As a business person with a commercial online presence, you need a merchant account. It allows you to accept payments on your website, so that customers can buy from you directly. There are various situations where this is necessary. For example, if your clients are overseas, web purchases might be the only way they can buy from you.
Merchant processors aren’t restricted to online sales. Some merchant accounts combine your online and offline payment systems into one seamless portal. They organize and accept payments in cash, by check, on mobile phone, through electronic keypads, via phone call, by email, and even by fax. The last three options apply largely to check payments.
Online payment processes have four main participants. The first is the buyer, the second is their bank, sometimes called the issuing bank. The third is the seller, and the fourth is the seller’s bank, referred to as the accruing bank. The payment processor acts as an intermediary, taking the buyer’s cash from the issuing bank sending it to the accruing bank.
Bank transactions require security
In any financial transaction, certain checks and balances are needed to make sure everything is on the up and up. The bank may need your identity documents, your contact details, your social security number, and sometimes a referee. And while some credit cards are issued by reputable banks, others are sent in the mail without detailed background checks.
Sometimes, these cards lead customers into bad debt and worse credit. Once a consumer has a bad credit rating, it becomes hard for them to do business or secure financing. Since merchant processors deal directly with banks, they may need to check to make sure the merchant is operating honestly. Applying for a merchant account allows the processor to do this.
Verifying a seller’s credit is an intensive, detailed, time-consuming process. And if the seller ends up being unsuitable, the processor has no way to recoup their time or money. That’s why many merchant processors charge high application rates.
Customer-friendly application policies
However, there are other merchant processors that will allow you to apply for free, and will open a merchant account for you, even if you have bad credit or prior bankruptcies. They will also accept businesses that are deemed to be high risk. And they offer all these perks without compromizing the security of their payment systems.
If you find such a payment processor and they seem too good to be true, there are a few other things you can check to verify their legitimacy. Military encryption levels are a good sign, because it shows they are willing to invest in customer privacy. PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance is another trusted industry standard.
It helps to find out who their other customers are. By seeing who else vouches for them in written testimonials, you can decide whether you want them handling your payments. Pricing is also a factor, so make sure to shop around.
For more information about applying to get a merchant account or to sign up for one now, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.