Merchant Accounts: What You Need to Know


There’s no doubt about it – we’re living in the Age of Plastic (credit and debit card plastic, that is). Consumers worldwide have elevated payment cards to the new international currency, and with good reason. Cards are conveniently and securely accepted by virtually every store and website you visit. If your business doesn’t have a merchant account for accepting payment cards, you’re way behind the curve and losing revenue from customers you’ve never even met.

Credit card processing is a complex series of events that is completed in just seconds between the time a credit card is swiped, dipped, tapped or keyed into the system and authorization is received from the issuing bank. All credit card and transaction data is transmitted through highly-secure channels to the payment processor, who relays it to the bank for approval. The bank authorizes or declines the transaction and notifies the processor, who passes the code on to the merchant. Once a purchase is approved, the merchant wraps up the sale by issuing a receipt to the customer along with their purchase.

But before all this can happen, your business must have a merchant account with a payment processor who acts as the middleman in the authorization process, provides you with the necessary products and services to accept cards, and deposits proceeds from all payment card transactions into your bank account.

Merchants can apply for an account through a reputable processor like TransFirst® who can help them choose the right account for their specific credit card processing needs:

  • Retail merchant accounts, which are among the most common because brick-and-mortar stores are still the most popular place to do business face to face.
  • E-commerce merchant accounts provide e-commerce merchants with a secure payment gateway like Transaction Express® from TransFirst that supports both a virtual shopping cart and a virtual terminal for payments.
  • Mobile processing merchant accounts empower merchants on the move to process sales from wherever they do business. This is an ideal solution for professionals and service providers like plumbers, appliance repairmen, electricians, landscapers, food vendors and delivery services.
  • MOTO merchant accounts give mail order/telephone order operations an affordable processing option that relies on a dialup service accessible from any touchtone phone, including cell phones.

Our merchant account experts are ready to answer all your questions and provide guidance on choosing the best solutions to your credit card processing needs. Discover the value a merchant account from TransFirst can add to your business by completing the form at the top of this page or by calling the toll-free number provided.


Get Started Below

or Call 888.845.9457
Do you accept credit cards?
Are you a U.S.-based business?
What is your primary method of processing?
  • Your information is private and secure. We only accept U.S.-based businesses. We do not accept adult businesses


Chat with a Professional!

Your information is private
and secure.We only
accept U.S.-based
businesses. We do not
accept adult businesses.

© 2016 Total System Services, Inc.®

All rights reserved worldwide. TSYS® and TransFirst® are
federally-registered U.S. service marks of Total System Services, Inc. TransFirst is a registered ISO/MSP of: Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA; Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA; and Deutsche Bank, New York, NY; for Visa® and MasterCard® transactions only. TSYS Merchant Solutions is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA and Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA.