Merchant Accounts

    You’ll lose sales if you don’t take credit card payments.

    But getting started taking credit card payments can be complicated. We’ll break payments down for you in easy to understand pieces. So you can get started taking credit card payments and get back to business.  To get started with credit card payments you need 5 things:

    We’ll help you learn about the things below:

    1. You need a merchant account provider.
    2. You need access to the credit card network through your website, mobile phone or credit card terminal.
    3. You need an understanding of how credit cards work and what you need to do to follow credit card rules.
    4. You need to know your sales volume.
    5. You need to know how you want to sell to your customers: website, in-person or both.


    A payment gateway is a service that sends transactions (Most of the time we’re talking about credit cards.) This service submits your customer’s purchase to the credit card network, the customer’s bank and sends an OK or a decline back to you. If you get an OK you ship your product or hand your product to the customer. The payment gateway also tells your customer’s bank to put money in your merchant account.

    Ok. So what is a merchant account? A merchant account holds money collected through a payment gateway. This is where you money is until your money is sent to a regular bank account. You’ll get your money in anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. The faster the better of course. A merchant account provider sets up this special account for you, checks your bona fides, and monitors your behavior. Typically the merchant account provider is a bank of some sort. What’s great is that the payment gateway already has a merchant account provider relationship. So you don’t need to find both a payment gateway and a merchant account provider. You can just pick a payment gateway.

    Credit Card Network: Website, Smartphone, or Credit Card Terminal

    There are different ways to take credit card payments. You’ll need to decide if you want to use your website, iPhone or iPad or a credit card terminal.

    What are the rules you need to follow?

    Refunds: When your customer asks for a refund you should provide it. Also you should put your refund policy clearly on your website. You can do something like full refunds within 30 days. Or full refunds within 30 days no questions asked. Generally, showing a refund policy is also a good sales tool.

    Chargebacks: Chargebacks are when your customer does not like the purchase they made. They complain to their bank. Their bank sends the complaint to your payment gateway. Your payment gateway contacts you and charges you a fee. What is the fee for? The fee is a processing fee as the payment gateway will fight the dispute on your behalf. You need to respond to the chargeback disputes in a reasonable timeframe.

    PCI DSS: Finally you need to keep your customer’s credit card information secure and follow PCI DSS regulations. There easy ways to do this such as using tools provided by your payment gateway.

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