Merchant Account


If you’re going to do business on the Internet or sell products in a retail store or sell anything in general, getting a merchant account is highly recommended.

Having a merchant account allows you to accept credit cards as a form of payment. Merchant accounts cost you a percentage of your gross sales, usually 2 to 4%. While that may seem high, remember that credit cards buyers generally spend more than cash buyers. Consider the merchant account fees a cost of doing business.


To get a merchant credit card account you’ll need some basic things:

1. A business license. You can file for a business license from your local county clerk’s office. You basically fill out a form, pay a small fee (of course) and you have your business license.

2. Now that you have your business license, you’ll need to open a BUSINESS checking account at your local bank. Make sure this is a business account and not a personal account.

I know some people try and cut corners to avoid the expense of carrying another checking account (and the fees are higher with a business account than a personal account, too) but if you’re any degree of serious about starting your own business you’ll have to bite the bullet and open a business checking account.

And if you want to establish a merchant account you’ll have no choice anyway.

As discussed in the PayPal section, this is why merchant accounts are more solid than a PayPal account — you have to actually prove your identity to a bank manager, set up an account, deposit funds, etc. Anyone with a credit card can set up a PayPal account but the extra effort of being able to accept credit cards is not only a faster way to faster profits but it will also make you more professional.


Back in 1995 when I started web publishing it was nearly impossible to get a merchant account to sell on the Internet. Now, however, there are many companies to choose from that are happy to service the online sector. But even brick and mortar stores and other pet service provders need a merchant account. Whether you’re a dog walker or groomer, offering your customers the option of paying by credit card is critical to your success.

Some companies with decent rates that we recommend, include:

CardService International: 
CardService is who I use for my online business. Very established and used to dealing with online companies. Not the best rate but close.

Electronic Transfer, Inc: 
This company specializes in first time merchant accounts, home based businesses and Internet companies. Very competitive rates. 
This is a reseller program that offers free setup of an merchant account. I like this offer because of the low on-going fees (i.e. Gateway & transaction fees).


If you’re going to start a business than get a merchant account and a PayPal account so that you can accept credit cards both online and in the “real” world. Accepting credit cards will encourage your customers to spend more and perceive you as a “real” business. The key is to provide customers with as many payment options as possible. Remember: the more ways you can take the money — you should! (thanks, Yogi)