Citizens are Not Helpless!

I'm going to write about a couple of things I may get some flack for. Not that I care. I've given this a LOT of thought and I'm sure I'm right in these areas. I'm also sure it affects everyone in my country - and maybe other countries, too.

Before I start, I'd like to caution you not to jump to any conclusions about my motives.

I am not a Republican
I am not a Democrat
I am not a Libertarian
I am not a “Tea Partier”

I am an Independent, and I lean towards being a Liberal - although I prefer to call it Progressive.

I once had a Philosophy professor who said I was a “pragmatic contextualist.” He said I held a worldview that based my decisions on what is practical to get the job done within the context of each individual situation.

He was right. I don't depend upon religious doctrine, political philosophies, media positions or, sometimes, even laws to decide what's the right thing to do.

When I took the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), I was found to be almost perfectly, evenly divided between left-brain and right-brain.

Now, that keeps me from ever being extraordinary. You would need to lean way into left-brain operation to be a real scholar. And, you'd need to lean way into right-brain operation to be extremely creative. I am neither. But, I AM balanced.

That means, I sometimes agree with the Conservatives as well as leaning toward Liberalism. And, I believe every situation warrants its own evaluation.

Now, having said all that - I hope you'll realize, the rest of this is simply for what I see as for the good of our country, our businesses and our lives.

It has nothing to do with politics, so please spare me the bitching.

A project is afoot to take the four largest banks down to where they cannot be considered “too big to fail.” Never mind where it came from - it's a great idea!

In fact, I said it myself before I ever heard it anywhere else. But, nobody was listening to me. ;-)

I've said before, WE are the answer to this economic mess, since we can no longer depend on our governments. And, this is something only we, as the general public, can do.

We need to take to power away from Wall Street and give it to our local businesses!

The idea is to stop doing business with the following banks: Citigroup, Bank of America Corp., J. P. Morgan Chase & Company and Wells Fargo & Company. These are the banks that received the biggest taxpayer bailouts, then used them to pay enormous bonuses to their top executives.

However, the main idea is to move our money and financial business to small community banks. Just 10 banks control 90% of the market and the top three - Citibank, Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase - control a whooping 63%!

It's easy enough to check your community banks' financial status. You can do that online. Better yet, stop by and pick up their printed financial statements. Grab a brochure, too, so you can compare pricing on fees.

While you're there, talk to someone. See if you can remember what it's like to know the people you do business with!

Have I done it? Yep, I have. I have one account left to yank away from one of them, but I have to make a couple of other changes, first. I am also transferring the balances away from every credit card I have with any of them.

Most community banks and credit unions also issue credit cards. We do NOT have to put up with the thieving tactics of the big banks on our credit cards! If this situation continues as is - and it appears as though it will - we have only ourselves to blame. Because we can do something to take them down!

Here's a great article to help you change banks so it isn't overwhelming if you have automatic deposits, automated payments, recurring debit card transactions, etc.

Next Subject

I don't usually ask people to sign petitions to the government. In fact, when I have something to say, I usually go right to the White House website - - not that it does any good. But, I feel better!

But, I want to draw your attention to this important petition:

"Tell President Obama: Due To Economic Crisis, We Demand Rebuilding The Decaying U.S. Infrastructure Now!" (as has been promised!)

I really think this is an important cause, and I'd like to encourage you to add your signature, too. It's free and takes just a few seconds of your time.

It's (past) time that guy did what he promised. Maybe this will push him forward - maybe not. But, again, we have no one to blame but ourselves if we continue to just sit here on our thumbs and do nothing.

Jobs will do more to bring us out of this mess than anything else. And, there is NO excuse for our country allowing bridges, levies, etc. to crumble!

Let's see, now, what was that about Nero fiddling while Rome burned? What were the people doing? Dancing?

Of course, these projects to take our power back will take many more than those reading these words. Please pass it around to everyone you know!

As soon as we recognize and act on our power, we'll take it away from the political whores and imbeciles in Washington!

Why Use a Third Party Merchant Account?

After over a decade online, I still use a third party merchant account. I know people wonder why a "professional organization" would do that, since it is considered by some to be UNprofessional. So, I'll tell you!

When I opened my first website, I researched regular online merchant accounts. Talk about a headache! It was gruesome. There was SO much difference in what they offered – there was SO much hype – and, it was expensive for someone just starting out.

I decided I would wait until my new business was two years old (that was the requirement), and just get a merchant account with my own bank. When the time came, I checked it out, and found that I would still be paying over twice the amount I was paying a third party merchant account to process payments.

That didn't make good business sense to me! And, by that time, I had heard the horror stories of having your own merchant account for an online business. There are major problems.

The main problems are fraud issues. Affiliate programs are especially susceptible to fraud. Any expensive products that can be resold are also at risk.

If you have your own merchant account, you will be expected to check every order for fraud. By this, I mean some thief using stolen credit card numbers. If fraud gets by you, you will be liable to return the money to your merchant account provider, since they paid you. And, you may not have it by the time the fraud is discovered.

Then, what happens?

Your merchant account provider places a "freeze" on your checking account! I've heard of providers leaving this freeze on bank accounts for up to NINE (9) months. You will also lose your merchant account – as if you committed the fraud!

Now, mind you, you may have funds in that account over and above the amounts of the fraudulent transactions. Doesn't matter. They freeze the entire bank account at least until they have every cent of their money back – PLUS the time it takes them to release your account. I've heard of the freeze staying in place for six months, even if they got all their money back in the first 30 days!

Do not believe for a minute they give a damn about any other funds they have tied up. They don't! How are you going to operate your business without money? In fact, how are you going to live without the money they tie up?

I know people who have been completely wiped out because they spent money paid into their bank by the merchant account provider. Then, months down the line, it becomes apparent that fraudulent transactions accounted for some huge amount of the sales, and they had to cough up thousands of dollars – already spent.

Thieves Checking for Good Credit Card Numbers

Then, you have the credit card scammers using your order page to check for good credit card numbers! They use some routine to input random numbers – just like the telemarketers dial random telephone numbers.

They may only put through sales of one dollar, or less. All they are doing is noting which numbers go through. Those they know are valid credit card numbers to be used in one scam, or another.

How does that hurt you? You are paying your merchant account provider a fee for every transaction! When the thieves are running through hundreds, or even thousands, of numbers, that can add up fast.

Do you think your merchant account provider will refund those fees to you when it becomes apparent what's going on? If you guessed yes – guess again! They don't care! The transaction happened – you PAY!

Not So With a Third Party Merchant Account!

Now, I can't actually vouch all third party merchant accounts. And, I'll be honest and tell you that, in two years, I went through four of them that didn't work out. But, since then, I've had the same one - and it works beautifully.

They check for fraud! They have people on staff who do nothing else. If someone started running numbers through, they'd catch it in a flash. We do NOT pay for bad transactions!

They even send us a warning if the machine check flags a transaction., i.e., name doesn't match address, comes from a country known for fraud, etc. They warn us not to deliver until they have checked it out, always within 24 hours – usually much faster.

Now, it's true – they deposit money into my bank account once a week, rather than every day. But, so what? Do I need it every day? Nope. And, for all this protection, I pay less than half what I would pay for a merchant account that gives me no protection whatsoever!

And, last, but certainly not least, the third party merchant account company takes care of all Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) requirements. I never have to lift a finger!

So, while I watch many of my good friends online pulling their hair out, paying for fraudulent transactions, paying for the scumbags to check credit card numbers, so they can look "professional" - I rest well at night. I'm also protecting my business, my reputation, and my money!

Sometimes, it just pays to outsource certain services! And, your merchant account is one of them!

Yes, I will tell you which third party merchant account I use. Look here:

Article Copyrights

Creative Commons License
These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
To re-publish articles by jl scott from this site, please include the following byline - with live links - after each article you use.

-----> Begin

* dr. jl scott is the Founder of Chamber of Commerce - on the Web™ - and also the publisher of the Online Business Trade Journal™ - the blog that keeps you up to date with online business coming of age. Visit:

-----> End

Syndicate content

C of C Solutions Web Hosting
"Web Hosting for Online Business Sites"