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How Do I Set Up Debit Card Processing?

A merchant account provider may check a person's credit history when applying for a merchant account.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 21 September 2014
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In order to set up debit card processing, you will typically need a merchant account. This type of account allows business owners to process payments that consumers provide via credit or debit cards. Setting up an account usually involves completing an application and paying a setup fee. You will most likely need a checking or savings account into which your customers' payments will be deposited as well. Alternatively, you may set up an account with a third-party payment processing company that will use its merchant account to process payments on your behalf.

Merchant accounts are usually required for debit card processing. These accounts also allow you to process credit cards if you wish. The first step in getting set up for debit card processing is usually deciding which merchant account provider you want to use. You may compare providers based on their application requirements, fees, and processing terms and then select the provider that is willing to offer the best deal. Additionally, you may compare merchant account providers based on the setup fees they offer for merchant accounts; some may offer free setup, however.

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Once you’ve chosen a merchant account provider, you will usually have to complete an application process to get setup to process debit cards. You will likely have to provide information about you and your business as well as the numbers to the account into which you want your payments deposited. A merchant account provider may check your credit history when you apply for a merchant account. If you have bad credit, however, this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to secure a merchant account, as there are merchant account providers that accept people with bad credit as well.

When your application for a merchant account is approved, you may have to buy or lease equipment to prepare for debit card processing. For example, you may need equipment that will allow your customers to scan debit cards and enter their pin numbers when completing transactions. If you will only process payments online, however, you may only need payment processing software or a payment gateway. A payment gateway is a system for authorizing and settling payment transactions.

As an alternative to a merchant account, you may sign up for an account with a third-party payment processor. This business will use its own merchant account to process debit card transactions for you. Signing up with a payment processor may be easier and faster than setting up your own merchant account. In most cases, however, you will have to pay a fee for each payment you process. The third-party payment processor may also place limits on the number of payments you can process each month.

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