Setting up your merchant account

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Written by Editorial Team

Published May 2018

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Ensure you have the merchant account that suits your processing needs

A merchant account differs from your standard business account in that the bank, usually referred to as the acquiring bank, allows card schemes to make payments, chargebacks, refunds and other payment transactions into it.

If you are arranging your own merchant account(s), it is advisable that you set these up before you apply for your payment gateway, as this may take some time with your acquiring bank.

If you want to process debit or credit card transactions via your website, by fax, telephone or mail order, you will need a merchant account appropriate to your needs.

Although all of these transactions are known as ‘card not present’ or CNP transactions, there are two different types of merchant accounts available to reflect the different risks associated with processing CNP transactions.

Mail Order / Telephone Order (MOTO) Merchant Account

This merchant account is suitable for anyone that processes payments

  • by mail order
  • by telephone order
  • by fax

Processing MOTO payments is perceived to carry lower risks than processing online payments. Consequently, it is often easier and quicker to obtain a MOTO merchant account than an Internet Merchant Account.

A MOTO Merchant Account can be secured from your business bank. However, if you already have a trading history, you may be able to secure preferential rates with your payment service provider via any agreements they have with their acquiring banking partners. Contact us for a quote as we will be able to arrange a MOTO Merchant Account for you.

When you have secured your MOTO Merchant Account, our Virtual Terminal is the perfect payment gateway for processing all your mail, fax and telephone orders. Able to process payments from any device connected to the internet, it is also a cost-effective solution for freelancers and sole traders, and a lightweight and efficient solution for mobile businesses or businesses that take payments at trade shows and conferences.

Internet Merchant Account (IMA)

An Internet Merchant Account (IMA) is required by anyone that processes payments online via their website. Because there is a higher risk in processing online card payments than MOTO payments, the bank sets tighter regulations to ensure that your website and your server are compliant. Consequently, it may take a little longer to issue you with an IMA than a MOTO Account. If you are processing both MOTO and online payments you will need a MOTO merchant account and an IMA.

If you would like more detail on Internet Merchant Accounts please read our guide on Internet Merchant Account.

 

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