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Merchant

 The first step to accepting credit and debit card payments is to set up a merchant account. A merchant account allows card payments and chargebacks to be made to a merchant-nominated bank account.

 Not all banks offer merchant accounts. Ask your existing bank whether they offer merchant accounts, though you do not have to use the same bank to process card payments. It may be worth shopping around to compare charges.

Before setting up a merchant account for you, your acquiring bank will request a wide range of information. This is used to assess your business and to determine the level of charges you'll have to pay for each transaction.

You may need to open a number of merchant accounts if you want to accept card payments for different sales channels. For instance, if you sell goods from a retail shop and through an e-commerce website you'll need separate accounts for your online and face-to-face sales. You should talk to your bank about your requirements.

It takes between one and four weeks to open a merchant account. The process may take slightly longer for start-up businesses and banks may want to see additional information such as a business plan and cashflow forecasts

 

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