For most companies, having a strong online presence means major benefits and can lead to increased business. Trillions of dollars are now spent on the Internet every year, and buyers nowadays expect to be able to buy and pay online using credit or debit cards. In order to take advantage of this trend, there are any number of merchant account providers that you can approach to help enable your business to take online payments.
Consider, first of all, whether merchant account providers are the best avenue for you to go down. If your business is quite small, or quite new and without a well-documented trading history to take to a bank, you may be better off using the services of a payment processing company or online shopping mall. These services will be cheap or free to set up, but tend to be more costly in the longer term. Once your online presence is beginning to bring in significant revenues, you can always switch to one of the many merchant account providers around.
One of The Top Merchant Account Providers
On the other hand, if you already have a merchant account to handle your in-store credit card transactions, it makes sense to extend that to your online website via your current merchant account providers, rather than going to a payment processing company.
Merchant account providers are generally banks, and they will look for certain things when you apply to them; some have quite strict requirements. When applying to merchant account providers, you will need to provide details of your business plan, audited accounts, and your trading history. Merchant account providers will also perform a credit check, and generally require that your business meet their criteria. If you already have "offline" credit card processing facilities in place with the bank, as we have seen, this will normally make the process a lot easier and quicker.
Once you have been accepted, most merchant account providers will charge a sign-up fee to cover administrative costs, and there will be either a fixed monthly or quarterly fee or a commission on each transaction. You will require a payment service provider (PSP) using secure socket layer (SSL) technology to handle encrypted customer details, so do make sure that your website is capable of supporting this protocol. There are a wide range of such services to suit every business and budget.
By choosing from competing merchant account providers, you can maximize the potential of your website, and hopefully you will see real profits very quickly.