Merchant Accounts for Small Businesses
When it comes time to apply for a merchant account, some small business owners may feel overwhelmed. The process can seem daunting, but in reality a well-prepared applicant need not worry. At Merchant Express®, merchant accounts for small businesses are our specialty, and we offer a wide variety to meet every credit card processing need.
First, it’s important to understand what a merchant account is and what it is not. A merchant account is a business arrangement with a credit card processor (also known as a merchant services provider) that allows a merchant to accept credit card payments from customers. The processor provides the merchant with all the necessary technology, handles transaction authorizations with the issuing bank and deposits the proceeds into the merchant’s designated bank account. A merchant account is maintained separately from all other personal and business bank accounts.
A merchant account should not be confused with a business bank account, which is an account established to handle the expenses and revenues associated with running a business. Co-mingling business and personal funds is never a good idea and, in some cases, it’s illegal. So, open a business bank account for the financial side of your operation, and open a merchant account for credit card processing.
To get a merchant account, you need to complete an application with a merchant services provider. In many ways, the process is similar to applying for a line of credit. The provider will ask for basic information about you and your business, including your business name and contact information, the TIN (tax identification number), principal owner’s name and Social Security number, recent tax returns and your estimated (or actual, if you already have a merchant account with another provider) monthly payment card volume and ticket average. Having all this information readily available prior to applying will streamline the process. At Merchant Express, we can set up a well-prepared and well-qualified merchant with a merchant account in as little as 24 hours.
You should also have an idea of the type of merchant account you want. For example, are most of your credit card transactions conducted face to face? If so, you’re probably a traditional retailer operating out of a storefront, and a retail merchant account should meet your requirements. Merchants engaged in e-commerce (selling over the Internet) require an online merchant account that’s set up to accommodate card-not-present (CNP) transactions. MOTO (mail order/telephone order) merchants need different products and services (and merchant accounts) than mobile merchants and service providers who rely on mobile or wireless credit card processing when they’re out in the field dealing with customers.
Merchant Express representatives are specifically trained in the various merchant accounts, products and services that small businesses need in today’s competitive market. They can answer all your questions and walk you through the application process. If you’re in the market for a merchant account, why not start your search with us?