How to become a credit card merchant

How to become a credit card merchant

A Credit Card Merchant Account: Your Business Open Worldwide

Accept Online Credit Card Payments in Days

What is a credit card merchant account?

A credit card merchant account is a special type of bank account that enables e-commerce and POS businesses to accept credit card payments. However, not all banks provide these types of accounts. Acquiring banks work with merchant account providers as well as directly with business owners to establish these accounts. Some acquiring banks offer different merchant credit card processing solutions depending on location and business type.

How an Online Credit Card Merchant Account Works

Accepting credit cards online is a necessity for a business. Here’s a refresher on how an online credit card merchant account works. The steps are simple and happen in mere seconds.

  1. Your customer enters his credit card information into your secure website to purchase an item or service.
  2. When the customer submits the order, your website sends a transaction request from your server to your acquiring bank’s payment gateway, an online application accessible from any Web browser with an Internet connection. The payment gateway enables you to accept and process credit card transactions online the same way a POS terminal enables in-store credit card processing.
  3. The payment gateway forwards your customer’s transaction request to his credit card issuing bank. The issuing bank returns the results to both you and your customer.
  • If approved, the issuing bank notifies you and your customer and transfers the approved funds to your credit card merchant account.
  • If declined, the issuing bank will notify you and your customer, provides your customer with an explanation, and you will not receive any funds to your credit card merchant account.

The final steps of the process are settlement and payout. Once settled, your acquiring bank will send you the approved funds to the bank account of your choice. Alternatively, your acquiring bank may send Instabill the approved funds, which we will then send to you.

Regardless of who sends you your payout, you will receive it on time, every time, based on the payout schedule provided by your acquiring bank.

Not Every Bank Offers Credit Card Merchant Accounts

Since 2001, Instabill has filled a niche for the merchants of high risk businesses. We simply believe each and every business deserves to accept credit card payments, since it is the most common form of payment in North America.

There are banks that prefer not to offer merchant accounts, let alone a merchant account to a high risk businesses, for numerous reasons. It could be any of the following:

  • Dealing with businesses with high chargeback rates
  • Preference to avoid working with online or card not present businesses, which pose a higher risk for instances of fraud.
  • Reputational concerns in working with industries such as online gambling, online dating or adult content.

Credit Card Merchant Account Services with Instabill

Instabill provides a wide range of credit card payment services to business owners worldwide. We primarily work with e-commerce merchants but also provide solutions to MOTO merchants through a virtual terminal while our domestic solutions provide retail merchant accounts and mobile merchant accounts to US businesses.

With Instabill’s other merchant services, you can also find SSL certificates for your website, achieve PCI compliance and obtain an offshore company registration for your business.

Contact Us Today to Get Started

Regardless of your business type, location or risk factor, Instabill has credit card payment solutions you need. Credit card merchant accounts from Instabill are affordable, reliable and allow you to watch your business grow and thrive.

We pride ourselves in live customer support:Simply click the button to get started or call 1-800-318-2713 to speak with a merchant account manager today.

How to become a credit card merchant

Merchant services is one of the hottest industries in the country. Merchant services can surely be lucrative, but one of the first things that you will need to learn about merchant services is that there are a variety of services that fall under the umbrella of being in merchant services. One of those is payment processing. If you want to achieve a higher income, more streams of revenue, and a better relationship with your merchant clients, then one of the options that you may be considering is becoming a payment processor.

A payment processor is one of the most essential roles in the payments process. However, becoming a payment processor is somewhat difficult if you don’t know the proper steps and the benefits of becoming a payment processor facilitator. If you’re ready to become a payment processor, but don’t know where to start, then this guide will give you valuable insight that will show you how to enjoy the benefits of becoming a payment processor while also being aware of the potential drawbacks.

How to become a credit card merchant

One of the reasons that so many merchant services providers flock towards becoming a payment processor is that it does come with a number of benefits that make it absolutely the right choice for some. In order to make the decision for yourself whether you want to become a credit card processor you need to get to know the benefits of being a payment processing company a bit more. Here are some of the most well-known benefits of becoming a payment processor for merchants and businesses.

Revenue Streams

Most people that want to branch out to being a payment processor and create a more robust product offering are doing so because they want to diversify and expand their income streams. When you are a payment processor, you will be making money from payment processing in a variety of ways. This can help to reduce the risk involved in being in business and make it more feasible to have success in merchant services. While there is undoubtedly more responsibility and some more work involved to get things going, you can certainly experience improved and more stable income as a result of becoming a payment service provider.

More Control

One of the best aspects of running your business as a payment processor is that when you are a payment processing company, you have more control over the entire process. This means from the underwriting to the actual payment processing, your business will be involved. While some see more work in this arrangement, others see an increased opportunity to optimize and improve the process in a way that most directly benefits your business model. You’ll be able to evaluate risk and other factors in the way that you see fit and place importance on the factors that you think are important. While this does increase liability and put more of the burden on your business, it also could allow you to explore opportunities that you might not have been able to before and have real influence on the industry.

Streamlined Support

As a merchant services reseller, there are some benefits such as being able to outsource customer support. However, there comes a point where each professional must decide whether this is a benefit or a liability. Outsourced customer support or the act of passing on your customer to another company for tech support can feel bloated and inefficient. When you are a payment service provider, you will have more freedom to handle customer support on your own. This can mean that your customer support is a better experience overall. It will mean faster service times, more direct communication, and increased trust between you and your customer. This all leads to greater customer loyalty and overall a better business outlook.

How to become a credit card merchant

Though the concept of becoming a payment processor is somewhat easy to understand, the process does take time and effort if you want to have success. Here are the most important steps that you need to take if you want to become a payment processing company.


Perhaps the most important step is a good foundation. For a payment processing company, this often means registering with the proper authorities and making sure that you have all necessary paperwork in order. Be sure to do this before anything else, as it could leave you open to liability down the road.

Hire Staff/Facilities

The next thing you will have to do is build the infrastructure of your team and company. For payment processors, this means hiring staff and renting facilities that will house your business and carry out business functions for you.

Build Workflow

Now that you have all the permanent aspects in place for your business, it’s time to build the wireframe of your processes and workflow so that your business and employees understand how the business works.

Market Services

When you have everything set up, you can begin to get clients and market your services to anyone that can benefit from them. You will also build selling and commission programs to attract agents. This creates a funnel of clients and sets up your business for success into the future.

Do you want to learn how to become a credit card processing agent? Well, you’re in the right place!

Small business owners come in all shapes and sizes. Some are comprised of individual people hoping to make a little extra money each month while others are large-scale organizations, hoping to rule the world of business in a few short years. You’ll find a host of others in between. Wherever you, and your business, reside on the scale, Bankcard offers you the opportunity to partner with us as a credit card processing agent.

Benefits of Partnering With Bankcard as a Credit Card Processing Agent

As a credit card processing agent, you need to believe in the services you’re selling. Your clients can experience the difference with Bankcard. We’re committed to transparent, honest merchant services that you’re customers will enjoy, including:

  • FREE equipment
  • Month-to-month agreements (no long-term contracts)
  • No cancellation fees
  • 24/7 live customer support
  • Risk monitoring
  • Full-disclosure, transparent pricing
  • No batch or annual fees
  • Unlimited processing

In addition to sharing the potential of our outstanding POS systems and credit card processing tools, you also have access to our 24/7 sales staff who are experienced in selling and closing deals, bank level security, and superior customer support for your own needs as well as the needs of your customers. That’s before you even count the benefits listed below:

  • Ability to work from home
  • Lifetime residual income
  • Choosing your clients
  • Extensive collection of products and solutions to offer
  • Transparency in your financial reports
  • Customizable marketing materials
  • Comprehensive training programs (both live and on-demand)
  • Opportunities for higher revenue and bonuses
  • Full support for both you and your customers

We believe in the power of creating long-lasting partnerships and work constantly to nurture relationships with our partners. That’s why we offer state of the art technology to our partners to assist in your efforts to improve the sales process and your own profits.

Tips for Building a Successful Business as a Bankcard Processing Agent

In this role, you are essentially in business for yourself, but never by yourself. We offer an extensive set of tools and educational opportunities to not only prepare you for success but also help you out every step of the way. We even offer some helpful tips and advice to help you make the most of your role as a credit card processing agent for BankCard Services products.

  • Choose a niche. This allows you to specialize in one thing, so you can learn it well. Perhaps even become an expert in that niche. Focus on one thing in the beginning and expand your horizons as your knowledge, confidence, and comfort levels grow.
  • Learn everything you can about credit card processing. This will be your bread and butter. Make sure you know as much as possible about it and then stay on top of new laws, payment processing trends, new technologies, and the new products and services we offer at BankCard Services.
  • Market yourself. This is where being in business for yourself gets real. It’s time to build your brand and make your mark in the world of business. Doing so as a BankCard Services partner means you have an excellent group of services to offer so your name and brand can be associated with quality products, but it’s important for you to work to make a name for yourself, so you have room to grow and expand.

If you are committed to quality and excellence and want the opportunity to partner with an organization willing to invest in your training, provide you with the tools you need for success, and help you grow as a credit card processing agent, then Bankcard is the only name you need to know. Contact us today to learn more about opportunities to join as a credit card processing agent and the many benefits this role has to offer you.

How to Start A Credit Card Processing Company

  • Index
  • Merchant Services Information
  • How to Start A Credit Card Processing Company

How to become a credit card merchant

How to become a credit card merchant

Guide on How to Start A Credit Card Processing Company

Whether agents are looking to learn how to sell merchant services or how to start a credit card processing company, payment processing can be a very profitable business. Credit cards have been around for decades and more and more people each year use it as their primary mode of payment. The use of debit cards for online payments is a close second, and the number of new users just keep growing exponentially. With this high volume of transactions comes the high demand in credit transaction processors. Credit card processing companies are responsible in bridging between customer payments and merchant services.

The payment-processing industry can be cut-throat, but it is highly profitable. You have to go head to head against your competitors on a regular basis. But where does all this start? Read more below on how you can become a credit card payment processor.

How to become a credit card processor?

The idea of the business is straightforward, but it still takes more than a few pieces of equipment and profit projection to get the gears running.

Research Your Target Market and Niche
A good investment always starts with thorough research. Do a market analysis of probable clients in your area, or business partners across the world. What you’re looking for is the dominant niche of retailers who are most likely to avail of your services. Take a look at the services of your competitors and the rate that their customers are paying for it. You would want to offer a more comprehensive deal for the same price as your competitors or for a lower amount.

  • Create a survey on businesses in the area.
  • Gather data on the most common services they use.
  • Check their satisfaction level with their current provider.
  • Collect client information such as e-mail addresses or phone numbers.

Generate a Profitable Business Plan

The next step is to create a business plan for your operations. You need to have a scale on how your processing company works. This should cover the services you will offer and the pricing range for each, your sales and marketing force and their compensation. Your business plan will be your guideline and benchmark for all business-related decisions that you will make along the way.

Include all important details such as your capital and how you will obtain it as well as the estimated cost for your operations.

You have two options: franchise a processing company or start independently. If you opt to franchise an existing company, you wouldn’t have to worry about setting up a business model, finding equipment, and most importantly, building relationships with banks. However, franchising will require a huge sum to get started. Not only that, the parent company from which you franchised yours will also cut through your profits and may require you to top up based on the revenue you have generated.

An independent business has its own upside too. It may cost less as you are starting out. You are not tied to any contract which may reduce your profit, but this can be a downside for you as well. Starting out means making a name for such a young brand with many competitors around. You still need to develop relationships with banks you could finance your business.

Get Your Financial Sources Together

You need to consider where to get your main financing and if your capital can sustain the day to day operational cost until you see revenue. A credit card processing company needs a minimum of $50,000 capital on average. This is based on a small business with a physical office location. You have to consider a secondary source as a fallback plan in case unexpected expenses arise.

Launch, Market, Succeed

The last step is to execute your business plan. The key to continuous growth in a business is having a good marketing strategy. Given the many competitors already established, you need to make your business stand out. Reach out to business networks and other organizations to widen your client reach. Prepare a template for quotations and contracts to close a deal as quick as possible. And when a customer entrusts their company on you, always put out the best service as possible. Referrals from merchants are very important in growing your company.

How to sell merchant services

How to become a credit card merchantThe hows of selling merchant services start with you. As a merchant services agent, you need to familiarize yourself with the whole flow from transaction processing to acquiring payments with your bank.

You need to be an expert on your role as a payment processor to be able to prove to merchants that you are much worth paying for than other Merchant Service Providers (MSPs).

In a way, you are a wholesale buyer of processing rates, which you can then retail to merchants at a profitable price. As your business grows, the residual (profit) amount you get grows with that as well. But to grow in your trade, people have to recognize your business assets. This is where your marketing strategy works for you.

Here are some of the business assets you can prepare for your credit card payment processing company:

  • Business Cards
  • Social Media
  • Business Website
  • Flyers
  • Pamphlets
  • Local Directory
  • White/ Yellow Pages

Tips for selling merchant account services

When you’re selling merchant account services, you are not selling credit card processing service per se, but you are actually selling yourself. Most potential clients are already aware that they need credit card processors. What you want them to see is why they need your own services. Why should they choose you, if there are hundreds of others who can offer them the same thing?

Show the benefits clients will earn from you and not just the special discounts they might get from your company. A higher profit drive is more appealing as a sales pitch rather than just focusing on the low price offer. An alternative to retaining your rates is waiving other fees such as annual payments or termination fees. You can also show the job done with your other merchants. If you can, show numbers as proof of growth, and use your merchants’ testimonials to back up your services.

Never be afraid to pitch yourself to potential customers. Reach out to every possibility and strike the iron while it’s hot. You should also follow up on your initial pitches to clients. Building a better relationship with them will get you a long way when they finally agree to sign up to your business.

Individuals ready to go out and start a credit card processing company have all the tools they need for success with Allied Payments.

The general opinion is that selling credit card processing is lucrative. Well, that’s true, but the big question is: How much money can you actually make out of this business? And there’s no straight answer to this quiz because often times your income depends on how hard you work. It certainly leads to the next question; what’s the earning potential for selling credit card processing? And the ideal answer is: the leading sales reps can make over $100k per year. Find out below how they do it.

Agents usually receive up to $500 each time they sign a new client— the amount is strictly paid for signing the deal. On top of that, they earn a bonus to the tune of $1,250 per month. And while this is an easy way to hassle and earn good money right away, it’s peanuts compared to where the business is money-spinning— direct sales of credit card processing, known as RESIDUALS.

But what are residuals? Each time a clients uses their credit card to accept payments through their merchant account; the processing company earns a small percentage of the sale (any amount ranging from a few pennies to some dollars.) The processing company continues receiving this pre-determined amount for as long as the merchant is enjoying its credit card processing services. The sales representative who signed on the client earns about 60% split of this income. Meaning every time the merchant swipes a credit card, the sales rep is making money. This is known as residual income.

And if the math of a few dollars adding up to a $100,000/year still seems ambiguous to you then look at it this way. If a representative signs on 15 clients per month and at an average of $50/client every month, he/she gets to increase their monthly income to around $750. And through 12 months of uphill struggle, they will have raised their monthly earnings to $9,000. Any layman can tell that this equals to $108,000 per year!

You are thinking about becoming an MIT merchant, but want to know more before signing up. You have many immediate business decisions to make: what you are going to sell, how donations will be accepted, how much credit card transactions cost, what new equipment will be required. Learning about becoming a credit card merchant and making these decisions at the beginning will help you understand what your role as a credit card merchant is and if this is the right solution for you and your department.

Regardless of how you plan to accept credit cards in your business, all potential MIT merchants first have to apply for merchant status and be approved.

To become a credit card merchant at MIT, you have to:

  • Have some goods, gifts, or services you want to sell (e.g., catalogs, glass pumpkins, registration conference fees) or donations you want to accept (e.g., MIT Alumni Association gifts).
  • Know the different situations in which you can accept an order and payment:
    • Face-to-Face (credit card is present): This is a retail type of purchase although it could occur at a conference or be a front desk type of scenario.
    • Over the phone (credit card is not present): Customers may call into a merchant and pay via a credit card.
    • On the Web (credit card is not present): Customers may interact directly with a website and be requested to process their own payment through a payment page.

You can also be a one-time merchant if you only need a merchant account for a single conference or event and have no plans for ongoing use.

You can learn more about:

  • MIT’s Merchant Statement
  • Policies and Compliance
  • Merchant Business Plan Application
  • Ongoing renewal and compliance responsibilities: Annual Renewal Process
  • Merchant application

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Merchant Services, 600 Technology Square, NE49-3rd floor

If your business has high transaction volume and specialized payment needs, a merchant account may make sense

Published: June 30, 2020

How to become a credit card merchant


Many businesses are taking more credit card payments during the COVID-19 crisis. And if you process a high volume of transactions and have specialized payment needs, a merchant account may make sense for you. Here’s what you need to know.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

How to become a credit card merchant

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Some are doing this on the fly by using providers such as PayPal, Square and Clover. These services don’t require businesses to open a merchant account to take payments and simply charge a flat fee for transactions.

However if you do a substantial volume of transactions – generally $50,000 to $100,000 or more – or operate in an industry with specialized payment needs, it may make sense to open a merchant account. The pricing may be lower or more tailored to the unique quirks of your industry.

How to find a merchant account provider

This entails opening a merchant account with a company known as an acquirer or acquiring financial institution. This is a bank that will process and settle your daily credit card transactions and then settle them with the card association, such as Visa or Mastercard. You need to have this account to be credited for credit card transactions.

Many acquirers sell their services through what are called independent sales organizations, or ISOs. The ISOs process applications and screen out merchants they think may be involved in fraudulent transactions or have a lot of chargebacks.

To find a merchant account provider, ask around in your industry for one that knows your type of business. Trade associations can be a good source. Your accountant or banker may also be able to suggest one.

How to avoid scams

There are a number of scammers in the area of merchant processing, and some are quite sophisticated. Before you engage with a merchant processor or ISO, even one that has been recommended by someone else, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s website and search for its name. The FTC has pursued a number of cases against fraudsters in the industry.

When you find a reputable merchant account provider and file an application for an account, they are likely to look at factors such as the type of business you run and whether there’s a high risk in your industry of fraud or returns, how long you’ve been in business, your business history and your credit history.

What costs are associated with a merchant account?

It is important to shop around and make sure you read the fine print in your contract before you sign.

A merchant account comes with costs other than transaction fees. There may be fees to open the account and a monthly fee to maintain it. There may also be fees to maintain secure technology. Also pay attention to any tiered pricing structures, upgrade fees and cancellation fees.

The FTC has published an article that lists the types of fees you may be charged, and I encourage every merchant to check it out. Fees can have a big effect on how much you really pay and often are negotiable, so don’t hesitate to ask if some fees can be waived.

Once your application is approved, you will get a merchant account – a bank account that lets merchants take debit and credit card payments. When someone makes a purchase from you, the money will go into that account and then be transferred to your business bank account after the transaction clears.

Industries that are considered “high risk” because they have a greater track record of credit card fraud and returns may have to open a merchant account with a specialized merchant account provider that offers “high-risk” accounts. Their fees can be significantly higher, so here, again, it is essential to shop around.

Bottom line

Does this take a lot of research? Yes, but your time will be well spent. With payments becoming increasingly electronic, the more you know about how to process credit cards efficiently, the better.

And the right merchant account provider or ISO can become an essential part of your team, keeping you up to date on key trends and developments in payment processing so you can stay one step ahead of them.

How to become a credit card merchant

Creating a merchant account is in the merchant’s best interest. Even in the brick-and-mortar retailing, customers do not always have cash on them. So, the owners of such businesses have to open merchant accounts to be able to process and receive credit card payments.

And it is even more critical for online businesses that want to process credit card payments.

Getting such an account is a long procedure. But don’t you worry: in this article, we will walk you through it step by step.

But first things first. Let’s define what a merchant account really is.

What is a merchant account ?

A merchant account is an agreement between a merchant and an acquiring bank. This agreement allows the former to process and accept credit card payments. By signing this agreement, a merchant agrees to abide by the operating regulations established by Visa, MasterCard, or any other brand.

Acquiring a merchant account is a way for a merchant to grow his business by reaching out to a greater number of customers willing to pay for his goods and services with a credit card, not cash.

Now the only question left is how to open this account and where.

How to create a merchant account

First and foremost, there are many things one has to take into account before making a final decision about a merchant account provider.

And while the best rates and the most attractive conditions totally depend on the type of your business, its size, turnover, processing history, and many more other details, we would like to point out the most critical things you simply cannot afford missing.

1. Choose credit card brands to work with.

This is the starting point of your journey. Begin with analyzing what credit card brands are important to you. This answer depends on the demographics of your target audience.

You might only need Visa and MasterCard. But if your clients come from countries with their own unique credit card brands, then make sure that the bank you want to open an account with offers you such an opportunity.

To give you an idea of how that works, here is what the trusted sources report about the popularity of different credit card brands in different parts of the world.

How to become a credit card merchant

Credit card brand leaders by country

So far, Visa remains a #1 choice in more than 120 countries. It leaves MasterCard and American Express far behind.

2. Figure out the payment model.

As a merchant, you might offer your clients various payment models, be it recurring billing or one-time payments. See whether the bank supports both of these payment models for your type of business. And if so, find out what rates the bank offers and choose the one with the most acceptable rates for you.

3. Analyze your turnover.

The rates banks establish depend on the turnover of the business. So, be ready to provide the financial institution with all the essential documents that display your financial state and card turnover within the last year or so.

4. Start looking for a (local) bank.

We often recommend our clients to open a merchant account with a local bank meaning the bank that is under the same jurisdiction the merchant’s business is registered. The thing is that they offer the best rates and traffic performance. Therefore, before you study your international options, look for a local bank to collaborate with.

Besides, you should always aim for getting a merchant account at a bank you have your real account opened at. In this case, the fact that a merchant stores a certain amount of money on his account significantly increases bank’s trust and ensures better conditions.

However, for those owning an international business, finding a local bank in each and every country they work with is not an option. It will simply take ages given the duration of the opening, setting up and integration processes.

That is why they can use the assistance of Payment Service Providers which often got it all covered.

And while still on the subject, startups, high-risk merchants and businesses that have been in the business for less than two years (or those with no processing history) should also use the services of an experienced Payment Service Provider. This increases a merchant’s chances of getting a merchant account and eliminates dozens of business risks associated with payment processing. And it saves merchant’s nerves and efforts.

5. Prepare your website.

To get a merchant account, you need to prepare your website (as long as you run an online business). Comb through it to ensure that it complies with all the Visa and MasterCard requirements.

If you use the services of a Payment Service Provider, they can help you at this stage. If not, then it is your responsibility to ensure that the checkout is secure and product and delivery options descriptions are clear.

Another important thing to take into account is the domain information of your website. To get a merchant account, one must have a website with a unique domain and website’s own hosting.

6. Gather all the documents.

The next step would be gathering all the documents and submitting them to the bank. The documents include a detailed list of all the business activities you are going to conduct, a voided check for the checking account, and tax returns. The list might vary from bank to bank with new documents added to the list. More about all the required documents here.

7. Submit an application form.

Finally, fill out an application form for the account in question. Once you submit the form along with all the previously gathered documents, the bank will look into your application form and make a final decision.

Finally, the merchant will need to pay a setup fee for the account. This is not the only fee the merchant account provider will charge. Among others are the monthly and decline fee, as well as chargeback and refund fees. Be sure to read a section in the contract where they are mentioned carefully not to be caught by surprise later.

As soon as the bank sets up your account, you can start processing and accepting credit card payments.