The Importance of an Internet Merchant Account
If you have an online business and you want to accept credit cards on your website, you’re going to need an Internet merchant account.
An Internet merchant account allows your customers to pay you online by entering their credit card information directly into your website. This enables you to accept credit card orders without your customers having to fax, phone or mail in their orders.
When you accept credit card orders through an Internet merchant account, the transactions you process are usually approved in real time via a real time Internet payment gateway. This means that the moment the customer checks out at your website, the transaction is actually processed.
It’s important to understand that you do not have to use a payment gateway with an Internet merchant account. It is also possible to use credit card processing software or a credit card terminal. If you do that, the transaction will not be processed in real time, but rather at a later time when you manually key in the transaction.
So if you use a credit card terminal, is it still an Internet merchant account?
Yes, you can use a credit card terminal and still have an Internet merchant account. What makes the account an Internet merchant account is that the order is taken online. Whether you key the transaction into a keypad on a terminal later on is irrelevant. It’s the method that the order is taken that determines whether the account is an Internet merchant account or not.
But you already have a merchant account…
If you currently run a brick-and-mortar store and you already have a merchant account, you’re going to need an Internet merchant account if you want to start taking orders online. This is due to the fact that Internet merchant accounts have different rules and regulations than standard retail type merchant accounts do. If you think you can get around it by processing Internet orders with you regular merchant account, you may be unpleasantly surprised when your merchant account is suddenly shut down.
With an Internet merchant account, the merchant rarely, if ever, sees the card or the customer and there is a higher risk of fraud because of this. With this higher risk of fraud comes more stringent processing procedures and a separate Internet merchant account is needed.
Regardless of whether you’re an established merchant looking to add an Internet merchant account or a new merchant, you’re going to want to work with a merchant account provider who has expertise in structuring and handling Internet merchant accounts.
The Internet is a new world for many merchant account providers, and if you end up applying with one who processes little to no Internet transactions, you’re likely to be either denied or even worse, approved and with a provider who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
When you are approved for an Internet merchant account, you’ll be billed at the same fee structure as a mail order/telephone order account (MOTO) account.
However, while the fee structure is the same, that is where the similarities end. With an Internet merchant account, the approval process and underwriting criteria are completely different than with a MOTO account. Internet merchant accounts usually have more stringent standards than a MOTO account, and because of this you want to work with a company that understands Internet merchant accounts in their entirety.
Merchant Express has been providing Internet Merchant Accounts since 1998, and has experience with thousands of web businesses from coast to coast. When setting up an Internet Merchant Account, choose someone like Merchant Express that has the experience, expertise, and knowledge to set you up with the correct merchant account for your business.