This is the easy part! Once you’ve decided which payment processor you want to work with, and have read the contract to verify that the rates and fees match what you were quoted, it’s time to apply for an account.
When you sign up for a merchant account with an ISO, MSP or direct processor, you fill out the application portion of the contract. This is often online, but many sales reps are happy to walk you through the application over the phone. You provide details about both your business and yourself, including your employer ID, Social Security number and bank account information.
The processor then reviews your application and sets up your account. This usually takes up to two days; some processors can get it done the same day you apply, while others take up to a week. Your sales rep can help you decide what processing equipment you need and any extra features – like gift cards and loyalty programs – are needed. Once your equipment arrives, the processor will help you set it up and test it to make sure it works properly, and ensure you know how to use it.
If you sign up with a payment facilitator instead, the process is very easy. You fill out an online form to create your account by entering some brief information about yourself and your business. Then, you can order processing equipment and download the app onto your phone or tablet.
Frequently asked questions about credit card processing
What is credit card processing?
Credit card processing is a series of actions that securely move money from a customer’s credit card account to your company’s bank account. It takes multiple parties to do this – credit card companies, banks and processors – and each of them takes a portion of the transaction fees you pay the processor in exchange for their services.
How does credit card processing help my business?
Credit card processing helps your business by offering your customers more payment options. With it, you can accept all major credit cards and debit cards. With a new credit card reader, your business can accept payments using contactless cards and mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
What are the benefits of credit card processing? Can’t I just accept cash?
You could just accept cash – and some businesses do – but you risk losing business from customers who prefer to pay with credit and debit cards. According to the Federal Reserve’s 2018 report on the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, 30% of all transactions are paid in cash, 27% using debit cards and 21% credit cards. Of course, these numbers shift depending on the dollar amount of the transaction, the type of business you have and your customers’ age.