Merchant Accounts for Small Businesses

Whether you’re just starting your business or looking for a way to expand your revenue stream, accepting credit and debit cards is a crucial step in the success of your business. Every small business can benefit from accepting credit cards, whether you are a retail establishment, a mail order/telephone order operation or an ecommerce business. In order to accept credit cards, you need a small business merchant account and a reliable merchant services provider.

There are a few different types of small business merchant accounts, and the one you need will depend upon the type of business you have. A shop where customers walk in and present their credit cards in person (card-present) will be best served by a traditional retail merchant account and card swipe terminal or point-of-sale (POS) system. A different type of account is necessary if your business frequently sells merchandise over the internet, in order to accommodate transactions in which the payment card-not-present (CNP transactions). If your business is mobile, then you might benefit from the ability to process card transactions using your smartphone, laptop or tablet computer.

Regardless of which type of small business merchant account you choose, the application process remains largely the same. When you apply for a merchant account, you will need to supply certain identifying information, in much the same way you would if you were applying for a line of credit, since merchant accounts carry risk. You should have your business’s name and contact information, the tax identification number (TIN) of the business, the name of the principal owner of the business and their Social Security number, and estimate of the business’s monthly credit card transaction volume; having all this information readily available will make the application process faster and simpler. Feel free to reference our blog on merchant account requirements for US Merchants, or let us know if you have any questions about the application process.

Opening a small business merchant account with a reliable credit card processing company allows your business to accept credit cards and debit cards. At the same time, it is important for you to be aware of possible fraudulent transactions that may occur when a customer’s information has already been stolen. Card-not-present (CNP) transactions are particularly vulnerable to this type of fraud. Keep an eye out for large, expensive purchases by new customers, purchases that request rush delivery, different billing and shipping addresses, purchases made late at night, and delivery addresses outside the US, as these factors are particularly common among fraudulent transactions.

There are steps you can take to prevent fraud: require a complete address and contact information for every credit card processed, and only ship to the AVS verified address; follow up with customers using the contact information provided to confirm the purchase, especially if the transaction has potential fraud warning signs. Consider carefully whether you wish to accept credit card transactions from outside the United States; if you sell costly merchandise, even a single fraudulent hit can do real damage to your bottom line. Read here for additional fraud protection tips. Durango Merchant Services offers a variety of solutions for all types of businesses to help deter and prevent fraud, please inquire with us and we can outline the specific programs that would best suit your business.

We have numerous options for your small business, allowing you to tailor your account to your business’s specific needs. The staff at Durango Merchant Services are committed to providing a unique and customized merchant account specifically for your small business, whether you are selling produce at a farmers market, offering automotive repair services, selling a unique product online or anything in between, we have the solution to fit your budget and card acceptance requirements. Each of our solutions is tailored to fit your small businesses needs both logistically and financially. We provide traditional credit card processing terminals, efficient and secure point of sale units for use with computers, tablets or smart phones, as well as great software solutions for your new or established ecommerce business. Please let us know if you have any questions or would like more information about our various merchant services for small businesses.