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Internet Merchant Accounts

If you are planning to open an online business that accepts credit cards, you will need to have an Internet merchant account.  This type of account, with an acquiring institution such as a bank, allows you to accept credit card transaction for your online business.  It is sometimes known as a payment processing or credit card processing account.

Internet merchant accounts are vital to any online business.  If a customer finds an item on your web site, but you do not accept credit card payments, chances are that he or she will look elsewhere for that item.  Credit card processing can be easy for both the merchant and customer if done properly. 

How does the process work?  After you accept the credit card, the institution makes sure that the customer’s credit card account has the money and it is charged against the account.  Then the institution sees to it that the funds are then deposited in your banking account.  You can confirm with the acquiring institution that the fees have indeed been deposited, although it takes about two days from the time the credit card is processed until the monies from the online transaction show up in your account.

In order to open Internet merchant accounts, merchants will need to have a checking account with a bank located in the United States.  This account must be set up by the acquiring institution to use one of the payment processing networks. Merchants with poor or no credit may have trouble establishing Internet merchant accounts because they are seen as a risk.

When applying for Internet merchant accounts, you will hear the term “qualified rate.” The qualified rate it he lowest rate you will incur when having a credit card charge processed. Many merchants may be concerned about the fees associated with Internet merchant accounts. The fees and charges you might incur include:

  • An application fee

  • An authorization fee (this is a fee charged each time a credit card is sent to the institution, whether it is accepted or declined)

  • A monthly minimum fee (to make sure you make a certain number of processes each month.  If you don’t make it, you will be charged to satisfy that fee)

  • A statement fee

  • A batch fee (incurred each time you settle a terminal, which sends the day’s transactions to the institution for payment)

  • A discount rate (a percentage of each transaction)

  • And a per transaction fee (a flat fee charged each time a credit card is successfully processed)

Fees will vary from institution to institution, however all are based on Interchange. Interchange is the base rates used for all Internet merchant accounts and it determined by Visa® and Mastercard®. Interchange bases their rates on tiers and include thing such as how easy it is for an institution to process the charge. For example, it is easier to process a credit card that is swiped through a terminal than it is to process one in which the credit card number is keyed into the terminal. 

Internet merchant accounts are great ways to ensure you get your money with each online credit card transaction.

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