Having a merchant account is a true necessity if you are going to sell any service or product to consumers. This is true no matter if you have a store front or if all your business is done online. What a merchant account will allow you to do is expand your customer base. This is because you will now be able to accept all major credit cards and/or debit cards. Setting up a merchant account is not difficult you just need to know where to look and a few tips on what to look for.
A Great Place to Start
One of the best places to start when you are looking for an account is with your local bank. When you have an established banking relationship you may find that you can get a better deal on the account. Your local bank will also help you set up your account to fit your needs because they know your company’s profile quite well. You can try your local bank even if you only have an online business; they will give you all the necessary information to input on your website or in your shopping cart program. So when you talk to them make sure you tell them which program your customers will be checking out on.
Monthly Service Charges
Something you should definitely keep in mind when you are shopping around is the monthly service charges that your provider is going to be charging you. Keep in mind that these charges directly impact your bottom line. Most companies are up front about these charges but make sure you ask questions such as,” is the fee the same if I have one sale a month or 800 per month?” This is important because some providers will charge you more fees if you have no activity on your account. Monthly service charges are not the only fees to keep in mind.
The providers for your service are going to charge you a percentage of each sale that you use their services for. So you will need to compare this fee also. Many times providers will charge you the percentage based on the number of transaction you have or the amount of the total transaction. Make sure you understand the difference and get the most cost effective one for the type of business you run. Most of these companies also have a minimum charge per transaction. For example they may tell you that you will pay 1% of the transaction or a minimum of 10 cents per purchase. This means if your customer buys $7 worth of product your fee is not going to be the 1% because that will equal 7 cents; instead they are going to charge you the transaction minimum of 10 cents.
When you are looking for a way to increase your customer base you may want to consider accepting both credit cards and debit cards. This will give you the ability to allow the type of customer that prefers to shop using plastic a way to buy your products or services. Signing up for a merchant account is a fast and effective way to accomplish just that.
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