WT 422 What is your criteria

Warning! This week is a bit of a rant but it also holds a very important message for you if you have customers. 

For the past 5 or more years I’ve had a merchant facility with the nab bank and eWay to accept online payments and payment by credit card (and yes I am naming and shaming). Last month I was shocked to look at my statement that showed that I was being charged 3.32%, 7.14% and a whopping 14% on some credit cards for payments from my customers.

I rang eWay to enquire about the rates. “Oh, that’s not us. Those rates are set by the nab.”

I rang nab. “Oh, that’s not us. You’ll have to talk to eWay.”

I rang eWay again. “Oh yes, that’s because of the way the account was set up and nab sets the rates.”

“This is not helpful. What can I do about it?”

“We have an arrangement with Westpac that would be 1.9% +20c per transaction.”

“That sounds good. What do I need to do to set that up?”

“I’ll transfer you to a Westpac representative.”

The Westpac representative informed me that I had to open a business banking account with Westpac at a local branch, then I could apply for the merchant facility.

I spent two hours setting up the bank account. The banker called the Merchant team and I answered the questions for the merchant facility.

Less than 24 hours later my application was declined. There was no reason given.

The lady from the merchant team called me to ask if I had received the email telling me that it had been declined. At that point I hadn’t opened my emails, so you can imagine my surprise, disappointment and anger.

To be clear, I wasn’t that angry about being declined for the facility. There are a number of other options for taking payments. I was, however, extremely annoyed that this will now be added to my credit history and will affect future applications.

I questioned the lady as to why I was declined. Apparently it was bank policy not to disclose. I asked to speak to someone more senior. Again I was told it is bank policy not to disclose the reason. The only reason I can imagine is because my forecast revenue for online payments may have been lower than they want. Still no response.

I asked whom else I could complain to so they transferred me to the Complaints Department. All they did was “catch and pass”.  They listened to what I had to say then replied with, “I will have to refer this to the merchant department for them to investigate. This will take 7 business days.”


No-one would tell me the criteria for acceptance. No-one would tell me why my application was declined. (Just so you know, my credit score is extremely high, so that was unlikely to be the reason.)

A similar thing has been happening to the surveying industry with what used to be the Lands Department.

Land Registry Services (LRS) as it is now called, have a checklist that they use to assess applications for title. Up until now, they had not shared the checklist, so surveying firms could be penalised for something they didn’t know they had to do or not do. 

Here’s my point. If you want your customers to comply with your policies and procedures, doesn’t it make sense to let them know the criteria. 

If I had known the criteria for the application and found I wouldn’t meet it, I wouldn’t have applied.

Surveying firms would do the same with their applications. They would make sure that every application was assessed against the checklist BEFORE submitting it. 

Take a look at your business. Do you have qualifying criteria for any of your services or for taking on potential customers? 

If so, do you share this? 

And if not, why not? 

It’s the same with your team members’ role descriptions. If they know what they have to do to what standard, they can assess themselves and make sure they are doing things right.

This experience has certainly taught me to ask more questions and check the criteria.