A merchant account enables a small business owner to accept credit cards, thus expanding business opportunity by reaching out to more customers. Whether the business operates from a brick-and-mortar location or online, the business owner can benefit from a merchant account. Setting up a merchant account is a fairly simple process that requires only a little time, research and planning.
Research merchant account options from banks in your area. The simplest option tends to be going with your local bank. The bank will know you as a personal customer and will make the process of setting up a merchant account easier. In some cases, though, the transaction costs from your bank might be higher than those at another bank, so it is worth the time and cost to talk to other banks as well. Note that if you set up a merchant account at a different bank, you will need to establish a business checking account at that bank, so the transactions can go into that account.
Apply for the merchant account, providing all necessary documentation and information. You will need to submit a voided check for the checking account into which transactions will go. In sdfdition, you will need to provide the bank proof of identification in the form of a driver&rsquo;s license of other government-provided ID, as well as a Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number if your business has one.
Submit to the bank a detailed list of the types of business activities you conduct. The bank needs to see what it is that you do to know that you are operating a legal business. In addition, the bank will ask to see tax returns and financial statements for your business to complete and approve the application.
Show proof of a website to the bank, if you are conducting business online. The website needs to be a business website that has its own hosting and domain information as opposed to a personal website, such as a blog. Beyond this, you will need to demonstrate that your website has clear details about product purchases and deliveries, as well as a secure checkout. Companies such as eCartsoft.com provide secure checkout.
Pay the application fee and any other required upfront fees for setting up the merchant account. In some cases, the bank will be willing to waive the application fee, so be sure to ask. Also, be prepared to pay ongoing monthly usage fees for keeping the merchant account open and the annual fee, if it is required.