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Merchant Services FAQs

Getting Started

What is a merchant account?

A Wells Fargo Merchant Services account enables you to process credit cards, debit cards, and electronic check transactions. These payment methods are convenient for your customers, and give you access to your funds as soon as the next business day when you settle into a Wells Fargo business deposit account. Or you can settle your Merchant Services funds to an account with another financial institution.

Why do I have to fill out an application? Why do you have to check my credit?

We ask merchants to complete an application so we can obtain information to assess the risk level that your business or organization may have when processing card payments. We review your credit as part of this assessment process.

Can internationally-based merchants open a merchant account?

No. Merchants physically located outside of the U.S. cannot process transactions with a Wells Fargo Merchant Services account. Currently, only merchants with a physical business address in the U.S. may process transactions with a Wells Fargo Merchant Services account.

What kind of credit and debit cards can I accept?

Common cards you can accept are Visa®, Mastercard®, Discover®, American Express®, and JCB. American Express and JCB are subject to processing network approval.

I am opening another business location and would like to accept credit and debit cards. What do I do next?

  • If the legal ownership of the new store is the same as your existing merchant account with us, and it is also the same type of business, we can open an additional location under your current merchant account unless you are opening an e-commerce/online location. 
  • If the business type of your new store is different, you will need to set up a new merchant account for the new location.

If you are planning to open another location or need assistance, please contact our Wells Fargo Merchant Services Customer Service representatives at 1-800-451-5817.

I want to accept a different card type than Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. How do I accept other types of cards such as JCB, China Union Pay, etc.?

Please refer to the directions below for the preferred card type you wish to accept. If you have additional questions, please contact our Wells Fargo Merchant Services Customer Service representatives at the number provided on your statement.

  • JCB requires an entitlement number. If you do not have an entitlement number assigned by JCB, please contact them directly.
  • For other card types not mentioned please contact us at 1-800-451-5817 for more details.


When will my equipment arrive?

New devices or equipment purchased through Merchant Services may be shipped by overnight delivery on the next business day following the approval of your new merchant account.

Will the equipment be programmed and tested?

Yes, new equipment is shipped programmed and tested.

Fees and pricing

What are interchange charges?

These are the variable fees charged by the payment networks for processing transactions. Wells Fargo pays these fees on its customers' behalf, directly to issuing banks (the companies that issue payment cards to your customers) and the payment networks, such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express, in compensation for facilitating the exchange of information and funds between your bank and your customers’ banks. Factors that affect interchange charges include card type, information contained in the transaction, and how/when the transaction was processed. Depending on how you are priced, interchange charges may or may not appear on your merchant statement.

What are service charges?

Service charges are the amounts charged to authorize, process and settle card transactions. The service charges you pay are determined by a variety of factors such as:

  • Your payment processing methods (face-to-face with your customers, online, by phone or mail)
  • The types of cards your customers use to pay you

Service charges may appear under either the Fees or Service Charges section on your merchant statement.

What are monthly service charges?

A monthly service fee charge covers reporting and analytics, 24/7 support, advanced risk and fraud monitoring, and may include dispute management and payment gateway access.

How are my fees collected?

The fees are collected monthly by an automatic deduction from the checking or savings account you specified.

Transaction process

How does the card payment process work?

Here is how the card payment process works:

  1. Customer places an order with the merchant.
  2. Merchant submits the order/transaction via their payment/point-of-sale system (POS such as a terminal, cash register, payment gateway, software). The system forwards the payment authorization request to the card issuing bank to verify the customer’s card account and funds availability.
  3. The authorization (or decline) response is returned via the system to the merchant. This process typically averages around three seconds.
  4. Upon receipt of the payment authorization, the merchant fulfills the customer's order.
  5. Merchant then "settles the batch" of transactions through their POS system. The POS system requests from the merchant's processor to get a group or "batch" of authorized settled transactions. The Processor credits the funds to the merchant's account. POS systems are set up to automatically batch transactions each day. Alternatively they can be set for manual batching, which requires the merchant to close their batch of transactions on a regular basis.
  6. Wells Fargo deposits transaction funds into the merchant's deposit account. When settling to a Wells Fargo business deposit account, funds are available as soon as the next business day.

What is an authorization?

An authorization confirms that the cardholder number is valid for an approval on a sale amount. Approval of an authorization request by the issuing bank is confirmation that the cardholder has funds available to make the purchase. It is not a guarantee of payment.

What information is included on my statement?

Your statement will include a summary of your transaction processing information received, processed, and funded to your checking account. The statement can be used to determine if the deposits and funding records balance back to your internal business reporting. The recap statement is used for merchants with multiple locations. Learn more about how to read your statement in our Guide to Processing Card Payments (PDF).

E-commerce processing

What is a payment gateway and how does it work?

The payment gateway is a link between your website (or the website hosting your goods or services) and your payment processor (Wells Fargo). When your customer makes an online purchase, the information from your website must be sent through a payment gateway to obtain an authorization and for a payment card transaction to be completed.

Payment gateways work with a variety of e-commerce service providers such as shopping carts and digital wallets. Wells Fargo offers e-commerce processing through®, a Visa solution. You will need to agree to additional terms and conditions with for these services.

Why do I have to post a refund/service return policy?

We want to make sure your customers understand fully the product/service they're purchasing and any courses of action should they be unhappy with their purchase. By including your refund/service return policy on your website, you help reduce the likelihood of disputes from your customers. Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express also require a refund/service return policy.

I already have a shopping cart. Why do I need a payment gateway?

The shopping cart collects items from your customer, adds up the item's costs, calculates taxes and shipping costs, and provides a total amount to the customer. A payment gateway's function is to collect the purchaser's name, address, credit card number, and expiration date. The payment gateway securely sends this information and verifies that the purchaser has enough funds in their account at that time to pay for products ordered.

Can I manually process transactions?

Yes. You can manually process transactions with the virtual terminal feature included in all gateways offered by Wells Fargo Merchant Services.

Virtual terminal

What is a virtual terminal?

For merchants looking for an alternative way to start taking payments, a virtual terminal enables you to take payments by manually keying card information into a secure site via a web browser on your own device. No development work or special equipment needed.

Does a virtual terminal check AVS or CVV on the authorization?

Not automatically. Merchants must initiate Address Verification Service (AVS) checks and ask customers for their Card Verification Value (CVV), Credit Card Validation (CCV), Card Verification Value2 (CVV2), etc. values.

Can you import or export transaction data with a virtual terminal?

You cannot import or export transaction data with a virtual terminal; however, some gateways have the ability to upload transactions in batches for processing or download batch transaction reporting.

What is a virtual point of sale?

A virtual POS is a browser-based application (like a virtual terminal) that is paired with a card reader to process in-person payments. Depending on your card reader’s capabilities and type of card, a virtual POS allows you to accept card payments by dipping, tapping, or swiping the card. If the card reader cannot read the card’s chip or magnetic stripe, you can manually enter the transaction data into the virtual POS application.

Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards

What are the PCI Data Security Standards?

The PCI Data Security Standards are payment card network (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express) and industry mandated requirements for handling of credit card information, classification of merchants, and validation of merchant compliance. Merchants are responsible for the security of cardholder data and must be careful not to store certain types of data on their systems or the systems of their third party service providers. Merchants are also responsible for any damages or liability that may occur as a result of a data security breach or other non-compliance with the PCI Data Security Standards. The information security principles contained within these standards are based on ISO 17799, the internationally-recognized standard for information security practices.

Do I need to comply with PCI Data Security Standards?

Yes. The program encompasses all merchants and third-party service providers that store, process, or transmit cardholder data.

What are the benefits of being in compliance with the PCI Data Security Standards?

It is good business practice to adhere to the PCI Data Security Standards and protect cardholder information. Additionally, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover may impose fines on their member banking institutions when merchants do not comply with PCI Data Security Standards. You are contractually obligated to indemnify and reimburse us, as your acquirer, for such fines. Please note such fines could be significant, especially if your business is compromised and you have not been validated as compliant.

What is cardholder data?

Cardholder data is any personally identifiable data associated with a cardholder. This could be an account number, expiration date, name, address, social security number, etc. The PCI Data Security Standards apply to all cardholder data stored, processed, or transmitted.

What is a Compliance Classification Level and how is a merchant’s compliance classification level determined?

A merchant's Compliance Classification Level is determined by annual transaction volume. The volume calculation done for you will be based on the gross number of Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover transactions processed through your merchant account. It is important to note that the PCI level is based on the annual transaction volume for one card brand. A PCI level is not determined by combining the transaction volume of different card brands.

What is an IP-based POS environment?

The point-of-sale (POS) environment is the environment in which a transaction takes place at a merchant location (e.g., retail store, restaurant, hotel property, gas station, supermarket, or other point-of-sale location). An Internet protocol (IP)-based POS environment is one in which transactions are stored, processed, or transmitted on IP-based systems, or systems communicating via transmission control protocol (TCP).

Could my compliance requirements change?

Yes. As your transaction volume changes, as your payment solution changes, and as payment network and industry rules change, your compliance requirements may change. It is your responsibility to be continuously aware of the data security requirements that currently apply to you.

Data store protocol

What rules apply if a merchant does not store cardholder data?

If a merchant does not store cardholder data, the PCI Data Security Standards still apply to the environment that transmits or processes cardholder data. This includes any service providers that a merchant uses.

Compliance assessment

What is a self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ)?

The PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire is available for download on the PCI Data Security Standards Council website. If a business chooses to enroll with one of the PCI Security Standards Council Qualified Security Assessors to perform the system perimeter scan, they may complete the approved assessor's Compliance Questionnaire in lieu of the version posted on the PCI Council website.

What is an external vulnerability scan?

An external vulnerability scan involves an automated tool that checks a merchant's or service provider's systems for vulnerabilities. The tool will conduct a non-intrusive scan to remotely review networks and Web applications based on the external-facing Internet protocol (IP) addresses provided by the merchant or service provider. The scan will identify vulnerabilities in operating systems, services, and devices that could be used by hackers to target the company's private network. The tool will not require the merchant or service provider to install any software on their systems, and it will not perform any denial-of-service attacks.

Who needs to conduct an an external vulnerability scan?

The external vulnerability scan is applicable to all merchants and service providers with external-facing IP addresses. Even if an entity does not offer Web-based transactions, there are other services that make systems Internet accessible. Basic functions such as e-mail and employee Internet access will result in the Internet-accessibility of a company's network. These paths to and from the Internet can provide unprotected pathways into merchant and service provider systems if not properly controlled. If a merchant or service provider does not have any external-facing IP addresses, they will only be required to complete the Report On Compliance or the Self Assessment Questionnaire, as applicable.

Is the merchant responsible for compliance if they have outsourced the storage, processing, or transmission of cardholder data to a service provider?

Merchants should deal only with PCI Data Security Standards-compliant service providers. If there are service providers handling cardholder data on a merchant's behalf, the merchant is still responsible for the security of this data and must ensure that contracts with these service providers specifically include PCI Data Security Standards compliance as a condition of business. Per payment network rules, you must inform Wells Fargo if you are using a service provider. Click on this link for a list of PCI Compliant Service Providers.

Do merchants need to include their service providers in the scope of their PCI Data Security Standards review?

Yes. Merchants are responsible for the compliance of their service providers.

Penalties for non-compliance

Are there fines associated with non-compliance of the PCI Data Security Standards?

Yes. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover may impose fines on their member banking institutions when merchants do not comply with PCI Data Security Standards. You are contractually obligated to indemnify and reimburse us, as your acquirer, for such fines. Please note such fines could be significant.

Are there fines if cardholder data is compromised?

Yes. If cardholder data that you are responsible for is compromised, you may be subject to fines and other liabilities, including the following:

  • Potential fines (at the discretion of Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, or other card companies).
  • All fraud losses incurred from the use of the compromised account numbers from the date of compromise forward. 
  • Cost of re-issuing cards associated with the compromise.
  • Cost of any additional fraud prevention/detection activities required by the payment networks (i.e. a forensic audit) or costs incurred by credit card issuers associated with the compromise (i.e. additional monitoring of system for fraudulent activity).
  • Monthly non-compliance fines.

Other PCI compliance resources

Where can I go online to get more information?

For information on payment card network and industry cardholder information security programs, please visit the following websites on a regular basis:

Who can I speak to if I have questions?

If you have questions, please contact our Wells Fargo Merchant Services Customer Service representatives at 1-800-451-5817.

Chip card technology

What is the customer experience when they pay with a chip card?

For card present or in-person payments, when a customer presents a chip card, the merchant asks them to insert it into the slot in the PIN pad or terminal, or tap if the card supports contactless payments. The terminal guides the customer through the process. The customer will be prompted to authorize the amount, and may be prompted to enter their PIN or provide a signature. The chip card must remain inserted in the slot through the entire transaction. If it is removed too soon, the transaction will be cancelled.

What does the payment experience look like for restaurants and other merchants that accept tips?

Accepting tips from a chip card may vary depending on a merchant’s point of sale. For example, wireless point-of-sale solutions can simplify the payment process for restaurants since a server can take a wireless chip compatible terminal to the table to collect payment and tip from the customer.

Wells Fargo offers POS solutions that cater to restaurants and allow a merchant to capture tips, table mapping, etc.

Once I upgrade my terminal equipment to accept chip cards, will I be able to accept and process chip card transactions? Will I be able to accept magnetic stripe cards?

Depending on your POS device, your terminal can assist you in dip, tap, swipe or even keying in a card for payment.

Occasionally you may come across a damaged chip, or a chip card that is not ready to be used. In these scenarios, the chip card terminal or PIN pad may prompt you to swipe the card. The transaction will be processed as a magnetic stripe transaction, and if the card issuer approves the transaction, the issuer is liable for any chip card-related fraud.

Once you have upgraded your terminal equipment with both chip compatible hardware and software, it is important to:

  • Closely monitor your chip card transactions
  • Ensure that staff are properly trained on merchant acceptance procedures for chip cards

Contact Wells Fargo Merchant Services Customer Service at 1-800-451-5817 or your Wells Fargo Merchant Services specialist immediately for a replacement device and to avoid any related fraud chargebacks to your account if:

  • Your currently chip compatible terminal or PIN pad suddenly stops allowing you to insert chip cards. This indicates a hardware malfunction. 
  • You realize you are processing all chip cards as swipe transactions.

We’re here to help you upgrade your equipment to accept and process chip cards transactions. Get a quote, or call us at 1-866-380-9828, Monday – Friday, 6:00 am - 6:00 pm, Pacific Time, and Saturday, 6:00 am - 3:00 pm Pacific Time. 

Already a Wells Fargo Merchant Services customer? Call 1-800-451-5817 or contact your Wells Fargo Merchant Services specialist.

Business Track®

How do I obtain access to the Business Track portal?

If you aren’t already enrolled in Business Track, you can self-enroll at any time by following these steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Under Create An Account, click Enroll.
  3. Select Sign up with your Merchant Account.
  4. Fill in all information designated as required and click Create Account.
  5. A screen will display approval status:
  • If you are automatically approved, an onscreen approval message will appear. You’ll also receive 2 separate emails. The first email will contain user ID. The second email will contain a temporary password. Complete temporary password change and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
    • Click Continue To Login.
    • On the Business Track Homepage chose Merchant Login and enter user ID and temporary password.
    • Change temporary password and click submit and then click Continue to Login
    • On the Business Track Homepage choose Merchant Login and re-enter user id and newly created password and click sign in
    • You will receive a MFA security code via email. Enter the security code on the Verify Security Code screen and click submit
    • Review the terms and conditions, select accept if you wish to continue to the Business Track portal
  • If you are not automatically approved, Please check the Merchant Account details and re-submit or contact Customer Service to confirm your Merchant Account Details.

Who do I contact if I have trouble enrolling in or signing on to the Business Track portal?

For Business Track or the enrollment process

Please call the Business Track Help Desk at 1-800-285-3978, Monday - Friday, 8:00 am - 10:00 pm, Eastern Time.

For your merchant account

Please call Customer Service at 1-800-451-5817.

What if I forget my user ID or password?

If you've forgotten your user id, go to

  • Select "Merchant Login"
  • Then select "Having trouble signing in?", this will then take you to the next page where you can select "Forgot User ID"

If you've forgotten your password, go to

  • Select "Merchant Login"
  • Then select "Having trouble signing in?" to initiate the Self-service password reset process
  • Enter user ID and submit
  • You'll receive a MFA security code via email. Enter the security code on the Verify Security Code screen and click submit
  • On the Password reset screen, create a new password and submit

Will my password expire?

Yes, passwords expire every 180 days. You will be prompted the first time you sign on after 180 days to change your password. You will not be able to access the Business Track portal until you have changed your password.

What happens if I do not sign on to Business Track for an extended period of time?

In order to retain your access to the Business Track portal, you must sign on at least once every 180 days. After 180 days of inactivity your user ID will be disabled and you will need to update your password, but it will remain in the Business Track system for up to 18 months. If you reset your password within the 18 month period, your user ID will become active again. If you do not reactivate within 18 months, your user ID will be deleted and you will need to re-enroll. This is to help protect your account information from any unauthorized access.

Where can I update my email address associated with my user ID?

You can click on User Preferences to access the drop-down menu and select "Update User Profile" to update your email address.

Digital wallet payments

How can I accept digital wallet payments like Apple Pay®?

Businesses that accept contactless payments can accept digital payments such as Apple Pay, Google PayTM, and Samsung Pay®. To accept digital wallet payments — also known as digital payments or digital wallets — at the point of sale, a terminal enabled with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is required.

Additionally, payment gateways can also integrate digital wallet acceptance with your website for card not present payments.

Merchants with questions about their terminals or payment gateway's capability to accept digital payments can contact Wells Fargo Merchant Services at 1-800-451-5817.

Will merchants be charged a higher rate for transactions made through digital wallets?

If the cardholder is making a contactless payment directly on the POS terminal it will be treated as a card present transaction.

Merchants with questions should contact Wells Fargo Merchant Services Customer Service at 1-800-451-5817 or their Wells Fargo Merchant Services specialist if they have additional questions.

How can merchants let customers know they accept payments from Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay?

Many customers may already be familiar with the universal contactless acceptance symbol. This symbol usually appears on the front of a merchant’s contactless capable terminal or peripheral.

In addition, Apple, Google and Samsung have made stickers available for merchants to display at the point of sale.

Contactless symbol shows a hand holding a chip over the indicator inside an oval outline.

Which cards can be added to a digital wallet?

Eligible Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express cards can be used with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

What is a contactless payment?

Contactless payments are transactions that use chip-based technology and require no physical connection between the payment device (a card or mobile device) and the physical merchant terminal.

What is NFC technology?

Near-field Communication (NFC) technology enables devices in close proximity to communicate. Payment transactions using NFC technology require a contactless merchant terminal and an NFC-enabled mobile device.

Who provides the customer service for merchants wanting to accept digital wallet payments?

Wells Fargo Merchant Services customers can call 1-800-451-5817 if they have additional questions about accepting these payment technologies, or they can call their Wells Fargo Merchant Services specialist.