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Credit Card Processing Terminal
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By: Arlette Measures
Merchant Account FAQ

Q: What information do I need to submit when applying for a merchant account?

A: You be asked to give basic information about your business, and yourself. You will need to supply your business name, address, and phone number, along with your e-mail ddress, and your anticipated sales volume.

Q. Do I need to have a business checking account?

A. You only need a business checking account if you are a corporation. If you are a sole proprietorship you may use a personal checking account or a business checking account.

Q. Do I need to be a U.S. Citizen to have a merchant account?

A. Most U.S. based merchant account providers will require proof that you are a U.S. citizen, with a valid social security number. For non U.S. based businesses, there is a completely different processing procedure.

Q. What is the discount rate?

A. This is the percentage of each sale, which the bank collects as payment for their credit card processing services.

Q. How long does the approval process take?

A. Most accounts can be approved within 24 hours, once all necessary information has been received.

Q. Will I be required to have a business license?

A. You can obtain a merchant account without a business license, name registration, or dba certificate, although having one or more of these can be helpful.

Q. What if my credit score is not as high as it could be?

A. Look for a merchant account vendor that has high approval rates. They might be able to get you approved even if your credit isn't stellar.

Q. What credit cards will I be able to accept?

A. With a merchant account, you will be able to accept MasterCard, Visa and bank ATM debit cards. Some merchant accounts also allow you to process gift cards and electronic checks.

Q. How will I get my money?

A. Your money will be deposited directly into your bank account.

Q. What security and fraud prevention measures do vendors use?

A. With most vendors, you can set up your account to accept or reject transactions based on the card code verification (CW2) system, which uses the three or four digit code located on the back of every credit card. You can also use the Address Verification System (AVS) to compare the billing address supplied by the customer against the one on file with the bank that issued the card. Your vendor should also make additional layers of security available to you, with solutions such as the Advanced Fraud Detection Suite, which uses powerful tools and filters to prevent fraudulent transactions.

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