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What is a Merchant bank account?

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Mika, Staff Writer

Friday, 7th May 2021

As a business, you’ll know better than anyone the importance of keeping up with the latest payment methods. Doing so will allow you to offer convenience to your customers and provide additional security for your business. Card processing is the current industry standard, allowing customers to purchase in person, online or over the phone through electronic payment methods such as a credit card. 

Card processing works by creating a merchant bank account, which will process customer transactions and hold the funds safely before releasing them once they have cleared. 

Here is further information on merchant bank accounts to guide you, along with how to find a card processing provider for your business. 

Card Processing

What is a Merchant Account and how do they work? 

The easiest way of explaining what merchant accounts are is that they allow your customers to make electronic payments to your business. 

Unlike a regular bank account, a merchant account is specifically designed to accept payments within an eCommerce setting, including credit card payments. 

Merchant accounts are the preferred way to do business, due to the increased level of security they provide for both parties. In addition, sorting your bookkeeping and accounting is much easier if you use a merchant account too. 

What's the difference between high risk and low risk Merchant accounts?

A card processing provider is either going to consider your business as high risk or secure. Both types will incur fees, which includes a typical 0.5%-3% transaction fee in addition to a flat fee. However, high risk businesses will likely have the highest fees, as well as longer holds on funds. 

The reason a business is deemed high risk is usually due to the industry it trades in. For example, if the business isn’t deemed as stable in the wider economy. The business type may also be more susceptible to refunds, chargebacks or fraud. The amount of card processing providers available to you may also be limited if your business isn’t considered secure. 

Does my business need a Merchant Account?

Any business that accepts payment needs a secure way of handling those payments. While some businesses still trade in physical cash, the reality is the popularity of credit and debit cards among other forms of electronic payment is ever-growing. Therefore, card processing is the best way to ensure business longevity. Also, you may be limiting your customer base by not accepting electronic payment types too. 

What are chargebacks?

It’s important to know about chargebacks if you plan on opening a merchant bank account because they could affect its status. A chargeback is when someone who has paid money into your account (such as a customer) reverses the transaction. This means the money will be returned to them.

There are several reasons why chargebacks happen. Usually, it is because the customer is disputing the transaction took place or the amount that was charged was incorrect. 

Businesses need to be careful not to accumulate chargebacks, as anything above 1% of chargebacks of your total transactions could lead to your merchant account being closed by your card processing provider. 

Card Processing

How do I get a Merchant Account for my business?

To get a merchant account for your business, you’ll need to select a card processing service provider. The exact services available to you along with the rates you’ll be charged depends on your industry and overall business health. 

From there, your merchant account will be set up and your business will then be able to accept electronic payments from your customers.

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