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6 Questions To Ask Before Opening A Merchant Account

Apr 25, 2008
A merchant account is essential in order to become eligible for accepting payments over the internet. In order to get a merchant account, one must approach a right kind of merchant service provider. However, selecting a right merchant service provider can be a difficult task considering the number of banks and independent service organizations providing merchant services. Below listed are some basic aspects one must always keep in mind while approaching any service provider for opening an account.

1. What are the basic requirements for opening an account? In general, the foremost requirements for opening a merchant account with any bank or independent service organization are to have a registered commercial website and also good credit ratings. However, one should always seek clarification with regard to credit ratings. This means whether the bank requires the credit ratings of the owner or the ratings of the business.

2. What sorts of documents are required by the bank in order to open a merchant account? Documentation required for opening an account is at sole discretion of the bank providing the service. In general, documents required include registration details of the website and also the credit reports. While some banks want to verify the business history of the firm and its credit ratings, others just require the credit rating of the owner. In order to get qualified for the account, one must have an exceptional credit rating that is supported by great credit scores. It is important to have all the documents in place before approaching the bank for opening an account. Banks don't approve whatever application comes their way. In case of merchant services, banks are a bit choosy about the companies they offer service. Usually, start-up firms and individuals with bad credit histories are not encouraged for providing merchant services. Apart from this, banks also suggest merchants to deposit certain amount of money with the bank as collateral. It is important to inquire about all these aspects before filing an application.

3. How long does it take to get the account? While most banks provide assurances of completing the process within 48hrs, it can take up to 2 weeks depending on the time taken to submit all the relevant documents.

4. How much experience does the bank have in handling merchant services? The way a bank scrutinizes the credibility of the customer, the customer should also verify the credibility of the bank. Not all banks are experienced in this sector. It is always better to approach a bank that is specialized in this area.

5. What if the applicant doesn't have any website? The answer for this question varies from provider to provider. While some provider don't even prefer to talk to applicants who don't have a live site, certain providers do open the account but keep it inactive until the applicant creates a running live web portal.

6. What are the costs involved to open an account? These costs differ from provider to provider. It is always important to inquire about all the relevant costs that are being levied by the provider and also obtain a complete list of fee schedule so as to avoid any confusion.
About the Author
Todd I. Nelson is the Director of Marketing for Capital Merchant Solutions Inc (CMS). CMS specializes in providing merchant account services to all business owners, both brick and mortar, as well as ecommerce businesses. Their website can be found at http://www.TakeCardsToday.com.
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