Start-up Merchant Account Providers

Florence Carpenter

Requirements for a Start-up Merchant Account

When you start your online business, it’s important to figure out how to accept payments. In order to accept credit and debit cards online, you’ll need a merchant account. This account is essentially a holding place for your funds after they have been approved by the issuing bank and before they are transferred to your business bank account.

What You Need for a Start-up Merchant Account

Business Bank Account

Your personal and business bank accounts should be separate so that you can begin legitimizing your business. This shows start-up merchant account providers that you take your business seriously while also reducing your personal liability if your business runs into any issues.

A requirement for a merchant account is to have proof of a business bank account and bank statements. You should also have sufficient funds in your business accounts.

Financial Statements

Bank statements showcase your business’s competence when it comes to financial matters, something that’s very important to your merchant services provider. You should have at least two years of financial statements available.

Your account provider will need to make sure that your business and you both have good credit. They will do a quick credit check to understand whether or not you’re financially dependable or high-risk.

Business License

You may be required to have a business license depending on your merchant service provider’s specific requirements. This can include a general business license, sales tax registration, professional license, or others.

Address

Your merchant services provider will need you to give them a physical address where forms and other important documents can be mailed. If you own a brick and mortar business, you can use your store’s address. However, if you don’t, you may be allowed to use a PO box or your home address.

Application

In order to be approved for a start-up merchant account, you’ll need to begin and complete your application with a merchant services provider. The application will provide you with more insight. However, it will likely list the steps to take and types of documentation you’ll need to complete the application. When filling out your merchant account application, make sure that you’ve entered all of your information correctly so that you don’t prolong the process.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN takes the place of the social security number when you file the taxes for your business. This unique identifier will be used on financial, tax, and other legal forms so that the government can track your business in the same way a social security number would.

Articles of Incorporation

In order to set up a merchant account, you’ll need to incorporate your business. It doesn’t matter whether you set it up as an LLC, sole proprietorship, or corporation. This will further legitimize your business and make it official.

PCI Compliance

PCI compliance refers to the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standards (DSS) that merchants need to abide by. It protects customer information and requires businesses to use security procedures when handling credit cards and other customer data.

Business Documents

Different start-up merchant account providers will require different documentation from different industries. Some documents you may have to include with the application include:

  • Business plans
  • Marketing materials
  • Business Policies

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