How to Choose a Merchant Account Provider

Merchant Basics

Choosing a merchant account provider can be an overwhelming experience for many small business owners, so we’re going to provide you with the inside information you need to make a wise, well-educated decision for your specific credit card processing needs.

First and foremost, find a provider with a proven track record. Start by checking their Better Business Bureau report. If there are numerous complaints, walk away and take your business elsewhere. You can also ask other business owners who handles their processing and whether or not they recommend them.

Find out if the processor you are considering offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee. This allows you to try them out for a period of time and see if they provide what they promised. Reputable merchant account providers will make such an offer available to you.

Check out their customer service practices and their technical support options. What do current customers have to say about them? Does the processor offer a toll-free customer service number? What are their customer service hours? These are all questions you should ask.

Learn about their fees. Make sure they are reasonable and fairly priced. Be leery of processors that advertise rates that are significantly lower than everyone else. Chances are those rates are good for only a short period of time before they’re drastically increased, or there are hidden fees they’re not disclosing. You can’t get something for nothing, so if the merchant account provider is charging well below what everyone else is charging, be suspicious and ask lots of questions.

Consider the processing needs of your business when choosing a merchant account provider. Do they offer the type of processing that you require: POS retail, mobile, wireless, online or telephone? Think towards the future, too, especially if you have plans to diversify or expand to a new sales channel. 

Make sure that your monthly processing volume is not capped. Imagine that you’re having a great month for sales, more than you’ve ever sold before. Suddenly, you’re halfway through the month and you can’t accept anymore credit cards without paying extra fees because you’ve exceeded your agreed-upon volume for the month. This is something you should definitely discuss with the provider’s representative.

Other important factors to consider when choosing a merchant account provider include how long they’ve been in business, their technical competence, what kind of training they provide to you and your staff, online reporting and statement capability and how quickly they will deposit transaction proceeds into your account.

The Next Step

So, once you’ve done your research, what’s the next step? Start by comparing what TransFirst® has to offer with the other merchant account providers you’re considering:

  • More than 15 years experience in the secure electronic payments industry
  • Secure, low-cost processing
  • PCI-compliant technology and data security
  • Best-in-class products and services
  • 30-day, risk-free trial
  • Free, U.S.-based customer service that’s available 24/7/365
  • An A+ Customer Satisfaction Rating from the Better Business Bureau

Honesty, integrity and outstanding service — that’s how we do business at TransFirst. Should you expect any less from your merchant account provider?


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