29 June 2009

How to Set Up a Merchant Account

In order to set up a merchant account, a retailer should find and choose the ‘best’ merchant account provider that fits his business, apply for a merchant account and prove that his business can be able to meet the expectations of having a merchant account.

A merchant account is vital to any form of business, whether in a retail or online store, since many customers now opted to pay through their credit or debit cards because it is easier for them on that method of payment. Accepting credit or debit card payments increases customer base, provides hassle free transactions for both the retailer and customer, and increases business profits too.  Failing to do so will deprive you and especially your customers form the many benefits of no-cash transactions and online shopping.

Here’s how to set up a merchant account:

Search and choose a good and reliable merchant account provider

Finding a good account provider takes a lot of time because a wise retailer have to do some serious and in-depth research by looking at any account providers offering secure, reliable and credible services that definitely fits the business’ needs and especially the budget. A good account provider will give you the ability to accept major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard or American Express and other known credit cards. Choosing a reputable merchant account provider will guarantee you that you will have efficient and reliable services for your business in the course of time.

Apply for a merchant account

After choosing the ideal merchant account provider for your business, you need to submit a merchant account application that will suit your business’ needs and budget. You must need to read and understand all the terms, policies and conditions being applied to the merchant account before signing the agreement. An applicant must also know that setting up a merchant account is not for free. He must be aware of all the fees or charges that the account provider will ask for all the transactions or services it will do to your business such as the monthly minimum fee, authorization fee, statement fee, gateway fee, annual fee, customer service fee, batch fee, early termination fee, and the likes. If you don’t understand any of its terms, policies, rates or fees, better ask the agent assisting you in your application.

Prove that your business has good credentials

Merchant accounts do not get approved right away. The most challenging part that any merchant account applicant will face is getting their application approved by their chosen account provider. There are many factors that an account provider must look at and evaluate in the business such as the personal credit of the owner , products being sold,  business longevity, the financial strength of the business, the business’ monthly volume and transaction size, chargeback history, business plan, and return, exchange or refund policies. Applicants may need to pass some certificates or any documentation just to verify that their business is stable, credible and has good background and standing. When they do have very good ratings in these factors, it means that the retailer’s business is qualified to maintain a merchant account and the faster it is that the merchant account will be approved.

If your application is successful, applicants may have to wait for a few days. It depends on their chosen account provider though.  All credit or debit card transaction will be hold until the merchant account will finally be approved.

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