MERCHANT ACCOUNT RATES and fees are considered as one of the most important steps that a business can take when deciding the way they conduct business. In fact, some will say that without the ability to accept credit cards as a form of payment, the new business would simply reduce their chance of success.  In today's society, everyone dips their hand into their wallet or handbag when it’s time to make a payment, not to mention making purchases online, so if a business does not accept plastic as a form of payment, there is a good chance that the sale will be lost.

In order to accept credit cards, the business must first set up a merchant account to handle those transactions.  One of these accounts must be secured through a company that processes payments, or through a bank.  In some cases, credit card companies have been known to facilitate credit card purchases themselves.

As a new business owner that has not yet possessed their own account, it is always best to see what's out there.  Although the competition is fierce in handling these accounts, some types of businesses do not qualify for standard credit card processing, especially if the business is considered a high risk.  As a prospective business owner, it could be beneficial to ask around to some other business owners and how they like the service they are receiving.

Business owners should keep in mind that in order for banks to be successful as they provide you with your very own merchant account, they must charge you a fee.  These fees are based on a number of events and it is these very same rates that should be compared as the new business owner considers their options.  A sincere conversation with a fellow business owner will give up a great deal of information as to which bank would be the best one to apply to.

Once the bank has been determined, it is time for questions and answers.  Do not be afraid to ask about what charges would apply for which event; this way, there will be no surprises when the bill arrives.  The popular habit is to charge per transaction, so as a business owner, careful consideration should be given to these charges, especially since they must be included in the daily expenses incurred.

It’s true that a merchant account is the business owner’s greatest asset; however, if the charges are not included in the cost of the items being sold, this could be the biggest liability.  Consider the other charges being applied and then determine whether they should be considered as an operating cost or added to the cost of sales.  The bottom line is simple: understand the charges first and the rest will fall into place.