If you want to delve into the world of e-commerce and sell your own products or services online, you will need way to collect credit cards, which is the preferred method of payment for most customers. There are numerous ways to accomplish this but the most practical and effective is a merchant account.
Why a Merchant Account?
A merchant account is the easiest way to accept both credit and debit card payments on your website. Sure, you could sign up for a free PayPal account, but there are disadvantages that could hinder your success. It may not be fair but some customers feel like PayPal isn’t credible enough and they will look down on your inability to process payments like other larger corporations. There are other options you can take but most charge up to 10% of the transaction along with other fees that cut into your profits. These factors make the merchant account the best option.
Considering the level of importance, you might think that obtaining a merchant account is a smooth and painless process. Simply find a provider, sign up for an account and get an approval in a matter of days, right? Unfortunately, the process isn’t quite that seamless for most applicants. In fact, getting a merchant account can prove to be lengthy, complex process, especially for the new or small business owner enduring the process for the first time. In order to ensure as few complications as possible, one should no one to expect when applying for an account.
How Long Does it Take?
Obtaining a merchant account can actually take anywhere from a few days to a couple of months, with the latter mainly applying to a situation where mistakes were made. It is these mistakes that lead to delays that could end up costing you in sales, forcing you to wait it out when customers are reading to buy now. This is why you need to initiate the process as soon as possible. Don’t just assume that because someone you know got approved in a matter of days that the same will hold true for you. When compared to the fast paced internet world, some banks are incredibly slow at processing merchant account applications. The sooner you get on it, the sooner you can get rolling with your plans.
Tricky Numbers and Fine Print
Merchant account providers have been known to introduce complex fees that don’t necessarily match up with the offers from other banks. More unscrupulous ones will even throw in a bit of trickery that hike up the fees when you least expect. Others might come at you with ridiculous fees up-front, suggest that you wait an ungodly amount of time to receive your money and the list goes on. To avoid a rude awakening, you need to make yourself familiar with the numbers and go over all the fine print before turning in your application. Rates aren’t all difficult to understand so the most important thing is finding out how long you have to wait for your money. As an online business owner, consistent cash flow is the key to longevity.
Going through the merchant account process can be a real nightmare the first time. However, it doesn’t have to be. As with most services, the best advice is to research providers, compare services and most importantly, ask questions and gather all the information you can. If not, you may never get a merchant account or at best, end up with a terrible service.