How Do I Get Started?

Q. I'd like to accept credit cards on my Web site. What's involved with obtaining merchant status for my new business?

Accepting credit cards online is a very smart business strategy. Our research confirms that businesses that accept credit cards—whether in a traditional or an Internet environment—have greater revenues than those that do not.


The first issue you must address if you want to accept credit cards is to find the right credit card processor. Be sure to look for a leader in credit card processing for traditional and Internet businesses, one that invites merchants to conduct their noncash transactions securely and profitably. This will ensure the success and safety of your business.


Find a credit card processor that approves a high percentage of all businesses that apply for an account, offers competitive pricing and specializes in small and mid-sized businesses. This means your credit card processor truly understands your business needs and will be able to offer you user-friendly credit card equipment and software, such as the LinkPoint International point-of-sale terminals, printers and PIN pads, which are well known for their ease of use and reliability.


You will want a credit card processor that understands both Internet and traditional businesses. Whichever choice is right for you—brick and mortar or ecommerce —
you want it to be easy to apply for a merchant account, enjoy a quick approval and be able to accept credit cards the very next business day.

Do your research about your credit card processor's customer service capabilities. Does your processor have enough customer service representatives to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? How many different languages can your processor serve you in?

What about security? Does your processor have dedicated loss prevention and chargeback departments? This can help protect your account from fraud. As an Internet business, you need to determine what kind of secure payment gateway and payment options your transaction processor provides. State-of-theart encryption is 1024-bit and uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. Does your processor's gateway reflect these advancements?

Find out about the strength of your secure payment gateway. For example, the LinkPoint Secure Payment Gateway is one of the most successful in the industry. A reliable gateway can enable merchants to take advantage of the enormous commercial potential of the Internet. And determine if your processor can offer you turnkey solutions to your e-commerce needs. You really want a one-stop shop to facilitate your e-commerce success.

A proven credit card processor should have merchant customers in a variety of business environments, not just the Internet. Look for a processor that serves retail businesses, Internet businesses, mail order/telephone order businesses, home-based businesses, business-to-business merchants, businesses referred by their banks, associations and franchises, professional services (e.g., physicians, attorneys, chiropractors, etc.) and wholesale businesses. This versatility ensures that your processor has the experience to transact your processing accurately and effectively.

Once you select your transaction processor, it should be very easy to set up your merchant account. For example, what we do at Cardservice International to get a merchant started is to quickly process your application. Then we confirm the checking account where your funds will be deposited, and we issue you a merchant account number. With an Internet business, there is no equipment to install, and your virtual terminals and your secure payment gateway can be connected easily. It's that simple.

Once you are a merchant with a credit card processor, you are ready to grow your business with online customer purchases. How does this work and how do you get your money? Once your customers select their merchandise on your Web site, they use their credit card to make the purchase. The information is encrypted and transmitted to your processor through the secure payment gateway, where the transaction is either approved or declined.

Your processor's banking network authorizes and deposits funds for MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover and Diners Club. Your bank receives your deposits within two business days. You now have your money.

Setting up your own business offers exciting opportunities. For more information about establishing a merchant account for either an Internet or a traditional business, please e-mail us or call us at 877-998-2888. Or you can simply Apply Online Now right here on our website for a merchant account.

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* Restrictions apply and on approved credit.
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