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Merchant account

Your merchant
account explained

Getting a handle on merchant accounts is key to
taking card payments and running a successful business.

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Understanding merchant accounts

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merchant services

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credit card

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Issuing bank

What is a merchant account?

Any business that wants to start taking card payments must first set up a merchant account. This is an account designed specifically for the handling of credit and debit card transactions and is a key part of your merchant services.

Your merchant bank account is responsible for processing card payments and manages the relevant charges associated with credit and debit cards transactions.

The money you take from all card transactions is held in the merchant account before eventually being passed on to your business bank account.

Why do I need a merchant account?

The answer is simple: without a verified merchant account or merchant ID your business will be unable to accept card payments of any sort. Your merchant service provider (MSP) uses your merchant account to store your funds taken through card payments and transfer them onto your business bank account.

The merchant account also checks the customer’s card details are correct and makes sure there is enough money available for the payment to be completed successfully.

How do I open a merchant account?

  1. Find a merchant service provider that’s right for your business. At Paymentsense we offer merchant accounts to over 50,000 small businesses across a range of industries.
  2. Get in touch and get a quote for your card payment solution, whether in-store card machines, online payment gateways or over-the-phone virtual terminals.
  3. If you’re happy, accept the quote and once your merchant account is approved by the acquiring bank, you’ll be given a merchant ID, which will be linked to your new merchant account.

During your free quote, your merchant service provider will assess whether or not they can offer you a merchant bank account and will most likely ask you to provide the following information:

  • Business accounts
  • Current/expected turnover
  • Average transaction value
  • Frequency of transactions
  • Nature of business/product being sold
  • Percentage of transactions taken by credit/debit card

If you need to start taking cards quickly, look for the provider that offers the fastest possible setup, as some can take up to six weeks to process your merchant ID. At Paymentsense, we can get you set up with a card machine in 3 days and an online or over-the-phone solution in just 24 hours.

How much does a merchant account cost?

Depending on which payment processor you sign up with, it shouldn’t cost much at all. The good merchant accounts are free to open, and this is because the small transaction fee is enough to cover the cost. You will have to pay a small monthly amount to lease the card terminals but that’s the only other fee you should be paying besides the merchant fees.

The merchant account fees are what you pay on each transaction. There are two types of merchant fees: percentage and flat rate. Which fee applies to you depends on what sort of business you run. You’ll be able to work out which is best when you consider the type of things you sell.

Choose a card payment solution.

Once your merchant account is set up, you can accept cards in-store, online, over the phone and on the move.

It all starts here

Get set for card payments with your own merchant account

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or call us FREE on: 0808 274 3307