A merchant account is an arrangement by means of which a customer’s credit card can be accepted and processed by a business for any purchases that are made. It is used for online and offline purchases. In an age where it is imperative to cash in on the customers’ desires as quickly as possible, a merchant account allows a business to accept credit cards so as to enable the business owners to benefit from impulse purchases. Not only this, there is no need to wait for a long time to get payments as in the case of a cheque payment.
The merchant account provider enables a speedy realization of money in as early as 3 days. All these benefits can be enjoyed by following a short and simple process of finding the right merchant account provider and signing up for the same.
In order to process the transactions through credit cards, one can choose to avail of the services provided by the merchant account provider directly or by a service provider who has an existing merchant account and will do the processing. If the choice is that of the latter, then the associated costs are also higher. In order to be accepted by the service provider, there are certain criteria that have to be met and satisfied by the business owners.
The most essential are ensuring the legality of the business and availability of the card processing services by any means, be it online, telephonic, email or directly handed over by the customer to the business owner. However, sometimes these are not enough to be accepted by the merchant account provider. One may need to show a good credit. Not just that, some service providers might even look for the business type one is associated with and what type of processing is required on the credit card.
Once all the conditions have impressed the service provider, the request for the merchant account will be accepted. A contract ensures accountability between the two parties involved- the business owner and the service provider.
To begin using the merchant account, one needs to have a checking account. Some service providers enable the business owner to create one at the time of signing up for their services, while others require the business owner to have a checking account ready. Some proof of identification is also necessary to ensure legitimacy of the business. This could be in the form of references or photos of the location of the business. Once this is done, the business owner can commence with the credit card transactions.
One can choose to accept cards through a swipe terminal. This is most useful if the business involves dealing with customers directly. This minimizes fraud and processing fees are also lower. For an online business, automation is of importance. Hence a service that allows processing that is real time is required.
For those businesses whose customers place orders over the telephone or through email, a website that allows secure, virtual transactions enable input of information and transactions. The options available are plenty, it is up to the business owner to make the right choice.