A merchant account is a special kind of bank account that is required to accept debit and credit card payments. It acts as a conduit to move money through the electronic payment networks into your business banking account. The jargon can be a little confusing. If you’re unclear about how merchant accounts work, this example of a card swipe transaction may help.

Example Payment Flow

  1. A card holder (your customer) presents a credit or debit card to pay for a purchase
  2. The merchant (you) swipes the card, enters the dollar amount and transmits an authorization request to the acquirer (merchant account provider). The “transmission” is typically done by a payment terminal, online payment gateway, etc.
  3. The acquirer sends the authorization request to the card network, VisaNet for example
  4. The card network routes the request to the card issuer (your bank)
  5. The card issuer approves or declines the transaction
  6. The card network forwards the issuer’s response to the acquirer (merchant account provider)
  7. The acquirer forwards the response to the merchant (you, or more specifically your payment terminal)
  8. The merchant receives the authorization response and completes the transaction accordingly.

It sounds complicated, but it’s really not difficult once you’re set up. We’re standing by to help. Unfortunately we don’t have an online application process. When you’re ready to get started, please contact us. We will walk you through the sign up process and have you up and running in no time.

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