The answers to 10 key questions give merchants the education to better understand their merchant statements. With that knowledge, merchants realize they can negotiate the terms of the merchant processing contracts to improve their arrangement and often reduce costs. They realize that downgrades and chargebacks can be reduced. Policies may need to be added so that managers and employees become part of the process to reduce costs and avoid errors. Merchants can learn a great deal from their merchant statements, treating regular monthly evaluation as an opportunity to screen for internal and external fraud at its earliest stages. Several key ratios derived from statements and calculations generate benchmarks to interpret. Assessment will most often lead to several action items to improve a business' outlook from both financial and risk management standpoints.