Using a payment-processing company
Payment-processing companies obtain payment from your customers' credit and debit cards on your behalf and forward the money to you. They offer a useful alternative for businesses who have a smaller turnover from card transactions or who can't open a merchant account with an acquiring bank.
Payment-processing companies relieve you of the administrative burden of managing customers' card details and running a merchant account.
- They save you from having to set up secure payment systems.
- They have less strict application procedures than a merchant account requires. For example you will not usually be required to supply the same level of detailed information about your business plan, trading history and suppliers.
- Your application can be processed much more quickly than for a merchant account.
- Customers can see that the payment is not going directly to you even though they may be conducting the transaction through your website.
- Payment-processing companies hold payments for a settlement period of 30-60 days before they reach your account.
- Charges are generally higher than for a merchant account. However, costs are falling and the market for these services is competitive.
If a card is used fraudulently, the value of the transaction will be reclaimed from your business but you may be able to get insurance to cover this risk.