Information on Merchant Accounts,
Ecommerce and Credit Card Processing

July 28th, 2008 by Jamie Estep

What do you really need in a merchant account?

Filed in: Merchant Accounts | 7 comments

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to have lunch with the owner of one of the largest online retailing websites in the world. He was looking for a new company to process with, and brought up some good points that I think can really help business owners looking to accept credit cards.

As far as processing goes, what is important to a business doing $10M+ per month?

  1. It needs to work, period!
  2. God forbid something does go wrong, it needs to get fixed, fast!
  3. A “fair” price!

It needs to work!

There’s no question that cost is not important if your processing system is not working. A processing system needs to work fast, be completely seamless, and should not have problems, ever…

Ideally a business would not even know they have a merchant account would it not be for that monthly statement.

An invisible merchant account is a good merchant account!

If something does go wrong, it needs to get fixed, fast!

When a second of downtime can cost thousands of dollars in missed revenue, any problems in a credit card processing system needs to be fixed without delay. While service availability and processing connectivity issues should not be a problem, nothing is 100% guaranteed.

Businesses need to know that someone is always there to fix any unforeseen issues, immediately.

I am getting a “fair” price!

It’s not important to get the lowest price on earth, but if someone else costs 25% less, there’s a problem. A quality service costs money, but is also competitively priced. Cost should be low enough that a business owner doesn’t immediately consider switching when someone comes along with something a little lower. The quality of service should make up for any minor differences in price.

Conclusion – the perfect merchant account – The perfect merchant account is competitively priced and stays that way. Regardless of the processing method, it does not have problems with connectivity or in getting a business the money that they process. There must be someone on the other end of a phone, ready to correct any problem that should happen to arise, and problems should be rare. Does your merchant account work this way?

A business owner has better things to do than worry about their merchant account!

7 Responses to “What do you really need in a merchant account?”

  1. ecards September 11, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Great post, really, but at the end I was looking for the current top recommendations :).

    I’m worried about using reviews that are even a year old because it seems like the offerings are being updated so quickly.

    Thank you.

  2. RJ September 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Did this person happen to list any merchant accounts that they use or have used? One would think that if you are a really large store, you have probably seen at least a couple different merchants.

  3. TigerTom September 19, 2008 at 7:39 am

    Another criterion for a lot of webmasters:

    ‘It needs to accept my dodgy business which is going to get loads of chargebacks’.


  4. Bill September 24, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    There are so many factors when considering your merchant account and cost is just one of them. What are you going to do about returns? If your return rate is to high, you get shut. That is just one more thing to think about.

  5. Mark October 23, 2008 at 1:12 am

    One of the biggest things i find, is that you will set up your merchant account, but your American Express account still isn’t set up.

    Every time you create a Merchant Account for any new business you run, make sure you sign up for American Express. So many businesses we set up don’t accept Amex for the first couple of days.

    Also, some retail style stores accept tips. If you are in retail and accept tips, make sure you use the correct processor.

    All in all, if you think you are getting a good rate, look again and force the competing businesses to offer you more. Besides rates you won’t get much in service past the beginning, so you have to get your benefits up front.

  6. Michael November 8, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    I’ll disagree with Mark’s point about service. If you go with one of the “mega processors” and deal with a sales rep, he’s right.

    However, if you work with an ISO, you’re dealing with a business owner. And that means, you’ll get service because they don’t want to lose the account, since their monthly revenue is based on total client processing volume.

    Yes, it really does make a difference who you choose to help you get set up. I would also recommend asking for references. Sounds old-fashioned, but it makes good business sense.

  7. student jobs leeds November 20, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    The general discussion in this article is good. But it would be good if you would mention the names of a few best ones and not just name them, but compare there offers. It would be of a greater help.