[fusion_text]Think about the last purchase you made, now the one before that. What did you use to make your payment? Chances are if you’re like the majority of consumers, you used either your credit or debit card. Now, consider your customers. The vast majority of your customers and prospects will pay for their purchases both online and in-person by using their cards as well. As a business owner, the process of securing and offering credit card processing is daunting. Knowing the basics about how credit card processing works for companies will help you find the best payment solutions for your small business!

Nearly every credit card transactions made both online and in person, will be processed through a merchant account. Here are three of the most frequently asked questions regarding merchant accounts and how they effect your company:

What is a Merchant Account?

Merchant accounts are a certain type of banking account arrangement that are made with a bank or clearing house that gives you the ability to accept and process credit card payments through it – this account is your “merchant account”. Once the payment passes through online authorization company and approved, it will be deposited into your account.

How Does it Work?

Processing a credit card payment from the swipe to the final receipt of the payments involves several steps. The first part is the initial payment, whether it’s typed in online or swiped through a machine. Before the payment can be withdrawn and deposited, the card must first verified to check that is it not in fact stolen or expired. Verification of the card also includes checking that the card has sufficient funds to complete the payment. Once a card payment has passed the verification and security checks, your merchant account provider then passes the payment on to their processors whom debit the credit card account and then deposits it to your own. 

Why Use a Merchant Account?

While there are other options to accepting credit cards, merchant accounts have proven to be the most cost effective and safest way for small business to accept digital payments.

You know the value that accepting credit card payments will bring to your company. By offering credit card processing you’ll no longer have to turn customers away because they only have cash or checks, losing a sale. This is most important on e-commerce (internet) based businesses – since computers have yet to evolve the ability to accept cash payments for online orders! If the idea of securing and setting up your own credit card processing sounds like way more than you’re willing to take on, there are companies out there that offer excellent services to help you establish and process your credit cards! One of the most well-known and respected credit card processing companies is First Data – they proudly offer First Data Small Business Solutions – designed to meet the needs of today’s fastest growing merchant segment!