Sunday, June 24, 2012

What to Look for in a Merchant Account

All credit card processing companies offer the same service. They provide merchant account services that enable merchants to accept credit cards, debit cards, a variety of other charge cards, electronic checks, etc. The vast majority of US small business merchant accounts providers use a handful of banks to acquire their merchant's transactions. So the major difference between them is to be found in the cost of accepting payments.

A sophisticated merchant needs to be able to look beyond the advertisements, in order to get the whole picture. What you most often see on a credit card merchant processor's website are numbers like 1.59% + $0.20 or something like it, usually embedded into a brilliantly colored button, asking that you click on it and proceed to the application form. Unfortunately, this does not tell you much. The credit card transaction processing cost is comprised of a number of different components and the rate is just one of them. You need to know what all of them are and calculate the total credit card payment processing cost for your business. There are available tools out there which will help you with that but you can also request that every credit card processing provider that you contact gives you a cost estimate, based on the sales volumes and average ticket amount that you expect to have.

Elsewhere in this blog we have written about the various components of the credit card processing account cost and have offered our view on what should be considered as acceptable for each of them.

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