Need for Speed: How to Get a Fast Merchant Account

If you’re an online business, having a good merchant account is vital. This kind of bank account allows you to accept credit cards for payment, so it’s one of the first things you’ll want to get up and running when you’re launching your ecommerce business. Every day that you don’t have a fast and functional merchant account is a day with lost profits, so it’s important to select one that will let you hit the ground running. Here’s your step-by-step guide to how to get a fast merchant account:

Step One: Do Your Research

Even before you open your application, you’ll need to know what your business looks like to the merchant account providers you’ll be applying to. If you’re a high risk business, (including subscription businesses, adult material, travel packages, or a startup, there are specialized merchant accounts for these businesses to help you get a merchant account fast.

If you’re not a high risk business, it’s still important to do research and understand what account provider is a good match for your business. The size of your business, whether you plan to scale up, if you want to accept international currency — all are important subjects to take into consideration before getting a fast merchant account.

Look at different processors and don’t be afraid to ask questions!  Some things to ask about include:

  • Transaction fees: How much will you be charged for each transaction?
  • Chargeback fees: Chargebacks are an unfortunate part of accepting credit card payments, and you won’t be able to prevent them altogether. But, you can at least prepare for what kind of fees you’ll have to pay in the event of a chargeback.
  • Fraud prevention:  Face-to-face credit card payment fraud is down 28 percent from just three years ago, but fraudulent card-not-present transactions (mostly online) are up 106 percent. Find a processor that’s Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant to ensure they’re up to date with the latest security requirements.
  • Integrations: It’s important to be able to integrate anywhere you want to. Some merchants offer over 300 integrations!
  • Reporting: Find out what kind of data your account provider can pass on to you.

Once you’ve found a promising account provider that meets your needs for a fast merchant account, it’s time to apply.

Step Two: Prepare Your Application

Once you decided on an ecommerce merchant account, you’ll fill out an application. This is a generally pretty straightforward process where you’ll provide some important information to the account provider. It can includes a cover letter that answers any potential questions or concerns, and spotlights any important experience or qualities that make you stand out from your competitors. Many merchant accounts require an underwriting process for approval. The application usually will ask for certain documents and information, so they’ll be able to run a credit and background check.

You’ll also probably be asked to provide your Employer Identification Number (EIN), business checking account information, a business license, your social security number, and other business operational information.

While this might sound like a lot, the application step shouldn’t take you too long to complete. Having all of your information accurate and documents filled out and ready to go will help you get a fast merchant account.

Step Three: Submit and Wait

It  can be hard to figure out an exact estimate for how long it will be in between submitting your application and getting your merchant account up and running: it might take anywhere from as little as 24 hours to a couple weeks. The length of time will depend on the kind of business you have, the kind of history you have as a business owner, and how organized and quickly you submit all the requested documents.

In most cases, waiting a few days isn’t an issue. But what if you really want to get your merchant account ready as soon as possible? Needing a fast merchant account approval can be an important priority in some scenarios. For example, what if you have to get your ecommerce store ready for a big holiday rush — you have a limited time frame to capitalize on your profits, and every day you aren’t approved is a day that you’re losing potential sales.

That’s when it’s a good idea to try to find a merchant provider that works with your business and guarantees you’ll be approved fast. Working with experienced providers, such as PayArc, will help.