Types of Merchant Accounts

Merchant accounts are as varied as the merchants themselves and the goods being sold.  Below we've listed a variety of account types which is by no means a comprehensive list but is a good start to creating buckets as to where a merchant might find themselves.  Most merchant accounts are segregated by preceived risk of the account and the method used to sell the goods being sold.  So what kind of account would you fall under, read below to see...


Traditional Account with Equipment


These accounts are most commonly used for retail businesses (grocery, departmental stores etc) where the transactions are processed in a face to face interaction also known as Point of Sale (PoS). Traditional PoS accounts generally have the lowest costs as the risk of having a transaction being returned is minimal..


MOTO (Mail or Telephone order)


This enables phone based or direct mail orders processing for customers who can buy your product or service from the comfort of their home. Merchant accounts for businesses of this nature generally have a higher cost due to the increased risk associated with no face to face interaction with the card holder. However since there is no card present there is no need for traditional equipment.

Internet based merchant account (Ecommerce/Website order processing)


E-Commerce is booming in today’s market with so many people buying and selling goods online due to the wide reach and easy access to the internet. Most merchant accounts that fall into this area have a mid range cost associated with them, but many factors come in to play for accounts of this nature. For more information on the specifics of this it’s best to review in greater detail our Merchant Accounts 101.

Mobile or Wireless merchant account


This merchant is specifically designed for small businesses, solo professionals, and mobile services (including lawyers, landscapers, contractors, consultants, repair tradesmen, etc), who are constantly on the move and require a payment to processed on the spot. Fee’s associated with an account of this nature can vary depending on the risk level, which includes the owners credit and volume and type of service that is being sold.

Multiple Merchant Accounts.


Some businesses can have merchant accounts of a couple or all different types. Merchants who fall into this category are called multi-channel merchants as they sell their goods through a number of different channels. Most commonly this is related to retail stores who also have an online presence to sell their goods. This is very common in today’s competitive market where constant contact with customers is critical to success.

Aside from the channel which the merchant operates within the fees generally vary due to the risk level associated by the underwriting staff at the processing company. The biggest differences between these merchant accounts are the monthly fees and the discount rates.

High Risk Merchant Accounts


There is another business type categorized as "High Risk” finding a processor who is willing to take your account can be more challenging. Additionally the costs for processing services will be substantially higher. High risk merchants range from travel agencies to multi-level marketing companies, to credit restoration merchants, to casinos, to online pharmaceutical companies, adult/dating merchants and many others. In fact, some companies get turned down no matter where they go for processing payments.



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