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To accept customer payments online and via credit card, you need an online payment processor or a merchant account.

An online payment processor collects payments from customers for you. They can hold the funds in your account with them and send the funds to your bank account. They will take a small fee for their services. A popular payment processor is PayPal, but there are many others. Simply put, an online payment processor is a service that enables you to pay, send money, and accept payments.

A merchant account allows a business to accept credit card and debit card payments, along with other types of electronic payments. A merchant account is also linked with a payment processor that manages the processing when customers pay for goods and/or services.

A merchant account usually requires an agreement between the merchant and the acquiring bank (the financial institution that processes the credit and debit card payments for the merchant) and any other parties involved in processing payments such as a payment processor, an independent sales organization (ISO), and/or a member service provider (MSP).

Where can I get a merchant account?

If you already have a business banking account, you could inquire whether your financial institution also offers merchant accounts (many do).

Another option is to establish a merchant service through an ISO or through your POS hardware provider––most have established partnerships with trusted payment processors. If you are processing online, eCommerce solutions often have merchant accounts built-in to their options and allow you to get up and running with ease.

Need help? Get free, live support from a BSA agent.

Connect with a small, black business advisor today. Let us help you through every step of signing up for a merchant account.

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