24 July 2009

4 Basic Conditions in Getting a Merchant Account for New Businesses

Even if you are just starting your business, you can still be approved of a merchant account if you meet the conditions required by the merchant account provider.  You must be at least 18 years of age, you must be the owner of the business or an authorized representative of the corporation, and your products or services must pass their risk assessment test.  There are also certain personal and business documents you need to submit to some providers.

Setting up a merchant account has almost become a must for every business in order to accept credit card payments and increase sales.  You do not have to worry even if you are just starting your business.  You can be approved of a merchant account as long as you meet the requirements of the banks and other institutions.  The following are the basic conditions they will require from you:

You must be at least 18 years of age

When you are applying for a merchant account, you are also getting into a contract.  You need to be of legal age to go into contracts and therefore, must be at least 18 years old to apply for merchant account.

You must be the owner of the business or an authorized representative of the company

If your are the owner or the sole proprietor of the business, you must be the one applying for the merchant account.  If it is a partnership or a corporation, you need to be the authorized representative of the business in order to submit and complete the application.  It is just like in opening a simple business bank account, wherein you need to establish ownership of the business and authority over the account you are opening.

Your products or services must pass the processor's risk assessment test

Especially when applying for an offshore or international merchant account or applying in a bank, some institutions require businesses to undergo risk assessment test for security purposes.  The products and/or services of your business are evaluated whether low or high-risk.  Low risk businesses have no problem as long as the other requirements are met.  High risk businesses, on the other hand, such as gambling websites and those selling pornographic materials, will have a difficulty in applying for a merchant account.

You must be able to submit the required papers

To make sure that you are capable of opening a merchant account and that your business is legitimate, there are selected merchant account providers that require you to submit some of the following documents and IDs, depending on the institution:

  • Photocopies or scanned copies of valid IDs (passport, driver's license, etc.)
  • Federal Tax ID Number (for US corporations)
  • Social Security Number
  • Checking account (if you have any existing checking account)
  • Business documents (Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws, Business Permit, etc.)
  • Personal credit history (company credit history for existing businesses)
  • Projected sales volume
  • Existing website

Some providers offer you almost instant approval of merchant account applications without so much documentation requirements.  These institutions are usually those who limit their applicants to local residents only.  Examples are those who only cater to businesses within US, wherein they can easily verify the legitimacy of your business.  Be careful, though, when choosing the best merchant account provider as some may not last for very long and your business might be affected in the future.  Choose a provider that has good reputation, reasonable rates, and the best service to help you make a more profitable business.

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