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What are Merchant Account Fees for Small Businesses

If you own or operate a business, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be required to pay merchant account fees. These fees act as the buffer between your financial institution and your customers when your customers are paying via credit card. Understanding how these fees work is essential for small business owners because those fees can be substantial if the merchant account isn’t managed correctly. Merchant accounts are the gateway to accepting credit cards as a form of payment from your customers. Taking credit cards and making sales would be impossible without a merchant account. Here is how you get a merchant account.

1. Determine Your Credit Card Processing Needs

Merchant account fees are determined by the processing level you require. The fees vary from merchant to merchant account, but the size of your business determines the type of processing you need. If you run a small business, you may need a primary or standard-level merchant account that allows you to accept credit cards. Also, you’ll need to decide whether you need payment options through your merchant account.

2. Study the Merchant Services Providers Market

The market for merchant services is a highly competitive one. There are several providers, each offering a different service level. Take the time to research your options thoroughly to find the best provider for your specific business needs. It would be best if you compared different providers to get an idea of how much each one will cost your business over the long term.

3. Get Your Website Ready

You can’t function effectively without a website and an e-commerce presence when it comes to merchant account services. While your website won’t be a requirement when you purchase a merchant account, you must have one in place before your system is activated. Check with your provider to ensure they can start their system on the same day their software is delivered, but they may require that you have several dates available.

4. Gather the Relevant Documentation

When you’re ready to sign up for a merchant account, you’ll first have to gather the relevant documentation. Some providers will ask for identification, including your photo ID, credit card statements from the past three months, and bank statements from the past six months. Other providers will ask for proof of your business address and additional information. Most providers won’t accept faxed documents, so it’s best to provide hard copies of everything instead.

5. Submit Your Application

After you have gathered all your documentation, you can submit it to the provider. After reviewing the information, they will contact you to discuss their findings and answer any questions you may have. During this telephone call, make sure that you ask about any fees that may be associated with your account. If fees seem too high for your business, consider looking into other providers that charge less or offer fewer fees for their services.

6. Prepare for Underwriting

Once they have reviewed your documentation, the provider will send you to a third-party underwriting company. This company acts as a “middle-man” between the provider and your business, using its role as a “gatekeeper” to determine whether or not you’re eligible for the services you want. The underwriter may ask for additional information from your business to complete their review and continue processing your application. This may mean you have to provide a different document, but it doesn’t always happen.

7. Set up Your Merchant Account Services

Once your business has completed the underwriting process, the merchant account service will be ready to set up. The provider will contact you and inform you that your services are ready for use. They will walk you through how to log into their systems and teach you how to use their services. This is the most crucial part of getting a merchant account because you must understand everything before your customers use those systems to pay for your services.


Following these steps, you can obtain a merchant account for your business. You should also be aware of the different types of fees associated with these services as well. Some providers charge monthly fees for their assistance, while others charge fees based on the kind of service you receive. Overall, these costs will depend on your level of service and how many customers you expect to have. Remember that the more customers you have, the more money you will make in the long run.

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