Merchant Accounts

University Accounting Services (UAS) facilitates the ability for departments to accept credit cards as a form of payment. A merchant account, which is a type of banking account specifically for card processing, is required for anyone wishing to accept payments in person, over the phone, or by mail. Such accounts are also required for e-commerce, but the university has leeway in bundling multiple departments under a single merchant account.

Procedures for establishing and maintaining a credit card merchant account are established in SAP 21.01.02.M0.03: Credit Card Collections and supplemented by the information below. To begin the setup process for accepting credit cards in person or over the phone, contact Patti Ponzio at (979) 845-5209.

Cost of Card Acceptance

Merchants are charged fees for accepting cards as a form of payment, but anticipating those fees is difficult. We have written the white paper Charges Related to Credit Cards to help you understand the fee structure and anticipate your costs. If you want a quick rule of thumb without reading the white paper, budget 2.5% of the sales amount to go toward card processing fees.

Likewise, we have written the white paper Surcharges for Card Acceptance on whether or not you can charge a surcharge or convenience fee. In short, whenever possible you should build the cost of doing business into the price you charge, rather than tacking on a separate fee.

Account Setup

Before submitting forms, contact University Accounting Services (UAS) to determine the best solution to your credit card transaction needs. When prompted, complete the New Credit Card Merchant Application. UAS will establish a new merchant account through the credit card processor on your behalf. New merchant account activation typically takes 3 weeks from the time the form is received.

If you plan on accepting cards in person, you must complete all pages of the New Credit Card Merchant Application, including sections on software and hardware needs. In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to purchase or lease equipment from the credit card processor. Depending on the equipment's placement, you may require work orders for telecommunications or AC power accommodations.

If you plan on receiving credit card payments in instances in which the card is not present (such as over the phone, by fax, or online), you need only complete the first section of the New Credit Card Merchant Application. However, for e-commerce, be sure to discuss your needs with UAS prior to requesting a merchant account. You may be able to be accommodated in an existing merchant account. Contact UAS at (979) 845-8118 or (979) 845-5209.

Card Processing, Daily Close out, and Deposit Procedures

Credit card sales should be recorded like any other sale. Customers should be given receipts verifying payment for purchases unless an exception is granted by the Associate Vice President and Controller.

To process sales for walk-in customers presenting an acceptable credit card, the card should be run through the credit card machine at the time of the sale to validate the account number. The credit card must be kept within the customer's sight and the CVV code must never be copied or stored. Any exceptions must be approved by the Associate Vice President and Controller.

Deposits should be made on a daily basis by someone other than the individual who accepted the transaction payments.

For credit card sales, the credit card detail report or bill slips should be sent to UAS (at mail stop 6000) on a daily basis. This report should break down the Visa/MasterCard, Discover, and American Express totals. If the merchant has a VeriFone printer, attach the tape to the iPayment credit card detail report.

Merchants are responsible for reconciling credit card deposits to their FAMIS statements.

Credit Card Security Compliance

Texas A&M takes credit card security very seriously. All departments who accept credit cards as a form of payment must comply with security rules established by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council and our card processor JP Morgan Chase Paymentech, as well as university SAP 21.01.02.M0.03.

Merchants are required to complete and submit an annual security Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) each May. See PCI-DSS Card Security for more information.