Want An Online Credit Card Merchant Account?

An online credit card merchant account can help your business in ways you might not have imagined. While it may seem as though only high-ranking company executives or big-name corporations might be interested in a merchant account, there are many reasons why a small-scale entrepreneur or even a home business owner might want to learn more about this unique marketing and credit card payment tool.

One reason to consider an online credit card merchant account is because you can apply directly through your company’s bank, if you have been doing business with a local financial institution. Chances are the bank can offer a merchant account to business owners like you, but it is important to check the terms and fees, since you may be able to get a better deal elsewhere. Banks don’t always have the lowest prices on accounts like this. You can browse the Internet or ask around the business community to find out who has the lowest merchant services account fees. The costs may include any combination of the following: application fee, setup fee, gateway, maintenance and service, annual membership, and others. However, some account underwriters can waive some or all of these fees for the right customer. Find out if your company is eligible for these waivers or some type of discount before you apply.

Another reason to think about applying for an online credit card merchant account is to upgrade your professional status and enhance the way you do business. You don’t have to operate in the mom-and-pop stage of development forever. Instead, you can get the merchant account and start processing business dealings faster and more efficiently than ever. Your customers will admire and appreciate your efforts to make things work better for them, and your employees will appreciate the time saving steps that can be implemented with a merchant account.

When approved, your online credit card merchant account will help you create a Website to represent your business on the World Wide Web. Some underwriters provide free software and setup while others charge for these services. Be sure that your site offers an up-to-date image with plentiful information to catch the browser’s eye and keep customers interested long enough to make a sale. When they do decide to purchase something, your merchant account setup will let them pay right away with a credit card instead of waiting for a check to be posted. The money will be funneled by the underwriter through a gateway for deposit in your checking account.

With an online credit card merchant account, your Website can soon become fully functional, alleviating much of the sales and cashier work that your company may presently be handling. Your time will be freed to deal with other aspects of the business, perhaps the more creative venues. In the meantime the Website will be automated enough to process payments without the help of customer service, except for the occasional question or problem, so keep someone available at least part-time for this purpose.

Don’t wait for your competitors to jump at the chance to get ahead of you. Find out now how you can apply for an affordable online credit card merchant account.


Different Types of Merchant Accounts

After cash, credit cards are the most widely accepted means of payment in the world. No matter what business you are running, or what product you are selling. Chances are that you will require a credit card processing system. From American Express to Visa, the brand may vary, and since there is no such thing as an individual payment gateway for each individual company. Every company may have a payment system that is unique to them, but the payment gateway is what is the essential link. But before we go into the technicalities, lets get some of the basics out of the way. Especially some of the terms just used.

Any credit card transaction on the planet acts in a predefined manner, first the customer will offer his credit card details, the credit card details are then processed through a payment gateway, and finally the credit card payment is received in a merchant account. The way in which the credit card payment is accepted is different, you could be using the credit on a EPOS (electronic point of sale terminal), or you could have a successful online store that is accepting payments. The important thing to remember is that the mode in which you are accepting the payment is not as important as having a payment gateway and a good merchant account.

Okay so the next thing to discuss here is what is a payment gateway? well a payment gateway is usually a third party system that processes the credit card transaction it could be the server an EPOS dials out to, an e-commerce system, however the term payment gateway usually refers to the latter, and once the checks are done the funds are then transferred into a merchant account. The essential component is the merchant account, the merchant account is offered by companies and based on the volume of transaction and certain other criteria; the charges and upkeep is different. No merchant account is free as the company is offering you services. Merchant accounts in general are of various categories and depending on the type of business you are running, different monthly charges, and percentage charges are applicable.

Important merchant account types

a) Regular merchant accounts – Although in business there is no such thing as a typical business, however a majority of businesses are usually treated as regular merchant accounts, they have low maintenance fees and lower rates than other merchant accounts.

b) High risk merchant accounts – This category is usually reserved for high risk credit card processing accounts, for example accounts that handle a large volume of transaction that may or may not offer a 100% authorisation rate. An example will be an outbound call centre, that attempts hundreds of credit card transactions to verify the credibility of the credit cards. There are also additional complications like currency conversion involved. Hence the term high risk merchant account.

c) Specialized merchant accounts – There are some businesses that require specialized credit card processing, or might require a specialized merchant account that caters to requirements such as offshore processing, etc. Such merchant accounts are usually referred to as specialized merchant accounts.


When to Switch Merchant Account Providers and How

Businesses primarily cancel their merchant account because they no longer need to accept credit cards or because they're switching to a different provider that has offered them lower rates and fees. When an account is cancelled because a business no longer needs to accept credit cards, it usually means that the business is being dissolved and there's no reason to have an account at all. However, cancelling a merchant account to switch to another provider that promises lower rates may be more trouble than it's worth – literally.

Check with your existing provider before you cancel your merchant account

Competition is the driving force behind the high merchant turnover that exists in the payment card industry. Any small business owner can attest to the high frequency at which they're approached by a merchant account salesperson promising the best rates and fees. With so many offers it's tough not to investigate a few, and many business owners do just that. The problem is that they switch to the new account without consulting their existing provider.

Merchant service providers want to retain clients. It's a lot easier for them to keep an existing client than it is to acquire a new one. The same is true from a merchant's point of view. It's a lot easier to have the rates and fees lowered on your existing merchant account than it is to cancel the account and open a new one.

Don't look at the constant flow of new merchant account quotes as an annoyance, instead, view them as a helpful reminder. Each time you're offered merchant account rates that are lower than the rates on your existing account, send them to your provider and request that they match or beat the better quote. Even if you're in a contract, many merchant account providers are willing to lower rates and fees in order to retain your business.

By giving your existing provider a chance to match quotes that you receive, you're getting the benefit of the lower rates without the hassle of cancelling your exiting merchant account and opening a new one.

Avoiding cancellation fees when switching merchant accounts

So what happens if your existing provider won't match or beat the rates of a competitor? The first thing to do is determine if you're under contract, and if so, how much the cancellation fee is to close your merchant account. Even if you're looking at a large fee, there are a couple of things that you can do to avoid paying it entirely.

The first is to read the terms of your contract. Most cancellation fees are void if a merchant service provider raises rates or fees within the contract period. If your rates have increased since you originally signed the contract, or since the last time the contact auto-renewed, you may be able to cancel your merchant account without having to pay the fee.

If that fails, try to pass the cancellation fee along to the new provider that's trying to earn your business. Especially if you're processing a decent amount of credit cards each month, it may be worth it for the new provider to pay your way out of your existing account. Believe it or not, this is something that happens on a fairly regular basis. Most providers won't advertise that they'll pay cancellation fees to their competitors, but they will do what they can to get your business if the numbers work for them.

If all else fails…

If you're existing provider is unable or unwilling to meet lower rates and fees promised by a new provider and you can't avoid the cancellation fee, make sure that it's worth it to switch accounts. Crunch the numbers to figure out if the lower rates and fees will save you enough to negate the out-of-pocket expense of the cancellation fee.

Make sure the new rates are truly better

The final and perhaps most important point to cover before switching merchant accounts, is to make sure that the rates and fees promised by a new provider are really better than what you already have. Especially on a tiered pricing structure, merchant account rates aren't always what they appear to be. The article, "Merchant Account Rates: Tiered VS. Interchange-Plus Pricing" at the MerchantCouncil will help you to get a better understanding of this topic.


Why You Should Have A Merchant Account

If you have been running a web-based business successfully without the use of a merchant account, you may wonder why it is necessary to have a merchant account and all. After all, you can accept checks or money orders via snail mail; therefore, you may ask yourself, “Why should I bother with the hassles of signing up for a merchant account?” Nevertheless, you would be surprised to find that there are myriad benefits in having a merchant account; in fact, making more money through your Internet business is just one of them.

First, in not having a merchant account, you are severely limiting the amount of income that you can make from your online business. For example, with a merchant account you can accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express once your initial application is approved. In the case of the latter, you will be required to fill out a separate application for American Express approval.

The approval process for a merchant account is usually five to seven days and the wait is well worth it; once you are approved immediately increase the type of payments you can receive and therefore increase the number of clients who were willing to buy your products online.

The most obvious place to get a merchant account is from your local bank. Simply stop and your local bank or visit the bank where you hold a checking or savings account and speak to one of the bank representatives about their merchant accounts. Conversely, your local bank will probably be more than willing to send you brochures or pamphlets that describe their merchant account programs in great detail.

When you are looking to apply for a merchant account with a local bank it is a good idea to ear in mind that if you already have an existing account with a bank, that bank will probably be more willing to provide you with a merchant account based on their experience with you as an existing customer. If you have exhibited responsible behavior with an existing checking account of loan with an institution, the bank is quite liable to take such information into consideration when determining your eligibility for a merchant account.

Having a merchant account also keeps you at an even keel with your competitors. By simply researching the competition, you will soon find that many of your competitors have merchant accounts as a payment method for customers. The reason that your competitors maintain a merchant account is to primarily provide an added convenience for customers desire to pay by credit card. Not only is the authorization process fast, but allows the customer to place their order in the fashion that they've grown accustomed to while paying for their purchases.

Another added benefit derived from having a merchant pertains to this simplification of record-keeping. Let's face it, when it comes to paying taxes no one considers it a good time. Nevertheless, paying taxes a necessary evil and it pays to be well organized when tax season comes around. With the detailed monthly statements that you receive with a merchant account, you can access your expense records quickly and easily.

Many merchant account suppliers offer software applications with their merchant account program that will allow you to improve the look of your website. For example, you can add a shopping cart to website or the ever popular “buy now “buttons. Such graphics give your website professionally designed to look and help your website appear easy to navigate and user-friendly: if customers find your website user-friendly they're more likely to return again and again.


The Importance of Getting a Merchant Account

A business, whether it is online or has been operating in a standard office or shopping mall, should have the payment option of using credit cards. Businesses that do not offer credit card payments are more likely to run out of customers. In the competitive market today, you should take advantage of all the opportunities that you can get. A merchant account is necessary especially for businesses situated in a shopping district because people usually do not bring their cash nowadays. Instead, they carry their credit cards so that they can conveniently shop without having to bring lots of cash in their wallet. You surely do not want to reject customers because you cannot accept their credit card payments.

Accepting credit card payments is necessary for business nowadays. Internet based businesses can have the ease in getting paid using the payment gateways for online transactions. This would assure you and your online customer that the transaction can be processed hassle free. This also ensures you that the customers can make the payments easily and at the same time you can get the payment as soon as possible.

In order to have this type of payment system on your business, all you need to do is set up a merchant account. The process of getting approved for a merchant account is very simple yet can bring so many advantages on your business. There are different things that you should know so that you will not have any problems in getting yourself an account. Having enough knowledge about the matter would surely help you in getting the most efficient and affordable merchant account for your business. You may want to check out the different rates that several service providers offer to their clients so that you can have the chance of selecting the best among them.

The account that you would create to handle your credit card payments is directly associated to the bank account that you use for your business. The transactions are taken to the account provider every time a credit card is used for paying the bills. The provider would then handle the transaction and other necessary calculations for the payment being made. For this, the account provider deducts a service charge and transfers the payment directly to your business checking account. The transaction fees on differ among the various merchant account providers. Make sure that you are getting reliable service providers. Credit card payments may be risky yet the ease it can provide for your business can give you significant advantages.

There are some cases in which banks tend to refuse these types of transactions. The risks involved in this type of payment are often avoided by banks yet you can have alternative choices such as merchant account service providers. These service providers can be able to handle such transactions using software that can be used to accept credit card payments over the payment counter or via the Internet. This would surely give you ease in providing a payment system for the customers online or at your local store.