Merchant accounts and processing gateways are Internet services that enable online processing of credit cards. Online merchant accounts are variations of the traditional credit card processing used by retail stores and phone order houses. A business must qualify for merchant account; each provider has a different set of requirements.
Processing gateways are an intermediary to get card information from your shopping cart to the merchant account. Often processing gateways are packaged with merchant accounts.
Merchant Account Tips
- It can be difficult (and expensive) for some companies to get merchant accounts directly from banks. While there are brokers, beware of those promoting 'easy entry' into e-commerce. There are often hidden fees and conditions that can quickly add up.
- Seek out providers that have experience in your industry. It will be easier to get a quality arrangement.
- With any merchant account you are responsible for costly fraudulent activities and charge backs from your customers. Protect yourself through disclaimers and other legal instruments.