31 July 2009

6 Basic Requirements in Getting a Merchant Account Using Your DBA or Business Name for a More Profitable Business

In order to get a merchant account with your DBA, you need to do the following:  fill out an application form with both your DBA and legal business or corporate name,  submit certain business and identification papers, open a checking account, apply for a POS terminal or its equivalent payment gateway facility, acquire a website for online merchant account application, and you need to pay initial set up fees and monthly fees that go with the merchant account facility.

A DBA or “Doing Business As” is defined as a business name you can use other than your own name, which allows you to do transactions legally without having to set up another business entity.  To make your business more profitable and efficient, you need to accept credit card payments and encourage customer purchases through a merchant account.  To apply for a merchant account using your DBA, you need to accomplish the following general requirements providers usually ask from you:

Fill out an application form with both your DBA and legal business or corporate name

First and foremost, all merchant account applicants are required to fill up application forms.  In your application form, state both your DBA name and your sole proprietor, partnership or corporate name.  It is important for you to know, as well as your clients, that your legal business name will appear on statements and transaction receipts and not your DBA.

Submit necessary documents

It is a must for all merchant account applicants to be the owner of the business or an authorized representative of the corporation being applied for.   In order to prove that you are the owner of the business and your business is legal, you need to provide certain papers to your merchant account provider.  Examples of these documents are business permits, articles of incorporation for corporate DBAs, valid IDs, such as passports and driver’s license, as well your personal or corporate credit history, and social security number.  Additional documents may be required by certain merchant account providers to ensure further security.

Open a checking account

Your checking account is where your credit card proceeds will be directed.  If you are a sole proprietor, you can use your personal checking account if you have any.  If you have a corporate business, your checking account needs to be under your corporate name, not your DBA name.  If you are just starting your business and you have no checking account yet, your merchant account provider can provide you with a checking account.

Apply for a POS terminal or its equivalent payment gateway facility

When applying for a merchant account, you need to have a point-of sale (POS) terminal or the equivalent payment gateway facility for online retailers, which processes credit cards, debit cards, and other card payment options.  You will need this facility to process authorization of credit card purchases, as well as the reporting and billing of transactions to issuing banks until funds are transferred to your merchant account.

Acquire a website for online merchant account application

By now, you probably have a website that at least serves as your product or service catalog.  If you do not have one yet, you need to create it when applying for an online merchant account.  Providers will require you to have your own website where your customers can choose and pay for the items they want to purchase without having the need to direct them to another webpage, which can be of security issue to them.

Pay initial set up fees and monthly fees that go with the merchant account facility.

Whether applying using DBA or using business or corporate name with a certain provider, you are required to pay for the same fees.  These are the monthly minimum fee, monthly gateway fee, transaction fee, discount rate, among others.  If you have multiple DBAs using a single merchant account, it is usually the corporate name or legal business name to appear on your clients’ statements and your transaction receipts.  If you choose your DBA name to appear instead, your merchant account provider may require from you additional gateway fees.

The things you need to know when applying for a merchant account using your DBA do not differ much when using your corporate or legal business name.  To summarize, the difference only comes in the information you put in your application form, the checking account name to be used, and the business name to appear in your transaction slips and in your clients’ billing statements.

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