What is a Merchant Account? In short a Merchant Account allows you to accept credit card payments for your products or services online!
In order to process credit cards in real time you must establish a merchant account. There are actually three steps in this process.
Step 1: The first is to setup a merchant account with a bank – such as Wachovia or Bank of America . This is done by going to the bank and providing them the proper information to open a bank account. It is often in the form of a checking account. Note they do not validate the credit cards, they only allow for a place for funds to be deposited once your credit card transactions are settled.
Step2: You must establish a credit card processor. This is the actual entity that handles the verification of the credit card. We would suggest E-Onlinedata which comes with a free Authorize.net gateway, which we will explain momentarily.
Step 3: You must then establish a payment gateway. This is the portal that transfers the transactions from a web site or a computer online to your credit card processor. We suggest authorize.net because they offer a low cost solution that takes care of both step 1 and step 2 all in one shot. Therefore all you would have to do is setup your merchant banking account and you receive a free authorize.net payment gateway so your credit card transactions can be processed online.
Example of How a Merchant Account Works
- Visitor goes to your site and adds products to their cart
- Chooses to checkout and enters in their credit card information
- Transaction travels through the authorize.net payment gateway securely
- Credit card processor verifies the transaction
- Visitor is notified of either a successful or failed transaction
- Funds are held by the processor for 24-72 hours
- Funds are then deposited into your Bank Account
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