What is Merchant Card Processing?

Tess C. Taylor
Tess C. Taylor
Man holding computer
Man holding computer

There are many excellent resources for organizations today to provide on-demand services to their clientele, including the convenience of taking credit card payments either in person or over the Internet or telephone. This service is called merchant card processing. It is used by many organizations like businesses and associations who charge fees for access to products, services and information. Merchant card processing combines the convenience of using a credit card to make financial transactions with the security of a system that accepts this form of payment.

Despite the method used, merchant card processing works in essentially the same way. When a customer presents his credit card to make a purchase, the credit card information must be recorded, transmitted securely and processed by the credit card company in order for the funds to be deposited to the merchant. The way that the credit card information is obtained and transmitted to the credit card company may vary, but it is generally handled by a merchant credit card vendor with funds disbursed in daily batches.

Merchant card processing is often handled by the credit card network or financial institution that issued the credit card account to the customer. The merchant that accepts credit cards as a form of payment can contract with a merchant credit processing company or service that will provide a credit card machine for use on-site or an Internet based service can be used. Either type of merchant care processing method requires that the information be sent and received with the utmost security for the protection of both the customer and the merchant.

In exchange for processing credit card payments, merchant card processing programs generally charge a small fee to cover the cost of the transmission of data. However, as part of the cost of using a merchant credit card processing service, merchants can expect that the transaction will be safe and that the monies will be delivered within a short time frame to the business account desired. The service fee merely ensures that the transaction will take place quickly and that funds will be available faster than with other payment methods, with the exception of cash.

Regardless of the size and type of organization, merchant credit card processing is a good way to encourage customers to make immediate payments by offering multiple payment options. This also gives customers the opportunity to make purchases now and pay later through their credit card terms, which can encourage higher sales at the point of purchase. Credit card processing is an efficient and convenient way to increase revenue, as it allows for immediate funding to merchant accounts.

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