A merchant account is necessary for any business that wishes to accept payment via credit cards online. This small business merchant account is usually set up through a merchant account service provider. What happens when a transaction is carried out is that the merchant account provider acts as a ‘middle-man’ between your business and your customers and will deposit the necessary funds into your business bank account.
Opening a merchant account usually requires an investment that might run up to more than a few hundred dollars. However, discount merchant account providers might be the solution if you want to set up a small business merchant account on a slim budget. Cheap merchant account providers may require for you to pay a set up fee of less than a hundred dollars and subsequently, either a fee per transaction or a monthly fee determined by the volume of your online business transactions. Note, however that these transaction fees may be higher than the fees charged by regular merchant account providers with the exception of the high start-up costs involved in engaging a normal merchant account. For economies of scale, it would be wiser then to start with a cheap small business merchant account and then make the change to a normal merchant account when the volume of your online business transactions increase consistently.
The key to finding a good, credible merchant account provider to help you set up your small business merchant account is to take the time to conduct your own thorough research. Much of your research can be done online by looking for account providers who offer good security and anti-fraud support.
In order to set up your small business merchant account, the financial institution or bank (depending on your choice of merchant account provider) will need to perform a necessary evaluation of your business credentials. This can either be done very quickly or take a while depending on the thoroughness of the investigation and again, on the provider that you choose. Setting up a merchant account with a discount account provider will be a much faster process than if you choose to set up with a normal account provider. What these organizations normally look out for is your business’s credit history, financial stability, business plan and so on. They will only set up your account for you once they have deemed your business ‘fit’ to sustain a merchant account.
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