How to get a merchant account with a credit card
Did you know that over 85% of purchases made online are paid for by credit card? Or that sales can quadruple when credit cards are accepted? If your business still insists on the old-fashioned check, or worse, cash, you can put it up like a museum piece! Acquiring a merchant credit card account is one of the first things businesses must do if they hope to compete.
If you’ve never heard of a credit card merchant account or have no idea how to get one, don’t sweat it. This involves a fairly simple procedure and there are a number of service providers who will be happy to sign you up.
But first of all. Arm yourself with a little knowledge of how credit card processing works so you sound smart when you start discussions. Basically, the key players are the credit card companies like Visa or MasterCard; banks that contact these companies to issue credit cards to their customers; and clearinghouses that actually process and verify transactions. Then there are merchant account providers or independent merchant organizations whose purpose is to ensure that your company is successfully settled with a merchant credit card account. These are the people you will be talking to, so make sure you choose a reliable provider. Some providers such as Merchant Accounts Express offer a price protection guarantee to protect the interest of the merchant credit card account holder.
true! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to the infrastructure you need to manage a credit card merchant account. Well, the most important thing is to create a gateway, which is a means of communication with the clearing house. One way is to use a swipe machine that you see in all retail outlets. The credit card is swiped into the machine, which transmits information to the clearing house. Once the transaction is authorized, a billing slip is generated. The cardholder signs a copy and gives it to the credit card merchant account owner.
If your business relies heavily on e-commerce, obviously the swipe machine is not for you. One option is to install a type of software on your computer that will facilitate the exchange of information between your merchant credit card account and the clearing house. However, this requires manual entry of customer card details, transaction value, etc., therefore you will need to consider the additional time and effort, as well as the possibility of data entry error.
Still not happy? No problem. Most e-commerce websites use a real-time payment gateway, such as PayPal, which completes the data transfer and validation process while the buyer is online. The credit card merchant account owner should not be harassed by any manual processes. The only precaution that needs to be taken is to ensure compatibility of the gateway with the other software and systems that are part of the e-commerce process (e.g. shopping cart software).
That’s pretty much all you need to know about a merchant credit card account. Except of course that once it’s set up, it will help skyrocket your sales!
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