As a business owner, you know one of the cornerstones of success is receiving money for the goods or services that you provide. If you are not getting paid, then you are not going to make it as a business. In today’s economy, consumers like to have as many options available to them for payment as possible. With the growing popularity of the check card and other forms of electronic payment, many consumers don’t ever carry cash or checks with them anymore, meaning that, if you want to be able to get their business, you will need to be ready to accept those electronic forms of payment. In order to do that, you will need to establish a merchant processing account. A merchant processing account is an account that you establish with one of the many electronic payments acquirers that are out there. An acquirer has a network that has the ability to transmit your electronic payment requests back and forth, to the appropriate financial institutions that you will need in order to accept the payment. Payments processed by the acquirers include credit cards, debit cards, electronic checks, EBT cards and ACH payments. An acquirer will typically provide you with equipment or software that will enable you to send and receive transaction requests for these different payment types. One of the most important steps to setting up a merchant processing account is to find a good solid acquirer whom you feel comfortable with. Many acquirers can offer special enhanced features such as real time, online reporting, that will allow you to stay abreast of how your electronic payments are fairing and how much they are going to cost you. Some will also provide you with online tools that can help you resolve any disputes that you may have with your consumers over electronic payments that they have made. Once you have decided that you are ready to establish a merchant processing account, you will need to start shopping around. Many banks offer processing as part of their business services, but they do not always have the best rates. Also, they often do not have their own networks and are often part of a much larger processing entity. Get all of the information, compare rates and find the processor that is the best fit for the types of payments that you would like to accept. Once you have found the right processor, you can start accepting payment and see you business grow.