Not all merchant accounts are equal

In order for your business to accept and process Internet orders you need a payment gateway and a merchant account. Many providers of merchant account services can help you to set-up both. But do you know that there are many factors to consider when choosing a merchant services provider?
Merchant account vs. Internet merchant account

A merchant account is an agreement between the business, a merchant bank and a payment processor which allow the retailor to accept basically credit and debit cards. If you are going to do business online you need an Internet merchant account that is somewhat different from a merchant account because it is mainly established to accept credit cards services online. One big difference is that they have different fee structures.

Typically Internet merchant account fees are higher than your merchant account fees because it assumes a higher risk. Even though you can obtain your merchant account from your bank, however, if you intend to conduct Internet sales, consider obtaining your Internet merchant account from an online payment processing service such as since they can handle different cards you intend to accept.

Fees and service charges

Fees charged by merchant accounts include monthly fees, transaction fees and discount fees. Some merchant credit card processing services charge $4.95 monthly service fee but waive it depending on the membership you hold with them. Per transaction fee also vary between service providers. Industry average could be between 0.12 cents to 0.15 cent per transaction. Fees for a high risk merchant account may be higher. Be aware of other fees such as batch fees and one time fees such as application fee. Be mindful of charges by the credit card services companies such as Visa and Master Card too. You need to shop around for the better pricing.
Some merchant account services refuse to accept high risk merchant accounts such as online gambling, insurance businesses, adult oriented businesses and similar categories. Some even may not work with start-up businesses or what they consider as bad credit clients. You need to be aware of these limitations before selecting a service for a merchant account.


Whether you like it or not, the Internet opens your business to the whole world. Therefore, you need service 24/7. Many merchant account services companies offer 24/7 customer service including merchant credit card processing but be aware of limitations.

Comments are closed