Since we provide global credit card merchant account solutions, we’ve been paying attention to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) very seriously, observing how businesses are adapting – especially those similar to us. Although we’re located in the U.S., the announcement of the GDPR grabbed our attention since we work with many merchants, partners and acquiring banks in the European Union. But as we read about what it entailed, what was changing and how we handled data going forward, we shrugged our collective shoulders and went on with our day.
We’ve always protected the data of everyone with whom we work alongside: merchants and prospective merchants, ISOs, agents and partners, acquiring banks as well as those who subscribe to our monthly newsletter. Like most businesses, we rely on several third-party service providers to operate day-to-day – providers like Salesforce, WordPress and Campaign Monitor – longtime partners in which we have full confidence.
So here’s exactly what we do with global credit card merchant services data.
First things first: why we need certain documents and information
In the name of knowing your customer, there are certain documents that Instabill requires in the merchant account onboarding process. These documents – such as a merchant’s CV, passport, business (and sometimes personal) banking statements, a bank reference letter and a utility bill – establish legitimacy and reciprocal trust. The reason we require such documents is because Instabill and our acquiring banking partner we select for a business are taking a large (calculated) risk on processing credit card transactions for a business. We need to be convinced that the business is risk-worthy, and these documents provide the necessary evidence of such.
“The only way we can pre-vet prospective merchants is to provide our acquiring banks the information they send us,” said Karin Michel, Instabill’s Director of Finance. “Sometimes prospective merchants or reselling partners will send us an NDA, which all merchants and reselling partners are free to do. They want their information kept private and we are happy to oblige.”
Leads come to Instabill in two ways: through the short ‘apply now’ pre-application forms throughout our website and via the telephone (we’re big on one-on-one conversations). When a lead contacts us through our website, their contact information goes into Salesforce, a customer retention management (CRM) platform we use to detail and vet prospective merchants. When a lead arrives, we engage the merchant over the telephone and take down all the necessary notes and information about their business into a form on Salesforce.
Whether or not the lead matures into a merchant partner, it stays in our secure CRM until we purge it from the system. The reason we keep leads in our CRM is for the purpose of reconnecting to discuss possibilities in case situations change. By maintaining our leads and periodically making contact, we have developed many global credit card merchant account relationships.
Merchants, partners and anyone in the payments industry can opt in to receive our monthly newsletter by way of completing any of the contact forms on our website or contacting us with a specific request. Merchants can easily opt out of our newsletter e-mails by selecting ‘unsubscribe’ option at the bottom of the page. We publish and send our newsletter – which includes the most popular 6-7 articles we write over the previous month – to entice merchants to view our website and generate clicks.
Until 3-4 years ago, Instabill was a print-to-file company: we maintained records and documents by printing them out and organizing them in file cabinets. Today, we only print what we need (and file), and instead maintain documents in encrypted folders protected by a local, reputable cybersecurity firm. Whatever physical documents that are no longer pertinent to Instabill are shredded by a local company once each month.
Small exceptions of note
As a provider of global credit card merchant account services for high risk businesses, there are sparse occasions where we’ve seen merchants run afoul of the law. This is part and parcel in the business of high risk merchant services. In certain industries such as online pharmaceuticals, tech support, online gambling and multilevel marketing, we see signs of transaction laundering; merchants selling products and services outside of their merchant account contract.
When merchants commit unlawful acts, Instabill is required to provide any and all necessary documents to the proper authorities.
We value the privacy of global credit card merchant account data
Having been steeped in the payments industry for nearly 20 years, we fully realize the value of personal information. While credit card information details remain a hot commodity to fraudsters and online criminals, personal information such as social security numbers, healthcare data, passports and driver’s license information are worth 10 times the amount on the black market.
Translated, your data is safe with us.
For global credit card merchant account solutions, we’re available directly to discuss the best options for your business at 1-800-530-2444.