You’re Approved For a Merchant Account. Now What?

As a business owner, you’re probably familiar with merchant accounts. They allow your customers to pay you by credit card. Some payment processors also include the acceptance of cash, checks, ACH, and e-checks as part of their services.

Some payment processors make it quite challenging to get your merchant account approved. They charge you an application fee before approval, and require you and your business to have top-notch credit. Once you finally get approved, you’ll probably heave huge sigh of relief and feel excited, but you may be unsure of what happens next.

Review the terms of your merchant account

It may seem like a moot point, but this is a good time to take another look at what you’re rights and responsibilities are. Familiarize yourself with your pricing and other terms. This will help you estimate your monthly expenses so you can plan and strategize accordingly.

Look for any additional features that may be useful to you, like e-check processing, ACH, or free electronic readers, which may already be included or may be available as add-ons for your account. You may not have noted them at first, but they can certainly be helpful.  You may wish to walk through the actual payment process by making a small test transaction to get a taste of how your customers will interact with it, and see whether you have any questions or issues to ask tech support about.

Familiarize your team with the process

Once you’re comfortable using the payment chain and have asked everything you need to, train your staff. Make sure they are familiar with every step of checkout, so they can assist any customers that get stuck. Run through security measures like password strength, anti-virus, and firewalls. Designate an in-house security go-to contact.

Create separate log-ins for everyone who will use your payment software or hardware. Take your business through a PCI (Payment Card Industry) audit to make sure you are compliant with the twelve security requirements for card-based business transactions. All your staff should be up to date on these recommendations.

Let your customers know

If you have a physical store, you can place signage and decals in prominent positions to make sure they know the forms of payment you accept. On a website, you can have your designer position notices prominently as well. Other information that you may want to display includes your PCI compliance, your SSL certification, and your data privacy policy.

Speak to your merchant processor and confirm how you’d like card transactions to be facilitated. You can have customers pay right on your site or have them redirected to a web page hosted by your payment processor if you prefer.

Finally, don’t forget to stay in touch with your payment processor.  Let them know if there’s anything you need and ask if there’s anything they may need from you.  You could also ask for updates on newly available services.

For more information on the next steps after merchant account approval, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to

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