In today’s cashless society, more and more customers are choosing electronic payments over traditional payment methods. Businesses are also investing in electronic payment services to avoid inconveniencing their customers.
One of the popular electronic payment services that you as a business owner can set up to enable your business to accept and process credit and debit cards is a merchant account.
Unfortunately, knowing how to open a merchant account can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re doing it for the first time.
Fortunately, we are here to help.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to set up a merchant account.
Once you have sufficient knowledge of setting up merchant accounts, you can partner with your preferred merchant service providers, so they can help you choose the best merchant account for your business.
However, before we delve deep into the process of creating this account, let’s understand what a merchant account is.
What Is a Merchant Account?
A merchant account is a bank account that enables your business to accept and process card payments.
The account is an agreement among your business, a merchant bank, and the credit card payment processors to enable the settlement of debit or credit card transactions.
Setting up a merchant account is important as it enables your business to not only accept payments made through credit and debit cards but to also reach more customers, meet consumer demand for electronic payment services, enhance security, and increase sales.
So, let’s learn how to create a merchant account.
How to Create a Merchant Account
Now that you know the importance of a merchant account, it’s time for you to learn how to create a merchant account.
Here are the steps you need to follow to open a merchant account.
Choose Credit Card Brands to Work With
The first step you have to make is to decide on the credit card brands that you’ll accept payments from.
Considering there are many credit card brands, start by researching the ones that your target audience uses. For instance, do most of your customers use Visa and MasterCard? In such a case, you’ll need to open your merchant account with a financial institution that accepts these two cards.
Preparing a list of the credit card brands you will accept will make it easy for you to choose your merchant account provider.
Analyze Your Turnover
The next thing you need to do is to analyze your business turnover.
Ask yourself, how much money do you make in a month or a year? How much of the business sales are from credit card payments?
To answer such questions, you’ll need to have your financial statements in order.
Your merchant provider will also need to analyze such records, meaning, you’ll need to have your business financial records ready.
Prepare Your Website
The last step is to prepare your website in such a way that it can accept card payments.
If you plan to use an online payment gateway service provider, they will help you connect your website to your merchant account. They will also help you process the payments between the different parties involved.
However, if you don’t intend to partner with any of the available payment service providers, you’ll have to ensure the payment process is secure and convenient for your customers.
For instance, to gain the trust of your customers, you’ll need to include an SSL certificate or other security measures on your website. This assures your customers that the personal information they key into your site is secure.
It’s also essential that you simplify the payment process for your customers. For instance, customers should be able to pay via the website without creating an account with your online business.
Ensure your website is also user-friendly so that customers have an easy time going through the shopping and payment process. Remember to also customize your website for mobile, as more customers are using their mobile phones to shop.
Other Things to Consider When Opening a Merchant Account
Before you create a merchant account, there are some important factors you’ll need to consider, as detailed below
Merchant Account Providers
Before opening a merchant account, it’s important to compare the providers available.
Some tips you can use to make this comparison include the following:
- Transaction fee – it’s important to gather all details relating to the merchant’s payment model and any other additional processing fees. This will protect you from any surprise costs after you have already signed the contract.
- Services offered – You’ll need to know if the provider offers all the services you need in addition to the merchant account. For instance, do they offer virtual terminal processing, website payments, and mobile payments?
- Customer support – Is customer support available to help you in case you’re having issues with your account? A good merchant services provider should be able to provide reliable ongoing support.
- Experience – How long has the provider been in business? Have they worked with a similar type of business in the past? Do they have good reviews online, or are they willing to provide you with references that you can contact?
Payment Services You Want
In addition to accepting payments to your website, you’ll need to consider whether you’ll want to use other payment options.
For instance, do you want to accept and process payments through your mobile phone, or you’d rather use a virtual terminal? If you run a physical shop, you may also consider getting a point of sale terminal.
The right merchant account provider should be able to provide you with solutions and resources that meet such payment needs.
However, you should list down the merchant payment options that you need so that your solution provider can get you the right payment processing equipment.
Documents Required for the Application Process
Opening a merchant account involves filling out an application form and submitting the required documents.
The application details you will need to fill in include your personal information, your business financial details, business name, contact info, and employer identification number (EIN).
You should prepare the necessary information and documents needed for the merchant account application early enough to hasten its approval.
Some documents you may need for this process include:
- Business license
- Credit history records
- Articles of incorporation
- Business financial statements
- Business plan
- Marketing materials
Opening a merchant account enables you to scale your business operations. Hopefully, now you’re well-informed on what a merchant account is and how you can create one for your e-commerce business
At eMerchant Authority, we offer reliable merchant account services that are meant to take your business to the next level. To learn more about our services, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.