The Dos and Don’ts of Having Your Own Merchant Account

Having your own merchant account can be both an exciting and intimidating experience for anyone who runs an e-commerce business. It gives you the opportunity to open your business up to many forms of payment so that it’s easier for your customers to make purchases. However, it also opens your business to some of the risks inherent in online payment processing. So how do you navigate this new and potentially complicated environment? The following are some helpful dos and don’ts that can get you on the right track. 

Do… the necessary research about payment processing so that you understand how it works. There are some differences depending on your type of business, so the more information you have, they better off you’ll be. This research should include identifying a quality payment processing partner who can actually be an asset to your business. 

Don’t… select a payment processor based solely on price. There are many processors to choose from, and it can be tempting to select the one with the lowest rates. But as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for; paying the lowest price also likely means that you’re not getting access to important features and valuable merchant support that you’ll definitely benefit from as you’re working to make your business thrive. The right processor for your business might have a higher rate, but it will be worth it if it means you don’t have devote precious time and manpower to managing payments when the processor can take care of it for you. 

Do… be transparent with your payment processor. Changes to your business, products, or service can have a significant impact on your processing volume, and it’s in your best interest to keep them informed. The more open you are with your processor, the better they will understand your business needs and be able to adjust if your volume goes up or down.  

Don’t… sell products you aren’t approved to sell. When you begin a relationship with a payment processor, you will need to get approval from them to sell the products or services you want to sell; but if you start selling a new category of products, your merchant account will likely be terminated. If you want to branch out or change what you’re selling, contact your processor and have a conversation with them; a payment processor who values the relationship will work with you to expand your business in the new direction.  

Do… review and respond to chargebacks. Chargebacks can become a major problem for your business, and they are a risk you can’t afford to ignore. While some may fall through the cracks, you should make it a goal to respond to 80-90% so that you can ensure you’re winning as many disputes as possible. If your chargeback rating is too high, your payment processor may be forced to terminate your merchant account. 

Don’t… allow your bank account to run low. If you don’t have sufficient funds in your account and a fee debit is rejected, your merchant account may be terminated. 

Do… actually use your merchant account! A surprising number of merchants go through the process of getting a merchant account only to not use it for six months or more; then when they eventually try to use it, they find that the account has been terminated. Suddenly using an account after an extended period of inactivity is a red flag for processors, so make sure you either use it when you set it up or be open with your processor about the need for a delayed start. 

Don’t… make your checkout process complicated. With e-commerce competition as fierce as ever, your customers will expect a simple process with as few steps as possible. If your payment processor doesn’t have the option of an easy-to-use shopping cart, it’s time to look for a new processor. 

Which processor is the best choice for you?  

Even though there are a lot of aspects of having your own merchant account to consider, keeping in mind these fundamental principles is a great way to get you started on the right foot. The freedom and flexibility of running your own online business is yours to enjoy, and one of the best things you can do to make sure your business has the best chance to thrive is to pick the right payment processor. 

PayCafe wants to be your guide in navigating the experience of having your own merchant account, and they are dedicated to giving you the tools, the technology, and the support that will make payment processing a simple part of running your business. It starts with a transparent relationship; PayCafe will work with you to understand your business and tailor their service to your unique needs. With robust features like dispute alerts, realtime reporting, concierge-style support, and a chargeback response system, you’ll have everything you need to make your merchant account successful.