A Direct Mail Merchant is a merchant that submits actual sales drafts for payment through the mail for their eventual payment or settlement. They are sometimes referred to as a “paper merchant.” A sales draft ticket reveals an obligation on the cardholder’s part to pay the proper amount of money – or the sales amount – for a purchase to a credit card issuing institution. This draft is a legal and binding contract between a merchant and a customer. This ticket is the actual piece of paper that is signed by a customer upon the completion of a live sales transaction when making a purchase. Sales draft data can be captured electronically – such as rendered through an electronic signature capture device found in most retail settings today – and sent to be processed over telephone lines or other media lines, such as DSL. However, in the case of a Direct Mail Merchant, the data, of course, is sent as a hardcopy.
Every sales transaction must include an authorization and a deposit, and ordered as such. Usually, in a traditional in-person retail setting, the authorization and deposit are handled as a single sales transaction together. In the course of a mail order or other methods that prevent the swiping of a credit card during a transaction, the deposit may arrive hours or even days after the authorization, and is timed to the delivery of the goods or services provided.
The following is required information indicated on traditional hand-rendered or electronic credit card sales drafts: The credit card number, which is recorded from the card’s magnetic stripe or imprinted; authorization and reference numbers; signature of customer; the card’s expiration date; date of sale; amount of sale, including tax description of goods/services.
Direct Mail Merchant is not to be confused for a merchant who uses Direct Mail – also known as junk mail, advertising mail or admail – which is the delivery of advertising material to recipients of postal mail. While it is the goal of direct mail to render eventual sales from new clients with ads that offer discounts, new goods and services, no sales transaction and sales draft results from the actual action.