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If you are an offline or online small business owner and you want to be able to accept credit and debit cards on customer purchases, you’re going to have to apply and pay for a merchant account.  Merchant accounts are used in the clearing process of credit card and debit card purchases by allowing the company or organization to accept these types of payments for the products or services that they are offering.  When applying for a merchant services account, you should inquire about the following.

How do I establish a merchant service account for my business?

You should be able to open a merchant account with the bank that you normally use for your business, provided you’ve been in business for a while and have a decent credit track record and sales history.

How do I receive payments that the merchant service has cleared?

In most instances, a credit and debit card terminal or an online payment processor (gateway) is used to electronically process the purchase.  Once the purchase is verified, the card issuing company will approve the funds for the payment.  The funds should be deposited into the business’s bank account within two business days.

What types of payment will the business be able to accept?

When you subscribe to merchant services and open your account, you will be set up to accept major credit cards (i.e. American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and VISA) as well as EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards depending on the ones you choose to accept.

What factors are taken into consideration when applying for an account?

Whenever you are trying to open a merchant services account, the company providing the service will take the following into consideration:

Are merchant services worth it?

Keep in mind that your business may not be a candidate for these types of accounts.  While some companies rely on credit and debit card purchases, merchant services may not be a good option for your business.  You will need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of using these services before making your decision.

Posted in Merchant Account, Payment Processing on Nov 27, 2013