Selling online, accepting credit cards

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Everything you've always wanted to know about a merchant account:


Exactly what is it?
Can I get it from my bank?
Is it easy to get one?
What does it cost?
What should I look for in terms of service and features?
How do I get one?

What is PA-DSS complience?

Exactly what is it?
Merchant account refers to an account set up to enable a merchant to accept credit cards for purchases. If it will be used on the Internet, it is a special type of account. The account must be used in conjunction with a special gateway to the processor that insures secure transactions through an Internet connection.






Can I get it from my bank?
Yes and no. Although most banks provide merchant accounts, they are generally intended for card present transactions with card swipes and signatures on receipts. The Internet transactions are different and most banks do not have the knowledge or experience to provide and integrate the special gateway necessary to handle online transactions. Some banks will issue accounts that will be able to use the required type of gateway but often you must acquire it from a separate company and it must be compatible with the bank issued merchant account. Discount rates will also be much higher for this type of account. Banks will also try to sell you a swipe machine sometimes costing over $800.00 which is not needed for online sales. Because you are dealing with two separate entities, this can be a confusing, frustrating and a costly process.






Is it easy to get one?
It can be easy, it can be very difficult. A bank will have strict set of prerequisites. For example a bank may require you have been in business for a minimum of 3 years, have a commercial storefront, good commercial credit and of course have all the necessary licenses and paperwork. The approval rate of a bank is very low. On the other hand a company that is a specialist in providing complete merchant account and gateway solutions has a very high approval because of their ability to monitor the complete process and their knowledge of the complete process. Their requirements are generally that you have a legitimate business with licenses and paperwork. A secure web site and complient shopping cart software






What does it cost?
To keep it simple the fees can be classified as discount rate, setup fee, monthly charges and other charges. The discount rate is a percentage of the amount of sale that you pay to the company issuing your merchant account. In other words, the amount of money you receive from the sale is "discounted" by a certain amount. This varies by the type of transactions you will be conducting and the risk involved. It is usually higher for online sales, in person sales card present with a card swipe and signature is much less because the risk is much less. The setup fee, monthly charges and other charges vary. One company may have a low or no setup fee but may have higher monthly and other fees, another may have moderate setup fees and monthly charges but have many hidden other charges, another may seem less expensive but offer no support and fewer important features. Sound confusing, maybe like trying to understand long cell phone charges? I feel that quite often, if not always, the saying .. "You get what you pay for" .. is very true! The best advice I can give you is, deal with a reputable company that can service your requirements and you will end up paying a competitive, fair price with good support and excellent overall value. After all, this is really what you need and have a right to expect!






What should I look for in terms of service and features?
The company you choose should provide:
  • A complete solution with full support both online and with a toll free number, with real support people.

  • Fraud protection features.

  • Clear and concise reporting and statements.

  • The ability to check you account status at any time with an easy to use online reporting.

  • An online terminal to process manual transactions such as over the counter, mail order or phone orders in addition to real time online transactions.

  • An easy to use interface that can be implemented on your site and be fully compatible with your shopping cart and hosting.

  • Prompt deposit of funds from sales in the bank account of your choice.






How do I get one?

To find out specifically what is involved for your business and to obtain a complete solution you must first determine what type of shopping cart you are using to make sure you choose a compatible gateway. We offer solutions that we support with our shopping carts and hosting. If you need help integrating a cart other than ours we can provide help with that at a reasonable rate.

To start the process you must fill out an application. Simply set up a login and you can start the process, You can fill out some information; if you don't have all the information, logout and return to continue later on. The application account will allow you to apply for a ust a gateway, agateway and a merchant account, even a recurring billing set up all without being rushed. CLICK HERE to start.






What is PA-DSS complience?

The Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS) was estabilished by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) to regulate the security of credit card transactions. It set standards for web servers, shopping cart software and practises of merchants for handling and storing sensitive credit card information. Just to mention a few complience issues: passwords must be strong, meaning they should be a minimum number of characters, contain a variety of character types and expire every 90 days requiring a new password be set; all data transactions use a secure server; servers must be scanned for security flaws; storage of data is strongly scrutinized; CVV (CVV2, CVC) numbers must never be stored or recorded, they may only be sent to the processor through a secure connection only at the time of transaction.

The ultimate solution for all your online merchant needs!

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