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How to Open a Merchant Account

It's a process many businesses do every year but, if you're unfamiliar with the process, it can be confusing and even daunting 

Getting Started with a Merchant Account

Opening a merchant account allows your business to accept credit and debit card payments from customers. They are, by their nature, helpful for many businesses as they allow them to modernise the way they take payments and interact with their customers. 

 

But how do you get a merchant account? It's a process many businesses do every year but, if you're unfamiliar with the process, it can be confusing and even daunting. That's why we've created a breakdown of the process. 

Before you Apply for a Merchant Account

If you want a merchant account, there are a couple of things you need to already have in place before you can apply for one. 

 

First, you need to ensure your business is legally registered. If you're already trading you don't need to worry about this stage but if you're starting from scratch you need to ensure you're registered. There's a lot of information on how to do this on the Government's website but, usually, you'll register as a sole trader, limited company or partnership.

 

When you apply to set up your merchant account, you could be asked to provide a variety of documents to prove your validity, so it's best to have these things ready. Documents you could be asked to provide include:

 

  • Proof of identity for your business's owner
  • Proof of address for your business's owner
  • Financial documents
  • Your business plan

Step One: Choose Your Merchant Account Type

Though merchant accounts all work in similar ways, different types of merchant accounts will suit one business more than they will suit another.

 

Retail merchant accounts, for example, are more suited for physical shops where you and your staff will conduct sales face-to-face. These sales will happen with a physical card machine, or perhaps a full EPOS system, which is directly linked to your merchant account. 

 

Internet merchant accounts, meanwhile, do what they say on the tin. They're designed for and suited to businesses that operate online. The payments you make here won't be done face-to-face but via a website. With this type of merchant account, there is no need for a card machine or EPOS system. 

 

Mobile merchant accounts land somewhere in between the two types above. They're ideal for businesses that operate on the go, like pop-up stalls, fitness training providers, or food vans. This type of merchant account allows you to process transactions from anywhere via a mobile device.

 

Only you know the best type of merchant account for your business, so you'll have to take the time to decide which type of account best suits you. Once you've done this, you can move on to the next step. 

Step Two: Research Providers

This is probably the most time-consuming part of the process, but also the most important. You need to research and compare merchant account providers. While all merchant accounts do the same thing and work in broadly the same way, it's still important to not go for the first one you see. 

 

There are plenty of things to consider, not least the transaction fees and admin costs that a merchant account may come with, and the risk level of your industry. To make this step as easy for you as possible, we've created the following list of considerations. 

Key Things To Consider When Choosing Your Merchant Account
  • Pricing Structure

    Consider transaction fees and monthly costs, as well as cancellation fees and costs of any required hardware. 

  • Contract terms

    Think about the length of the contract, renewal options and exit fees. 

  • Security measures

    Consider the provider's and fraud prevention measures. 

  • Customer support

    Good customer support is invaluable when something goes wrong.

  • Analytics features

    Analytics can give you insights into your business's transactions and sales trends.

  • Scalability

    Is the merchant account ready to grow with your business? 

If you want to compare merchant accounts now (and why wouldn't you?) click the button below to get started. You could be only minutes away from taking the next step in modernising your business.

Step Three: Choose Your Provider and Apply

After the most time-consuming and important part, comes the most quick and simple part: applying for your merchant account. 

 

Assuming you have already gathered all the necessary documents you need to open your account and you've followed the steps above, this part is easy. If you do your research properly, the best merchant account provider for you will be an obvious choice. 

 

The application process itself is usually simple and involves filling out an online form with your relevant information and providing the documents they require. After that, you can start using your new merchant account. 

FAQs

Your Questions Answered

There are plenty of things to consider, not least the transaction fees and admin costs that a merchant account may come with. Some things to consider include contract terms, security measures, customer support and analytics features.

A merchant account allows your business to accept credit and debit card payments from customers. They are, by their nature, helpful for many businesses as they allow them to modernise the way they take payments and interact with their customers. 

Compare Top Card Machine Prices

You could save £1000s on card fees

Do you currently accept card payments?

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Our Partners
  • Barclays Bank PLC
  • CommercialExperts.com
  • Fiserv (Europe) Limited
  • Handepay Limited
  • ResQ Limited
  • SumUp Payments Limited
  • Take Payments Limited
  • Teya Services Limited
  • The Redwood Group and Associates Limited
  • Tide Platform Limited
  • WorldPay (UK) Limited
  • Yotta Digital Ltd
Our Products
  • Business Accountancy
  • Business Epos Systems
  • Business Telephone Systems
  • Commercial Waste Collection
  • Digital Marketing
  • Fleet Tracking
  • Invoice Finance
  • Merchant Accounts
  • Website Design
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