How Do I Start Accepting Credit Cards?

Merchant Basics

It’s not uncommon for many businesses to begin as cash-only ventures. However, as a small business owner, you may experience many missed opportunities to make a sale without the benefits of accepting credit and debit cards. These days fewer people carry cash and rely on having payment alternatives.

And did you know that customers who pay by credit or debit cards will often spend more per purchase and make more of them? By accepting credit cards you will also capture more impulse purchases made by consumers that prefer to buy now and pay later.

If you just don’t know much about the process or how to get started, read on to learn how TransFirst® can help!

How to Accept Credit Cards

First, you’re going to need to get a merchant account. This is an account established solely for the purpose of accepting credit and debit card payments, and it is set up entirely separate from your bank account. A merchant account also serves as an arrangement between a retailer, a merchant bank and a payment processor like TransFirst, for the settlement of credit card and/or debit card transactions.

Once your merchant account is established, you need the proper hardware and software to process credit cards. All hardware and software used to accept credit cards must be PCI compliant — meeting all payment card industry security standards. At TransFirst, we work with all our merchants to help ensure that their credit card payment systems are secure and compliant.  Your options depend largely on the type(s) of business you operate.

Point-of-Sale Terminal

This is the most common method for accepting credit cards in a retail, or face-to-face, environment where the credit card is present. There is a wide array of point-of-sale terminals and TransFirst can offer you the best solution for your needs.


This is the most common method for accepting card-not-present (CNP) transactions, especially for online or “dot com” companies. It empowers you to process transactions right from your desktop by transforming your PC or laptop into a “virtual terminal.” You can also process swiped retail credit card transactions using your computer’s web browser, an Internet connection and a USB credit card swipe reader to log into the Transaction Express® secure website.


Mobile credit card processing harnesses the power of a smartphone or tablet and turns it into a handheld terminal that functions just like the countertop version. Once you have a merchant account for mobile processing from TransFirst, you simply download the free ProcessNow Mobile or ProcessNow Register app to your device and you’re ready to start accepting all major credit and signature debit cards.


Credit card processing software makes all types of transactions effortless and easy to track. Whether a face-to-face, web or wireless transaction, processing software makes accepting credit cards simple.

Now that you’re informed, why not start today — risk- free?! TransFirst offers a 30-day, risk-free trial of its services. Just complete our merchant account application to discover the value of TransFirst.

You may be ready to grow your business by accepting credit cards within a few days with TransFirst!


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


satisfied merchants, partners and vendors
See What Others Are Saying


Chat with a Professional!

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

©2017 Total System Services, Inc. TSYS® is a federally registered service mark of Total System Services, Inc. All rights reserved. TSYS Merchant Solutions is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA; Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA, and First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, NE. TSYS Business Solutions 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.

x is moving to New Site, Same Great Payment Solutions & Services.