Choosing a Merchant Account Provider: A How-To Guide for Starters

Choosing a merchant account provider can be tricky. This is especially true if you are new to the business world and don’t know where to start. 

What are some of your options? Where should you look for information? How do you find out which company might work best for your needs, values, and budget? 

These are all questions that need to be answered before making this important decision.

Merchant Accounts Are Most Commonly Offered By Banks

Merchant account providers include but are not limited to: the bank where you have your checking or savings account, brick-and-mortar storefronts, online sites that sell merchant cards, etc. 

The nice thing about getting a merchant account through a merchant services provider is that it’s often very easy with little to no paperwork required on their part.

 The downside of this option is they may only offer one type of processing which might mean sacrificing monthly rates for ease of use. 

Also be sure to read any fine print as certain institutions will place restrictions on what types of transactions can take place using their merchant service (e.g., adult entertainment merchants).

 If you plan to carry out your business online, your merchant account will most likely be with an e-commerce provider.

Get A Merchant Account From An Independent Provider

Independent providers come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to do your research before making any decisions about which one is right for you. 

Being aware of the differences between companies will help ensure that you make a well-informed decision. 

Remember: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! When considering options with independent providers here are some key questions to ask yourself: – What types of services does the company offer? 

Are there multiple price points available based on what service level they provide (i.e., monthly rates)? Does their pricing include everything I need or am I going to have additional fees each month?

An eCommerce Solution Provider

E-Commerce providers are good if your business only requires internet transactions and no brick-and-mortar storefront or physical products to sell. 

Additionally, they may offer additional services such as digital goods/downloads which could save you money in the long run by bundling it with processing fees rather than paying separate monthly bills for each service.

E-commerce accounts usually have tiered pricing based on sales volume so there is typically less of a risk that your rates will increase unexpectedly unless your site suddenly becomes very popular overnight! 

This is not always true though so be sure to ask what their policy is regarding increases before finalizing any agreements with them.

A Reseller

A reseller is a good option for those who want to use their merchant account, but don’t have the time or expertise needed to set up all the necessary components that go into running a business – they can receive rates from an independent provider and then offer them directly to you as well as providing additional services such as marketing/advertising which would be separate from your processing service agreement. 

The downside of this method though is that it’s not tailored specifically for your company so if something goes wrong with your account (e.g., non-compliance issues) you may need another party involved to sort out any problems should they arise down the road. 

Also, keep in mind what happens if you switch providers? You could be faced with a transition period where you may no longer have access to your merchant account until it is transferred over thus delaying any transactions from taking place.

A Gateway

Merchant Account Provider

A gateway is a third party that stores your bank account information and acts as an intermediary between the various payment gateways, eCommerce service providers, 

and banks to securely process transactions online without exposing your business’ sensitive data directly onto the open web.

It’s important to note though that this option does not provide processing services per se – it simply provides you with access to accepting credit cards on websites/apps by using its own hosted solution (e.g., Stripe).

There are many different ways for small businesses or startups to get started when it comes to choosing what type of merchant account provider they’d like but knowing which method works best will ultimately depend on how much time you have available, the money you’re willing to invest and what your company’s goals are in the long run.

Your Website

The option of using your website to process transactions directly is becoming more popular with companies that already have an established online presence or who don’t require additional services beyond processing fees for credit card payment.

The only downside here though is that you’ll need to find a reliable third-party service provider to help set up and maintain your account should anything go wrong, which can be inconvenient if you’re just starting.

Even so, it’s still a great way to get started while saving money by avoiding monthly fees from other providers until your company scales enough where you may want something more robust offered from one of them.

Sign-Up For A Business Account

The last option you have when it comes to choosing the right provider is signing up directly with one of them; this can be helpful in that they will usually work closely with their customers (and vice versa) during the setup process.

Which could ultimately save time and money down the road by catching any potential issues before they become major problems, but keep in mind that even though most providers are reputable there may still be some out there who set up rogue accounts so if something seems suspicious do your research first! 

Also, keep in mind what happens should you switch providers? You’ll likely need to go through an approval process again rather than simply transferring over your merchant ID number or other data automatically. 

The desire to accept credit cards on websites/apps is something that nearly all businesses have although the process of doing so may vary depending on what type of business you own or run.

In conclusion, many factors need to be considered when choosing the right provider for your business needs.

 Being aware of what questions to ask and reviewing their policies in detail before signing on the dotted line will ensure smooth sailing down the road!