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A Merchant Account is Crucial

Whether you�re a traditional brick-and-mortar business or an Internet start-up, it�s unlikely that you�re able to do business without accepting credit and debit cards from customers as a means of payment. New restrictions on the amount of money that major credit card companies are allowed to charge to merchants who accept debit cards are making it possible for consumers to use their plastic not only for major purchases, but also for everyday banalities like a cup of coffee or a cheeseburger, and credit card use will only become easier and more common as increased security and better technology come into play.

Your merchant account is your connection to the banks that interface directly with credit card providers, so it�s very important that you maintain a good understanding of credit card processing and the mechanism of merchant accounts.

Merchant Account 101

To quickly review the payment cycle, the bank acts as a middleman between you and the credit card companies, debiting customers� accounts and depositing money into your account to complete each transaction. Six steps that must be taken in order for a transaction to process fully: (1) the customer places an order in person or via the website; (2) the credit card processor receives the transaction and submits an authorization request to the credit card issuer, a bank; (3) the server approves or declines the request; (4) if approved, the merchant fills the order; (5) a settlement request is sent to your merchant account provider; and (6) the merchant account provider deposits money into your merchant back account.

When credit card transactions occur online, they are known as �card not present� transactions. This type of transaction is a great risk to banks, which is why merchants who have both brick-and-mortar and online businesses are usually required to have separate merchant accounts for each. Banks need to thoroughly assess a business� credit risk due to the increasing amount of fraudulent transactions that have been occurring online. In addition, most banks require a security deposit before providing a merchant account to cover potential chargebacks/refunds. Merchants must research the various Merchant Account Providers (MAPs) to see which can cater best to their needs and offer a customized solution.

On the right is a list of the top-rated merchant account providers. Look through each one to find the MAP that can aid you in developing the best plan for your business.



  
Offers:
Charge.com Charge.com
With their free online application, you can start accepting credit cards on your web site in less than 24 hours! In addition to accepting credit cards on your web site in real-time, you will also receive our simple-to-use, web-based credit card processing terminal so you can process transactions manually. With their versatile ecommerce software, you have a complete solution.
Paynet Systems Paynet Systems
With Paynet Systems merchant services behind you can accept credit cards from all major issuers. Because their systems and infrastructure are flexible they offer custom-made programs for any business category.
Authorize.net Authorize.net
They provide merchants with fast, reliable and secure passage for transaction data via a 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Internet Protocol (IP) connection, and manage the complex routing of payment information to the appropriate credit card processors.
Electronic Transfer Inc. Electronic Transfer Inc.
To accept credit cards apply use the merchant account application for a free merchant account, credit card processing, free shopping cart - free recurring billing and check processing set up.

 

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