What Should You Know About Merchants Bank EMV Chip Credit Cards?

Merchants Bank, credit card

What is an EMV chip card?

The term “EMV” stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa – the original developers of chip cards. These cards increase the security of in-person transactions by generating a one-time use code that can only be read by a register enabled to read chip cards. The code is created from the small chip on the front of your card and is hard to counterfeit, which prevents fraud.

How do I know if I have a chip card?

If you have a chip card, you will notice a small chip icon on the front of the card. At this time, Merchants Bank Visa Credit Cards offer EMV chip technology and have the chip icon. If you are a current Merchants Bank Visa Credit Card cardholder, your EMV chip card will be sent to you upon expiration of your current card. New cardholders will be issued a chip card upon credit approval.

Is paying with a chip card different from paying with my other cards?

Yes, making a payment with a chip card is slightly different than the card transactions you are used to. Instead of swiping your card at the register, you’ll simply follow these instructions:


Step 1: Insert the chip end of your card into the terminal with the chip facing up.

Step 2: Keep the card in the terminal during the transaction and follow the prompts on the screen.

Step 2: Keep the card in the terminal during the transaction and follow the prompts on the screen.

Step 3: Take your card when prompted. It’s that easy!

Step 3: Take your card when prompted. It’s that easy!












Do all stores accept EMV chip cards?

Not yet, but the trend is growing and if a store does not yet accept chip cards, you can still swipe your card to pay.

What happens if I swipe my EMV chip card instead of inserting it into the register?

The terminal will display a message asking you to insert your card instead.

To learn more about EMV chip technology, contact the Customer Service Representative at your local Merchants Bank.

If you are a business and would like to accept cards, or have a terminal that does not currently accept EMV chip cards, contact our Credit Card department.

Credit cards are subject to credit approval.


Do You Use Your Personal Credit Card for Business Expenses?

Business credit cards at Merchants BankWhile you may be tempted to use your personal credit card when paying for business expenses, it’s important to consider the risks you’re taking if you do. Plus, there are benefits to your business using a dedicated business credit card.

Here’s why it’s important to apply for a business credit card:

1. Minimize risk. While it may seem harmless to use a personal card for business expenses, you never know when you’re going to need to prove the difference between a purchase for yourself and a purchase for your business. Why blur the line?

Consider using one card solely for business expenses to keep from mixing personal and business purchases. In addition, mixing personal and business credit can harm your personal credit score, if your business is unable to pay off future debts.

2. Make things easier for your staff or accountant. Having dedicated business credit cards for yourself or other staff members helps you track business expenses more accurately. With a Merchants Bank Visa Business Credit Card, your employees can even have separate statements to make tracking even easier.

Plus, with a dedicated business credit card, you won’t be placing personal and business purchases on the same card, which can cause extra work for those handling the company finances.

3. Build credit. If you have plans to expand your business in the future, your business will need to be credit worthy. You can build credit for your business in a number of ways. A good first step is to open a basic business deposit account, like checking or savings, and apply for a business credit card. With these accounts, you can build a credit history of on time or early payments – much like you’ve done with your personal credit – which will be viewed favorably by potential lenders.

4. Credit card term advantages. Typically your business credit card will allow a higher credit limit and you may be able to get a better rate than a personal credit card. Be sure to read all the terms associated with the business credit cards you are researching to accurately compare your options.

Contact us today to learn more about business credit cards for your business.

Credit cards are subject to credit approval.

Back to School Shopping for Your Student? Reward Yourself

ScoreMore rewards for back to school shopping$630.36. That’s the average amount a family with children in grades K-12 plans to spend on back to school expenses this fall, according to the National Retail Federation’s Back-to-School Spending Survey. In total, spending for K-12 and college is expected to reach $68 billion.¹

Considering the high price tag associated with back to school shopping, using a credit card that accumulates rewards points may be beneficial. If it makes financial sense for your family, why not get rewarded for the money you spend on school supplies, electronics, clothes and more for your student? Here’s how:

Choose the Best Rewards Card for You

Determining how you prefer to earn points and what you would like to redeem for your points will help you choose the right card.

For example, with the Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard Credit Card, you earn one point for every² dollar you spend. Spend $1,000 and earn 1,000 points³. Points can be redeemed for airline flights, car rentals, merchandise and much more at scorecardrewards.com.

Take Advantage of Special Earnings or Points Offers

Once you’ve determined which credit card you’d like to use for back to school shopping for your student, research if that card provides special earnings or bonus points during the back to school shopping season. To find current information, you’ll want to check with your card issuer.

Through the ScoreMore program at Merchants Bank, you can earn bonus points year round with our Visa Scorecard Credit Card. If you have our ScoreCard Credit Card, you are automatically enrolled in ScoreMore and there are thousands of participating retailers to choose from. Simply active bonus points online at www.scorecardrewards.com, make your purchase at the participating retailor, and earn bonus points automatically. You can earn anywhere from double to quadruple or more the points on your purchases.

Be sure to do your homework before applying for or using a rewards credit card. For more information on Visa Credit Cards at Merchants Bank, visit our website.



Credit cards are subject to credit approval
²Every net retail dollar spent earns rewards points. Cash advances, finance charges and fees do not qualify for points.
³Points are rounded up or down based on the transaction amount. For example, a transaction of $150.52 would equal 151 points.

Credit Card Processing is “Quick, Concise and Thorough”

Merchants Bank, Credit Card Processing

David Wilson, President of Winona Golf & Dining.

That’s how David Wilson, President of Winona Golf & Dining, describes his experience with Merchants Bank and merchant processing to take care of credit and debit card transactions at the expanding business, which includes Signatures Restaurant, The Grill at Signatures, Visions Event Center and The Bridges golf course.

Looking to the future

The experience has been so good that Winona Golf & Dining and Merchants are partnering to offer mobile card processing, allowing golfers to use credit cards or debit cards to quickly pay for beverages while on the golf course.

“We are working together so we can enhance the experience for our guests and so Merchants can bring something new to its customers. It would have been easy to say ‘we don’t have that,’ but instead the response we received was ‘let’s see how we can make that happen.’”

David’s advice

“If you’re looking to do anything with a financial institution, don’t do it before you first check with Merchants Bank. I’ve worked with people at all levels of the organization. Everyone goes out of their way to make sure that their customers are truly taken care of. That’s what we try to do too.”

Visit our website to learn more about credit card processing for your business.

Loans are subject to credit approval.

Which Rewards Card is Right for You?


Rewards credit cards offer so many features and benefits that it may be difficult to determine which one – if any – is best for you. If you’re looking to maximize the rewards offered by your credit card(s), here’s a primer to help you choose the best card for your lifestyle.

How do rewards work?

It’s simple: the more money you spend, the more rewards you earn. The catch is choosing a card that offers the type of rewards that will benefit you the most.

What types of rewards are offered?

Determining whether you prefer to have cash back or points to redeem for merchandise or travel will help you choose the right card for you.

  • Cash back – Earn cash back for every dollar you spend. For example, with the Merchants Bank Visa Platinum Cash Back Card, you would earn a certain percentage, up to 1%, based on the cumulative purchases made that calendar year (click here to see specific percentages – link). The cash you earn is credited to your credit card balance each year on November 15.
  • Rewards points – Earn points for every* net dollar you spend. For example, with the Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard Credit Card, you earn one point for every* dollar you spend. Spend $1,000 and earn 1,000 points**. Points can be redeemed for airline flights, car rentals, merchandise and much more.

What else should I know?

Before you apply for a rewards credit card, ask these questions:

  • Do my points expire?
    Rewards points may expire if they are not used. Make sure to shop around to find a points expiration timeframe that makes sense for your spending habits. Points for the Merchants Bank Visa ScoreCard Credit Card don’t expire for five years.
  • How do I redeem my points or receive my cash back?
    Make sure that it’s easy to check your points or cash back balance. For points rewards cards, you also want to review the process for redeeming your points. On Merchants Bank Credit Cards, your current points and cash back balance are available on mycardstatement.com. Points can be redeemed through scorecardrewards.com, both available through the Merchants Bank website.
  • Is there an annual fee?
    Some rewards cards charge an annual fee. Research if the charge can be offset by the value of your rewards benefits or waived completely by spending a certain amount in a month or year. Merchants Bank only charges an annual fee for the Visa Platinum Cash Back Card ($30/year).

Searching for the right card? One of our credit card options may be right for you. Click here to learn more or apply online.

Credit cards are subject to credit approval
*Every net retail dollar spent earns rewards points. Cash advances, finance charges and fees do not qualify for points.
** Points are rounded up or down based on the transaction amount. For example, a transaction of $150.52 would equal 151 points.

Meet Deb Kemp, Credit Card Manager at Merchants

Deb and her husband, Sam

Deb and her husband, Sam

How long have you been with Merchants?

Deb: I’ve been here 23 years. Originally, I was hired to help with customer data clean up and sat next to the person in charge of Premier Club (now Events and Adventures). I’ve worked in a lot of different areas of the bank including Premier Club, Loan Servicing and as a Lending Assistant. In 2001, I started working in Credit Cards. I’ve worked in banking all my life. It’s all I know how to do! It all started when I was in high school and worked as a part-time Proof Operator.

What is your top banking tip?

Deb: Paying your bills on time helps keep your credit score up. You don’t want to wreck your credit score…it takes longer to fix a bad score than establish a good credit score. If you don’t have a credit score, a credit card is a good way to establish credit.

What’s one thing your mom or dad taught you about money?

Deb: My mom was very frugal and she didn’t waste money. I remember when graham crackers were kept in our oven because they were a treat. She was really budget conscious and taught me to think about my purchases. When I’m in a store, I ask myself if I really need something. Sometimes I even leave the store, walk around and come back to the store to give myself enough time to decide if I really wanted something.

If you won the Powerball (currently estimated at $194 million) what’s the first thing you would buy?

Deb: I would buy a new boat. Our boat broke this year and we go fishing as much as possible…so we really need a new boat. I would also take flying lessons and travel a lot.

Besides money, what’s your favorite green thing?

Deb: Plants. I have probably about 50 house plants – really! I also like spinach.

Click here to learn more about Credit Cards at Merchants Bank. Credit cards are subject to credit approval.

Collect Payments for Your Business with our Tools for Collection

Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.comWould you like to better manage your businesses money and make it work harder. With three areas of focus – Tools for Collection, Tools for Disbursement and Tools for Management – Merchants Bank’s Cash Management area – what some banks call Treasury Management – is worth exploring.

Learn more about Tools for Collection:

Credit Card Processing – Make it easier for your customers to shop with more payment options when you accept Visa, MasterCard or Discover debit, credit and gift cards in person, through your website or via mobile. Subject to credit approval.

Direct Debit – Use Direct Debit to collect funds from your customers. A customer payments is automatically withdrawn from the customer account at the beginning of the bank business on the day authorized and then deposited into your account. Subject to credit approval.

Cash Concentration – Using Merchants Bank Online Banking, you can bring cash from multiple accounts and other banks together into a central account so you can better manage it and put it to work for you. Subject to credit approval.

Deposit-On-Demand – Reduce your time running to the bank by converting paper checks into an image and transmitting the images to the Bank for deposit from the comfort of your office.

For more information on Cash Management services, visit our website.