If you plan on accepting mobile payments and/or credit card payments, then the first thing you need to do is set up a merchant account. These accounts are what allows you to accept payments from customers, whether it be online or in a retail environment. Here’s what you should know about merchant accounts and how to find the best provider for your business needs.
Know how you want to accept payments
Be clear on how you’ll accept credit card payments, whether it’s over the phone, by mail, through your website, or a combination of the above. If you have a physical store, you’ll no doubt want to accept credit card payments in-store, too.
Do your research
It’s important that you decide what you need from a provider and research your options carefully. Don’t rush into the decision – shop around. Yes, you can approach your regular bank for a merchant account, but their terms may not be the best for your business needs and budget. Consider factors such as:
- Do they work with businesses like yours?
- How comprehensive is their support?
- Can you customize your communications with clients, or is there only limited flexibility?
- Do they offer everything you need to get started; e.g., invoices and billing features, and a credit card reader?
Check your credit report
Your account provider will probably check your credit report, so you should review it before applying. It’s important that your report is error-free and accurate.
Watch out for scams
Not all merchant account providers are legitimate. There are a lot of companies out there who claim they are payment providers, but are really just a one man show. Be sure to check their reputation, ask about their support staff and how long they have been around. Remember, if it all sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
Merchant account fees vary between providers. Compare fees for features including:
- Statement fees
- Early cancellation fees
- Monthly minimum transaction fees
Look for the right payment gateway
A payment gateway is the technology that actually facilitates the transfer of funds from your customers Credit or Debit Card, into your account. If there’s no payment gateway, you can’t accept credit card payments. Make sure your chosen account provider offers you a payment gateway before applying, that meets your specific needs. There are many different features, so be sure the gateway of your choice has everything you need.
Gather your documents
Aside from the basic documents such as your Drivers License and Voided Check, gather all your financial paperwork, including Bank statements, and processing history going back at least 3 months if available. Processing statements should include the number and volume of:
Complete your application
Once you’ve gathered your paperwork, it’s time to apply for an account. Although applications vary, you’ll typically be asked for:
- The business name, address, and contact details
- Your name and contact details
- Annual sales figures
- Banking details
- Average transaction figures
Address any weaknesses upfront
If you know there’s a weak point in your application, such as bad credit, explain the situation upfront and how you’re in a better position now. Give your provider all the information they need upfront to make a decision. The more information you provide, the better understanding they have.
Install the software and test it
If you plan on accepting payments online, install the payment software so that you can get started. Check everything is working before you go live.
About Pinpoint Payments
Pinpoint Payments help our clients find better ways to accept payments online from their customers. With our team of experts, our merchants are able to focus more on growing their business and improving their bottom line. Find the right solutions, with the right people! We are ready to assist you today – apply* with us now and start accepting credit card payments in minutes!
*99% of applications are accepted.