What is a Merchant Account
The merchant account is what allows your business to process credit cards, debit cards, or electronic checks. Tan-Link works with a variety of merchants, however certain features are only available on certain gateways. We recommend an account with Payment Launch. It's a one stop shop to get your merchant account with a proper competitive analysis, and includes everything you will need for full functionality in Tan-Link. Read the article on merchant rates by searching for 'credit card rates'.
Contact John Toston at (727) 420-2198 or email@example.com
What is a Gateway?
A gateway is what connects your tanning salon software (Tan-Link and others) to your merchant account. This is also where your 'card tokens' (described later) are stored.
Different gateways provide different functionality. Tan-Link primarily uses Authorize.net gateway, but has the ability to work with most other gateways (see the list of supported gateways). This means that if your tokenized cards are stored with any of these gateways, you can migrate to Tan-Link and continue charging those tokenized cards exactly like you were before.
What is a token, what is tokenized data, how are credit cards stored?
Due to PCI compliance and card data protection, actual credit card numbers cannot be stored in plain view. This way if the data gets stolen, the card numbers are not visible.
So instead of storing credit card numbers, software providers store a 'token' for each card. This token is just a number (for example '87564954759' could be a token number) that means nothing to anyone except to the gateway where the card number is stored behind that token.
To charge that card, we electronically provide the token to the gateway and request that the card behind that token be charged and they report whether it was charged successfully or not.
The benefit of this is approach is that if someone steals the token number, they cant do anything with it because the card behind it can only be charged from your merchant account and gateway. The number is useless to anyone except you.
The drawback is that you don't have the card number. So if you want to move to a different gateway, you cannot simply take the token and charge it from a different gateway. You must continue to charge that token from the original gateway and that account must remain open until you have no further use of those tokens.
When a customer comes in and updates their card on file, or through a past due text or email, that card is retokenized and stored in Authorize.net. Once all your previous customers have updated their cards, you can close your old gateway account as we have new tokens for the updated cards.
Note that you do not need a merchant account for each gateway. You can have many gateway accounts associated with your merchant account (as long as they are compatible).
When I switch to Tan-Link, what happens to my EFTs?
Your EFTs continue be charged through your existing gateway accounts, so there is no interruption with your billing. Tan-Link supports many gateways we can convert from, see the list of supported gateways.
What gateways can Tan-Link use the tokens from?
- Cashback/Bridgepay (typically with Helios)
- Slim CD (typically with Sunlync)
- Cayan (typically with Tan-Track)
- Vantiv (typically with Tan-Track)
- Merchant Warehouse
- Authorize.net (required)
- GMS (required for card updater)