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Credit Card Processing Terminal
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By: Arlette Measures
Types of Merchant Accounts

There are two basic categories of merchant accounts; 'card present' accounts, typically used in retail establishments, and internet or mail order/telephone order (MOTO) accounts that do not require the physical presence of a credit card.

Cardless transactions will require additional data before approval. If you expect more than half of your sales to be processed without a card present, then you should consider establishing a 'card not present' account.

Several variations exist within these categories, offering different processing options, including:

1. Retail Merchant Accounts These are the standard type of merchant account, where a different types of merchant accounts are presented during a transaction in a retail establishment. The card can be either swiped through a terminal, or, if the retailer uses card processing software, the card information will be manually entered into a PC for processing. Approval usually takes three to fifteen seconds, and the customer receives a printed receipt.

2. Internet Merchant Accounts If you want to accept online orders, you will need an Internet merchant account, even if you already have a standard merchant account. This is because there is a different set of regulations for processing credit transactions over the Internet. Attempts to process online transactions via a traditional merchant account could result in your account being closed.



3. Telephone and Mail Order Merchant Accounts This type of account allows you to accept credit card payments payments over the phone for catalog, Internet or any type of sale where the customer is not present.



4. Wireless Merchant Accounts With a wireless merchant account, you can process credit card transactions from remote locations. This works well for any type of on-site service provider, merchants at fairs and trade shows, outside sales reps and others.



5. Payment Gateways A payment gateway is used in conjunction with an Internet merchant account, and allows unlimited credit card orders to be processed simultaneously. Purchases are first authorized by the credit or debit card issuer, then by the payment gateway. This process takes about two seconds, and offers you an extra layer of security when accepting online payments. All payments are settled in a batch at the end of the day, and will appear in your bank account, usually within one or two business days.



6. Mobile Credit Card Processing This essentially transforms your iPhone or iPad into a credit or debit card processing terminal. Many providers of this service will require you to sign up with Authorize.net for transaction authorization.



7. Alternative Payments This includes such online services as PayPal, Google Checkout, Yahoo! Wallet, and Bill Me Later. Customers store their debit or credit card information with these providers, making online transactions quick and easy.


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