A merchant account is a key component of doing business in today’s world. Without the ability to accept payment for your goods or services, it is impossible to build or maintain a company. Unfortunately, getting a merchant account is not always as easy as you would like. Understanding your options is important, as you will need to make an informed decision on what is best for you and your business – both now and moving forward into the future.
Three Types of Merchant Accounts
Most people today use credit cards to pay for everything, and these people include your potential customers. So you are probably wondering, “How can I accept credit card payments?” The answer may be simple, or it may be more complex, depending on your situation. Let’s take a look at your three options, Third Party Partner, Merchant Providers and Aggregate Merchant Accounts:
- Third Party Partner
“How do I accept credit card payments?”, you ask. Well, one solution that many vendors are utilizing is the third party partner. These companies, like Paypal, Google Checkout and Square, offer one way to take payments for your goods and services. There are some things you should be aware of about third party partner options, however. You have to use the 3rd party’s checkout system, whether you like it or not. You also are going to pay higher processing costs generally. There are limited protections if something goes wrong or if someone acts dishonestly in the transaction. The transactions will be processed under the name of the provider – not just your business name.
- Merchant Providers
You may be wondering, “How can I accept credit card payments like a standard business?” The old-school way of doing business was to get a merchant account with a standard provider, but this was a major task for most companies. For one thing, you have to have good credit to begin with, and you have to go through a serious vetting process to verify your eligibility. The merchant account provider does not want to take any unnecessary risks, so it will go over your business with a fine-toothed comb to see if everything is to its liking. If you are unlucky enough to be in any type of business that is considered high-risk, you are unlikely to be able to get a traditional account unless you work with a company that specializes in high risk.
The term high-risk is surprisingly broad to these companies. Adult industries, medical marijuana providers, international sales, moto-merchants, online stores in general – all of these tend to fall under the high-risk category. “How can I accept credit card payments if I’m high-risk?”, you ask? Well, to do this you have to sign up with a high-risk merchant account – like those provided by Painless Processing. It takes a special kind of merchant account provider to handle all of the business that the standard merchant account providers are not willing to take on. Although it does not always make a lot of sense, these standard merchant account providers are so risk-averse that they are not even willing to benefit from these booming businesses financially, putting business people like you in a seemingly tough position. Fortunately, our company understands the realities of today’s business world.
- Aggregate Merchant Account
This is the least desirable solution for you as a business owner. Aggregate merchant accounts rose up out of the demand created when standard merchant account providers refused to help out up-and-coming businesses. Aggregated accounts are far less discriminating when it comes to who can and who cannot open up an account. However, this tends to lead to higher fees for every transaction.
Aggregate merchant accounts operate by having a legitimate dedicated merchant account, and then piggybacking other accounts on to that original account. This manages to avoid the unreasonable standards created by the standard merchant account companies, giving many businesses a way to take credit card payments without needing to open up an actual account.
Another problem with aggregated accounts is that you lose much of the control you would have with your own account. You are at the mercy of the actual account holder, the provider of the aggregated account. This is why they can often charge so much more than others do – because they have you in an unenviable position.
Which Type of Account To Choose
You definitely need a way to take credit cards. Your decision of which option to utilize will depend on your needs, but you can use a general rule to narrow it down. Ideally, you want as much control as you can get while minimizing your costs. This is why most businesses want their own merchant account if possible. At Painless Processing, we help you obtain this type of account. Just because your business is considered high-risk does not mean you should not have access to a full-featured account.