Merchant Accounts vs. Payment Gateways: What's the Difference and Which Do I Need?
Tips To Make Sure Your Merchant Application Gets Approved
Merchant Processing Terms & Definiations
Any business that wants to accept credit cards as a method of payment needs a merchant account. From the smallest home-based businesses to the largest corporations and department stores, if they want to accept credit card payments they must have their own merchant account.
A merchant account is a formal agreement between a business and a credit card processor that allows a business to accept credit card payments from its customers. Monies collected as a result of the credit card charges are then deposited into the business' bank account.
There are two main types of merchant accounts. The first is a card present merchant account and the other is a card not present account, which is also known as a MOTO (mail order/telephone order) or Internet merchant account. With a "card present" account, the credit card is actually present at the time of the sale and is typically swiped using a credit card terminal which transmits the transaction information for approval to the merchant provider. With a MOTO or Internet merchant account, the card is not present at the time of transaction creating a higher risk, so additional approval is required.
If you're looking for how to get a merchant account, you'll first need to fill out an application and have it approved directly by credit card processor. While banks offer merchant accounts, they're not always the best place to turn to for your merchant account needs as their application process is a bit more stringent than other types of merchant account providers, plus they do not typically offer any advanced processing solutions such as wireless or web based processing.
Once you're approved for a merchant account, you'll need a way to process your transactions. This will involve using either a Point of Sale (POS) credit card terminal, credit card processing software or an Internet payment gateway. Once you decide which is right for you, you'll need to program your merchant account into the software or the terminal that you will be using.
Once your merchant account is programmed and ready, you can begin to process credit card transactions. If the transaction is approved, the amount of the transaction is credited to your merchant account. If the transaction is not approved, the amount will not be credited to your merchant account. At the end of the day, the total of funds in your merchant account are settled and transferred to your bank account. Typically that process takes two business days.
Some merchant account providers will require you to set up a bank account with their bank in order to have a merchant account with them. However, most others do not require you to do this and allow you to bank wherever you choose.
It is almost always best to use a merchant account that will let you bank wherever you choose to bank, as the merchant account is a totally separate account from your regular bank account and you may have needs for your bank account that the merchant account provider can not meet.
An Internet Merchant Account is sometimes referred to as a "MOTO" (Mail Order & Telephone Order) Account because they all require the ability to process a credit card payment when there is no physical credit card present to be swiped. A standard retail "swipe" merchant account does not allow processing of these "card-not-present" transactions.
If the domestic banks are denying your merchant application because they believe your industry is considered high risk, CyoGate can help! We have an offshore network of merchant processing partners that enable us to provide low cost, high risk merchant solutions to a much wider range of businesses and industries.
The CyoGate Internet Payment Gateway offers one of the quickest and most cost effective ways to accept and process credit card and electronic check payments online. Our payment gateway works with most existing merchant accounts and supports hundreds of popular web shopping carts and eCommerce platforms.