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How do I Choose the Best Cheap Merchant Account?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Businesses of all sizes know that keeping costs low is extremely important. This means that searching for and signing up with the best cheap merchant account just makes sense. While larger companies can often negotiate special features and pricing based on volume, smaller companies are not doomed to paying higher rates for credit card processing and other merchant services. In just about any situation, it is possible to secure a cheap merchant account by comparing fees and contract terms, the range of services provided, and the scope and quality of the customer support and service offered.

A good place to begin evaluating any merchant account is with the terms and fees associated with a given contract. Larger businesses can often secure discounts on those fees based on the number of transactions that will be processed within a given period. Some contracts will even include tiered pricing that adjusts that discount up or down based on the number of completed transactions in the most recently closed accounting period. For smaller businesses, it is sometimes possible to earn a discount based on signing up for a longer duration; this means that signing a three year contract for a cheap merchant account will secure better rates than going with a one year contract.

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For any contract duration, be sure to look closely at the provisions that govern termination of the cheap merchant account. This includes any fees or penalties that may be assessed, as well as which situations could lead to the termination of the account, both from the perspective of the account holder and the account issuer. Doing so will make it much easier to identify what obligation you may have if the business deal doesn’t work out, or if you find a better deal with another provider a year or so down the road.

Along with the fees and how they are calculated, it is also important to address the float time between the execution of the transaction and when the money actually shows up in the bank account that is associated with the cheap merchant account. Some services will conduct the transfer the business day after the transaction is made, while others may require two or more days. For this reason, it is important to look past that great fee structure and determine if the terms of delivery will allow you to have your money in hand in a reasonable amount of time.

While price is important when selecting a cheap merchant account, service and support is also essential. Make sure you understand what types of support are provided at no extra charge, and what would only be available for an additional fee. It is also important to know when you have access to that support, and how. If a cheap merchant account provider only offers live service on weekdays, and covers the weekends with email support, that provider may not be a good idea if you do a lot of business on weekends. Make sure the scope and level of support meets your needs before making any commitment.

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