ways to pay your Mastercard bill:

1) Online, telephone, bank machine: Automated payments are your quickest and most convenient option. Online, telephone and bank machine payments at most major financial institutions are credited the same day provided you make your payment by 5pm CST on a banking day. These payments are reflected on your online summary 2-3 days afterwards.

  • ATB Financial
  • Bank of Montreal **
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce **
  • Desjardins
  • HSBC
  • Laurentian Bank **
  • National Bank **
  • RBC Financial Group
  • Scotiabank
  • TD Canada Trust
  • Most credit unions

** Even if you're not a customer of this Mastercard issuing institution, you can still make in-branch payments.

Why use high-interest retail store cards? New customers get a rate of 0.97% for 6 months on balances transferred from other higher-interest credit cards. 7

Apply by December 31, 2017 to take advantage of this offer.

Our Application has just 6 steps and will take about 5 minutes

Apply now Pay pier 1 credit card online

Questions about PC Financial® Mastercard?

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Take a look at the PC Financial ® Mastercard ® Frequently Asked Questions

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Don't have a PC Financial ® Mastercard ® and have questions?

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1 Minimum redemption is 20,000 PC points (worth $20 in free rewards) and in increments of 10,000 PC points thereafter. PC points are not redeemable against the purchase of tobacco, lottery tickets, alcohol, prescription medication, milk in Quebec, or any products or services prohibited by law or as we determine from time to time.

2 Participating grocery stores where President’s Choice products are sold.

3 Earn a minimum of 10 PC points per dollar on all of your purchases charged to the credit card. Any bonus PC points offers available to all PC Financial Mastercard customers are calculated based on the regular earnings rate of 10 PC points per dollar spent. This offer may be terminated or changed at any time.

4 Earn 2 cents per purchased litre of gasoline or diesel, payable in PC points when you use your President’s Choice Financial Mastercard at Esso stations in Canada. 2 cents per litre amounts to 20 PC points.

5 Get a bonus 10 PC points per dollar of your PC TM travel services purchase (taxes included) charged to your President's Choice Financial Mastercard or President's Choice Financial World Mastercard and 20 bonus PC points per dollar charged to your President's Choice Financial World Elite Mastercard, in addition to the regular 10 PC points per dollar earned for all purchases on these card. Bonus PC points will be shown as “PC Travel Bonus Rewards” on your PC points statement. Account must be in good standing. Offer subject to change. PC TM travel services are provided by 8742995 Canada Inc. doing business as Travel Nation Canada. President's Choice Bank and its related companies are not affiliated with Travel Nation Canada and are not responsible for delivery of the services or liable in connection therewith.

6 Some conditions apply. Effective August 1, 2017, the provider of your Purchase Assurance and Extended Warranty benefits on your President’s Choice Financial ® Mastercard ® will be changing to American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida. You will find your new Certificate of Insurance detailing your insurance coverage, including definitions, benefits, limitations, and exclusions here: Your coverage will continue with First North American Insurance Company (FNAIC), a subsidiary of Manulife, until July 31, 2017. You must continue to submit any claims for purchases made prior to August 1, 2017, to FNAIC.

7 Balance Transfers for new accounts: You must apply by December 31, 2017 in order to be eligible for the current promotional balance transfer offer of a 0.97% interest rate for 6 months. Offer is available to eligible new customers only, within 90 days of your President's Choice Financial Mastercard account ("Account") approval. This offer may be changed, extended or cancelled without notice. Promotional interest rate is annual and applies, unless your Account is in default, only to the transferred amount for 6 months after the transaction date, after which the cash advance interest rate applicable to your Account applies to any remaining balance until the balance is paid in full, unless your Account is in default. Balance transfers are treated like cash advances and interest is charged from the date the transfer occurs, which may be up to 30 business days from your activation of the Account. Continue making your minimum payments on accounts from which you are transferring until the balance transfer amounts are credited to those accounts in order to avoid late charges and penalties. If the total amount to be transferred is more than your available credit limit, President's Choice Bank ("PC Bank") may send your creditors either full or partial payment up to the amount of your available credit limit. PC Bank reserves the right to limit the number and amount of balance transfers and to decline them for any reason. Balances from other President's Choice Financial accounts are not eligible to be transferred. Stop payments are not allowed. PC points are not earned on balance transfers unless otherwise specified. Please refer to your Cardholder Agreement and Card Carrier disclosures for further information.

Click here for the complete President’s Choice Financial Mastercard cardholder agreement.