As with most businesses, it has become more and more popular ñ probably because essential – to establish your water filtration business online; and if you are seeking to do this you will likely need, at some point, a merchant account.
A merchant account is a facility offered by a bank or a financial institution that allows you to accept payments via credit or debit card. Given how common credit and debit card transactions are in the modern economy, it is essential for you if you are serious about ecommerce to have a merchant account.
Very often merchant accounts involve a financial agreement between you and a bank, whereby a bank will agree to accept card payments into the account held by you. It may also be the case that a third party is involved in the card processing, and that the third party will then be responsible for passing any payments onto that bank you have the merchant account with.
Due to the vital nature of these transactions it is important that you choose a merchant account with a bank you can trust, preferably one from a major bank with a good reputation. The reliability and trustworthiness of the bank is one of the most important factors when choosing a merchant account, even if a third party will be involved in the transactions. This is because banks have a significant power and influence over the third parties and will often impose strict regulations upon those they choose to work with. This may take the form of a legal and binding financial agreement ensuring that your merchant account provider and their intermediary both satisfy the terms of their agreement.
A merchant account is required to effect both your online and offline credit or debit card transactions; and while you will be familiar with the process of retail shop transactions, not everyone will be so familiar with the online transaction process.
An in-person transaction will usually involve the customer swiping or inserting their card into a terminal and then keying in their pin code. It is still possible to sign for such transactions, although it is becoming increasingly rare that customers are asked and expected to do so.
An over-the-phone transaction usually involves you or a sales assistant keying details into the terminal on behalf of the customer and accepting a verbal agreement to debit the required amount of money from the card. This involves giving information about the card to you the retailer, including expiry dates, the card number and the security number.
Internet transactions are different again and will normally involve what is known as a payment gateway, provided and maintained by a third party. This virtual permanent gateway will accept the payment information much as your physical terminal would, and it will also involve a facility by which your website can directly share information from your customerís shopping cart securely over an API to facilitate the real-time processing of the transaction.