Finance

What Is A Merchant Account?

The One Account No Modern Business Can Live Without

The One Account No Modern Business Can Live Without

So you’ve finally created a product or service that everyone wants, and you’re ready to start your own business. You get an LLC, you build a website, maybe you even open up a physical “brick-and-mortar” store, and you realize you need to accept credit card payments in order to make the most of your business. 

Let’s face it, the majority of customers are not leaving home with a substantial amount of cash in their wallets anymore – it’s all digital payments using credit and debit cards.

Or maybe this sounds more like you: you’ve been in business for quite some time, and you’ve used Stripe or PayPal to accept payment, but after dozens of glitches, you’re looking to upgrade to something more “serious.”

Maybe you’ve heard of merchant accounts before, but you’re not really sure what makes them different, how to choose the right one, and how to open a merchant account.

Relax, you have come to the right place!

First… What Does A Merchant Account Do?

A merchant account is actually pretty simple to explain. It is essentially an account that holds funds from credit transactions until they can be verified – and then they are transferred directly into YOUR account.

So you might be thinking to yourself, “why go through all that trouble just to process credit cards?” The answer is simple: a merchant account provides your company with added security, reliability, and ease of use for all your transactions.

But be careful! Merchant account providers are NOT all the same. Here are the 3 factors that are really important in choosing the right online merchant account.

Reliability

Perhaps the most important factor in selecting a merchant account is reliability. Here’s why.

Imagine you are having a huge sale, and it’s bigger than anything your company has ever done before; you’re breaking all of your sales records (Congratulations, by the way!) and watching orders pour in…

Then right in the middle of it all, your merchant account freezes up. Unfortunately, situations like this happen all the time with unreliable merchant accounts, who flag the incoming transactions as “high risk.”

That’s not to mention the fact that most merchant accounts providers come and go within one or two years of being in the business, never to be seen again. Some have even disappeared without paying their customers.

Bilderlings is different; our highly-trained staff is on call 24/7 to ensure there are never any hiccups in your service. And we have 5 years of experience behind us, which is practically an eternity in this industry!

Ease of Use

Here’s what you don’t want to have happen. You don’t want to be paying some company on every transaction, then still have to worry about fussy payment pages or website integrations – and then also manually do your own accounting every night.

And let’s not even get started with having two different merchant accounts – one for your physical terminal “in the shop,” and an internet merchant account specifically for your website.

Some merchant account providers are really stuck in the Stone Age. Bilderlings? Technological flexibility is our strength, and we offer quick, customizable payment pages on the front end – as well as robust accounting integrations on the back end.

Bilderlings is also an online merchant account with flexibility to work with any device.

So if you want to “set it and forget it,” then Bilderlings could be the right choice for you.

Security

Of course, even if everything else about your internet merchant account provider is amazing, but the security fails you – then it can quite literally cost you your entire business.

There are three things to look for: fraud monitoring technology, 3D-secure, and a PCI-DSS security certificate.

Fraud monitoring means a merchant account provider can let you know when something fraudulent might be happening with your account – pretty simple, but not common.

3D-secure provides you an extra layer of security when processing cards online – redirecting customers to an authentication page on their bank’s website to enter a password. This enables you to ensure all credit card data and customer information is beyond secure.

And finally, PCI-DSS is a security standard enforced by Visa, MasterCard, and others. Any company with this certificate is leagues ahead of those without one.

Bilderlings has all three.

How Do Merchant Account Fees Work?

Finally, you may be thinking “OK, OK. I think I understand what makes a good merchant account versus a shady one. But how does pricing work?”

And that’s a very excellent question. There are two basic pricing models when it comes to merchant accounts: flat fees and “interchange fees”.

Interchange fees mean you will be paying the basic merchant processing fee for each credit card, plus an additional “interchange fee,” and ON TOP OF THAT, you’ll also pay a processing fee for each and every card you process.

These fees can range from 1.5%-3.5% of each transaction, plus a processing fee for each individual swipe.

With a flat fee, you simply pay one single percentage on ALL purchases. For example, with Bilderlings, you pay 2.5% on all transactions, regardless of card. Call us crazy, but we think merchant account fees are too confusing, and having a single percentage makes it easier for you.

Conclusion

So now you’ve read this article, and you have a pretty good idea about how to make the right decision when selecting the right merchant account for your business. 

But you might still be wondering exactly how to open a merchant account. Luckily, it is very easy. All you need to do is simply submit an application, and you can be approved within only a business day or two.

If you are ready to get started using BilderPay from Bilderlings, then all you have to do is click the button “Connect”, and a form will pop up asking you to input your email and the best contact phone number to reach you.

Feel free to include any other information about your company that you would like, and your client manager will contact you within one business day.

Thank you so much for reading this article, we hope that you have gained valuable insight into the “ins and outs” of the merchant account industry.

Have a great day!

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