21 April 2010

5 Simple Steps in Getting a Merchant Account for a More Profitable Online Business

If you have an online business and you want to accept electronic payments, such as credit cards, debit cards, and echecks, through your website, you need an Internet-ready merchant account.  This special type of account is where the proceeds of your online payment sales are being forwarded before they are transferred to your bank account.  To get a merchant account, you need to canvass different merchant account providers; select one that best suits your needs; apply online; comply with the requirements; and wait for the setup.

To increase your online sales and your profitability, you need to widen your payment options and accept electronic payment forms such as credit and debit cards, and echecks.  To be able to this, you just need a few things set up on your website, as well other requirements, such as opening an Internet or ecommerce merchant account.  The following steps will guide you how to open a merchant account for your online business:

Canvass different merchant account providers

The first thing you need to do is look for merchant account providers.  The Internet can provide you with a lot of ecommerce merchant account companies, from banks to other institutions.  Just be mindful though, that there are scammers, especially those who present very low fees and too-good-to-be-true offers.  Look for signs that help you verify their legitimacy, such as memberships, affiliations, and accreditation.

In canvassing a merchant account provider, you need to compare their fees, their services, as well as their reputation in the industry

  • Fees.  The fees must be reasonable with the services they offer.  Research about the usual costs that go with setting up a merchant account as well as their nature.  Be careful with some companies as they offer very low introductory fees, but they tend to increase them in the coming years.  Do not hesitate to ask questions from their representative about the fees and their services.  Making queries is also a way to  evaluate the quality of customer service a company has.  Sooner or later, if you apply a merchant account with them, you are going to need their help.  It is important that they attend to your needs as promptly and as pleasantly as possible.

  • Services.  Other than the fees, another equally important factor to consider is the services that these providers offer.  Look for the basic features that a merchant account provider must have in order to serve their clients best.  Observe some value-added services they offer for free or with extra fee.  Furthermore, you need to look at how these companies provide innovative solutions and services to cope with the changing online business environment, especially with regards to security.

  • Reputation.  Every merchant account provider claims to be the best company.  So who do you choose?  The best thing you can do is check on the reputation of providers.  Websites such as merchantseek.com and merchantaccountforum.com can help you with this task by posting customer reviews of certain merchant account providers.  It is not enough to rely on what merchant account providers claim in their website, so you have to find out who among the providers are known to have great deals, services, and customer service.

Select one that best suit your needs

Once you have gathered possible providers for your online business, you have to choose one that best suits your needs.  For instance, if you want to accept other currencies for your online sales, you can opt for an offshore merchant account.  Another example is, if you are just starting out with your online business, you can choose a merchant account provider that offers only the basic services so you can save on costs.  In addition, find out how the services of each provider fit the needs of your business and choose which one does it best.

Apply online

After choosing your desired merchant account provider, you can already apply for an Internet merchant account online.  You just need to fl in some very important information required.  Just make sure that before you apply for a merchant account, you need to be at least 18 years old, to go into a contract.  You have to be the owner of the business you are applying for, too, or at least an authorized representative in case of a corporation.  Once you submit your application, the company will get back to you for assessment and further requirements.

Comply with the requirements

Merchant account providers usually require documents and IDs, such as Federal Tax Identification number for corporations, valid IDs like passport and driver's license, business documents, and credit history.  Some providers also require you to undergo their risk assessment test for security purposes.

Wait for approval and set up

Once you have complied with your requirements, you will then have to wait for the approval of the merchant account provider.  If your application has been approved, your Internet merchant account will then be ready for use in a few days time.

Getting an Internet merchant account is not that difficult after all.  What is important is that you know your business needs in order to identify what type of provider to look for or what services to avail.  Once you have an Internet-ready merchant account, you will be able to accept credit cards and other electronic payment forms in your website, which will help increase your sales, thus your profits.

No comments:

Post a Comment