What is a merchant account and why do you need one?

What is a merchant account?

When you own an ecommerce business and sell products online, you must have a way to accept payments for your products.  In order to do this you must partner with a bank or clearing house which allows you to accept these payments into your merchant account.  Merchant accounts allow your business to accept payments via credit cards, debit cards, gift cards and different types of electronic payments.  You will set up a merchant account with a payment processor or merchant acquirer who has the ability to process your electronic payments.


Payment Processing Steps

Merchant Accounts Accept Electronic Payments

From the point of purchase to actually depositing the money into your bank account for the sale of the product involves several steps.  When the customer purchases your product, he or she will enter their credit card or other method of payment in the shopping cart.  At this point, the payment method has to be verified and approved.  This process ensures the payment is valid and the payment method hasn’t been stolen or expired which is done by the payment gateway.  The payment gateway acts for an ecommerce site like a point of sale terminal would in a retail store. 

The payment gateway takes the information provided by the shopping cart and securely transmits it electronically for payment authorization.  Once the payment is authorized the payment gateway sends it on to the merchant account which accepts and deducts the payments via ACH (Automated Clearing House).  The customers’ payment is deducted and your payment is deposited to your account.


Connecting It All

Your merchant account and payment gateway must be hooked up to your ecommerce site.  Pure-Ecommerce will advise you through this process.  You must apply for and be approved to receive your merchant account.  Once this is completed our client support team will do the installation and our client consultants will teach you how to process orders, set up sales tax, add shipping charges, issue refunds, gift vouchers and discounts.  We’re with you every step of the way in what can be quite a confusing process.

Key to Owning An Ecommerce Business

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