Online Merchant Accounts: What to Expect

With the advancement of technology, some businesses no longer operate from a store, but online. Customers prefer this method because it is easy. With the click of a mouse, you can purchase anything. This method is also secure. With a quality merchant account provider, the transfer of bank information is completely secure. It also gives potential clients from other cities the ability to own products that they would not be able to have otherwise. These businesses accept the fact that credit and debit cards are the new money and are adapting to the payment method of the future through merchant accounts. Businesses who do not understand this concept will soon be left behind.

Merchant accounts are a specialized account provided by a bank or a third-party institution to allow real time e-commerce by accepting payment with the use of credit and debit cards and e-checks. A contractual agreement is then set up between the business and the provider.

To begin, the merchant account provider will ask you, as the business owner, to present the following documents: first, bank information of your personal business account. This can come in the form of a voided check or a letter issued by the bank with the account information. The second requirement is government-issued identification. This can be a copy of your driver’s license, a birth certificate or any other valid identification. Third, a physical list or a reference in your website presenting your products and services, including the price, a possible refund policy, methods for delivery and telephone numbers. And finally you will need to provide credit card processing statements from the last three months, as well as tax returns and possibly other business financial statements.

After this information has been gathered, you may also be asked to provide information about your previous business history and performance. They will also want to know your forecast turnover, your expected average transaction values and frequencies, details about your supplier, and the amount of transactions you expect to receive face-to-face, as in the case of physical stores, and by phone, mail order or online, for customers who do not have the capacity to physically swipe at the terminal.

If a business intends to accept card payments for different channels, the business owner may opt to open more than one merchant account. Retail stores, for example, require a separate account from the one that operates online.

Generally, an account can be opened in hours, depending on the guidelines of the service provider. If the sales agent has no communication with you for more than two weeks, something must have gone wrong and you should consider canceling the application. This usually proves true for start-up businesses unless it is low-risk, and the products will sell.

The entire process may seem to be overwhelming, but the benefits will ultimately be worth it. Given that not all customers have cash on hand, and not all businesses have stores that everyone can visit, one of the best ways to conduct business is via the internet, using a merchant account. It gives both parties the benefit of ease, convenience and security all at the same time.

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