A crucial part of E-Commerce online is choosing the merchant provider for a merchant account that is perfect for your requirements. The more you learn about a merchant account and its significance, the better position you will be in to make your choice.

The procedure for getting yourself a merchant account, begins with the approval process, which may range from 30 minutes to a couple of days. Once the approval phase is completed, you’ll need to wait for about a week to activate your account.

But before you begin to use your merchant account, a couple of decisions have to be taken. Decide how you intend to process the credit card transactions. Choose between manual typing of your transactions into a software program or credit card terminal. Alternatively you could opt for real time credit approval by equipping your website to process transactions automatically.

In order to process credit card transaction, a software or tool will be necessary. In case you purchase equipment, get your merchant provider to program it for authentication with their network. For the real time option on the other hand, you have to get yourself affiliated with an Internet gateway that you’ll have to pay some kind of a monthly fee, to provide you connection to your merchant account.

A number of fees are involved in accepting credit cards through a merchant account. Here is a guide to understand them better.

  • Startup Fee: This one time cost to set up your account could be in excess of $99 depending on the provider you choose.
  • Credit Card Fee: Credit card carriers charge a credit card fee directly. Visa and Mastercard have a fee lower than that of American Express and Discover. 1.5% to 4% deduction per sale is the usual rate depending on the type of card and pre-negotiated rate. Taken off the top, it gets deducted from the charge amount before deposit in your account.
  • Transaction Fee: This is the merchant provider’s charge for covering costs of network, equipment, etc and may be between 10 cents to $1 per transaction. Also taken off the top, the deduction is done before depositing into your account.
  • Additional Fees: Providers may differ in the additional fees they charge for your account. Monthly statement fees, minimum traffic fees, charge back fees are typically included. This is why you need to be aware of the terms before signing up with a provider.

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