08 September 2009

3 Helpful Tips for Companies with Bad Credit History in Applying for a Merchant Account

Even if you have a bad credit history or standing, you can still apply and be approved of a merchant account.  To increase your chance of being approved, you need to clear your bad credit records and look for merchant account providers that cater to companies with bad credit history.  In addition, you need to compare providers’ products, services, and specific guidelines regarding the credit and financial aspects.

In order to increase sales and improve profitability, you need to open a merchant account that enables you to accept credit card payments for your business.  However, if you have a bad credit history, you might find it hard to be approved of a merchant account because of the higher financial risks involved in providers, especially with regards to chargebacks and the proliferation of fraud.  To help you open a merchant account even with bad credit, consider the following useful tips:

Clear your bad credit records

To increase your chance of being approved for your merchant account application, you need to improve your credit standing.  There are certain credit information agencies that do the research and monitoring of credit standings, such as Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.  These bureaus are the sources of credit reports that merchant account providers use in evaluating their applicants.  Once your credit issues have been resolved and settled, you need to inform these institutions so that the bad credit record you have will be cleared, thus improving your credit standing and increasing your chance of being approved with your merchant account application.  If you are under the state of bankruptcy, you are required to wait for six months after being cleared of such condition before you can request these institutions to remove such credit information.

Look for merchant account providers that cater to companies with bad credit history

Some merchant account providers are more compliant with applicants that possess imperfect credit background as they understand that it is normal for companies to sometimes incur late payments as well as overdue debt and loan payments.  As long as these instances were not repeatedly or excessively listed in the credit report, some providers still allow you to set up a merchant account.  Just as long as you have not also been involved in serious cases of bad credit history, such as bankruptcy, you have a good chance of getting your business a merchant account.  Just look for these providers, without having the need to spend a lot of your time inquiring over merchant account providers known to be strict with credit history.  Banks, for example, are known to disapprove applicants with poor credit history as they are governed by more stringent measures concerning risk and fraud management.  Banks, being vital financial institutions, need to minimize the risk of having to incur more costs due to poor performing or fraudulent clients.  Merchant account providers, on the other hand, whose main business is to set up a merchant account, would always find a way to increase their sales and cater to the needs of their market, thus making them more compliant in approving applications.  Examples of these providers include National Merchant Bancard at Sunvirtual.com, Freeauthnet.com, and Total Merchant Services, among others.

Compare providers’ products, services, and specific guidelines regarding the credit and financial aspects

Always included in the process of choosing a merchant account provider is to make a comparison of their products, services, and costs.  Since you are opening a merchant account under a different condition, that is having an imperfect credit history, is it important to pay attention to certain costs that may differ among providers.  Chargeback costs and penalties may be higher in this case.  Aside from costs, providers may set a different condition in handling chargebacks.  Merchant account providers usually hold a certain amount in your merchant account in order to secure them of your payment in case the need for a chargeback arises and to avoid the proliferation of fraudulent activities.

To make things clear for you, when a chargeback takes place or when a need to refund an unsatisfied customer happens, the sum of money is taken from your merchant account.  In case you have insufficient funds in your account, the merchant account processors temporarily have the burden of refunding the customer, thus the need for additional chargeback fees aside from the cost involved in the processing of the chargeback.  Your due balance will then be collected when funds are already available in your account.  The risk comes in now, especially when it takes longer time for your company to cover the chargeback, affecting the financial operations of the merchant account provider.  Imagine their losses if many companies have insufficient funds in their merchant accounts.  To address this problem, merchant account providers settle for a hold amount in your merchant account to cover possible chargebacks.  The amount is said to be computed based on a certain percentage of your monthly sales and released in three to six months time.

As long as you do your part in correcting your bad credit history and you deal with the right merchant account provider that answers your needs, you can very well be approved of a merchant account.  Soon, you will be ready to accept credit cards and other electronic forms of payment that will help boost your business and make it more profitable.

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