A small business merchant account is needed in order to collect credit card payments. Studies show that over 87% of all web transactions and over 52% of all face-to-face transactions are purchased using a credit card for a payment method. If you need to open a merchant account follow these simple steps.

Things You Will Need


Step 1

Choose your Merchant Provider. Determine if you will take online payments, in person payments or some combination of both options. Each option will require you to set up a different type of merchant account so this is critical to determine. Research the various merchant providers available to you online. Be clear about all fees involved including: application fee, equipment rental fee, set up fee, any monthly fee and how much the merchant charges you per transaction (usually a percentage).

Step 2

Fill out your application. Don't forget to give the prospective merchant account provider all the information they need the first time. Leaving anything blank on your application will surely delay the process greatly! It's a good idea to phone your prospective merchant account provider with any questions you have during the process. Make sure all compliance forms are signed, copied and faxed over to your provider.

Step 3

Waiting for word. It typically takes 5-7 business days for a small business merchant account provider to approve new application. They typically need to run credit checks and your application goes to an underwriter much like as in a loan process where they will determine if you are a good risk or not. Don't hesitate to call if you need to know where they are in the process.

Step 4

Approved Applications. Congratulations - you are approved! This means that you can immediately begin accepting credit cards as a form of payment for your small business. Now is the time to rent any credit card swiping equipment you may need and to download any merchant software. Best to get the assistance of a web professional to lend you a hand if you are not skilled in this area.

Step 5

Denied Applications. Do not be discouraged if your application is denied. Many providers are extremely rigid in their requirements. Just repeat the above process shown above to open a small business merchant account until you are approved.

Tips & Warnings