How do I get a merchant account in USA? A Step-by-Step Guide

How do I get a merchant account in USA

It is in the merchant’s best advantage to open a merchant account. Customers do not always have cash on them, even at brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, the owners of such firms must register merchant accounts in order to process and receive credit card payments.

It is especially important for internet firms who wish to accept credit card payments.

Obtaining such an account is a time-consuming process. But don’t worry: we’ll guide you through it step by step in this post.

But first and foremost Let us first clarify what a merchant account is.

What exactly is a merchant account?

A merchant account is a contract between a business and an acquiring bank. This agreement grants the former the ability to process and accept credit card payments. A merchant agrees to follow the operating restrictions issued by Visa, MasterCard, or any other brand by signing this agreement. 

Acquiring a merchant account allows a merchant to expand his business by reaching out to a larger number of clients who choose to pay for his goods and services with a credit card rather than cash.

The only difficulty now is how and where to open this account. 

How do I open a merchant account?

First and foremost, there are several factors to consider before making a final selection of a merchant account provider.

And, while the best rates and the most appealing terms are entirely dependent on the nature of your business, its size, turnover, processing history, and a variety of other factors, we would like to highlight the most crucial aspects that you just cannot afford to overlook.

  1. Choose credit card brands to work with.
  2. Figure out the payment model.
  3. Analyze your turnover.
  4. Start looking for a (local) bank.
  5. Prepare your website.
  6. Gather all the documents.
  7. Submit an application form.

1. Select credit card companies to cooperate with

This is the beginning of your trip. Begin by determining which credit card brands are significant to you. This answer is determined by your target audience’s demographics.

You may simply require Visa and MasterCard. However, if your consumers originate from nations with their own distinct credit card brands, ensure that the bank with which you wish to create an account provides you with this option. 

To give you a sense of how that works, below is what reliable sources say about the popularity of several credit card companies in various regions of the world.

2. Determine the payment plan

As a merchant, you may provide your customers with a variety of payment options, such as recurring billing or one-time purchases. Check to see if your bank accepts both of these payment methods for your sort of business. And, if so, check out what rates the bank gives and go with the one that has the best rates for you. 

3. Examine your turnover rate

The rates that banks set are determined by the volume of business. So, be prepared to supply the financial institution with all necessary paperwork demonstrating your financial situation and card turnover during the previous year or so.

4. Begin your search for a (local) bank

We frequently advise our clients to create a merchant account with a local bank, which means a bank in the same jurisdiction as the merchant’s business. The fact is that they provide the finest pricing and traffic performance. As a result, before researching overseas choices, look for a local bank with whom to partner.

Furthermore, you should always seek a merchant account at the same bank where you have your main account. In this situation, the fact that a merchant keeps a particular quantity of money in his account boosts the bank’s confidence and assures better terms.

However, for people who run a worldwide business, locating a local bank in every country with which they do business is not an option. Given the length of the opening, setup, and integration processes, it will just take forever.

That is why customers might seek the services of Payment Service Providers, who frequently have everything covered.

While we’re on the subject, startups, high-risk merchants, and businesses that have been in operation for less than two years (or have no processing history) should also seek the assistance of an experienced Payment Service Provider. This raises the likelihood of a merchant obtaining a merchant account and removes hundreds of business risks connected with payment processing. It also saves merchants’ anxieties and efforts.

5. Get your website ready

To obtain a merchant account, you must first establish your website (as long as you run an online business). Examine it to confirm that it meets all Visa and MasterCard regulations.

If you use a Payment Service Provider, they can assist you at this step. If not, it is your obligation to guarantee that the checkout is secure and that the product and shipping alternatives are described clearly.

Another critical factor to consider is your website’s domain information. To be eligible for a merchant account, you must have a website with a unique name and your own hosting. 

6. Collect all of the documentation

The next step would be to compile all of the necessary documentation and submit them to the bank. Documents include a complete inventory of all the company operations you intend to carry out, a voided check for the checking account, and tax returns. The list may differ from bank to bank as new papers are added.

7. Fill out an application form

Finally, fill out an application form for the relevant account. The bank will review your application form and make a final decision when you submit it together with all of the previously acquired documentation. 

Finally, the business will be required to pay an account setup charge. This is not the only cost levied by the merchant account provider. The monthly and refuse costs, as well as chargeback and refund fees, are only a few examples. To avoid being caught off guard later, thoroughly read the portion of the contract where they are referenced.

You may begin processing and accepting credit card payments as soon as your bank opens your account.

Types of merchant accounts 

Are you looking for the right merchant account for your business? Different types can meet the unique needs of your business when it comes to payments.


For retail businesses with fixed store locations, there are merchant accounts specifically designed for your needs, and these accounts typically offer low setup and transaction fees. 

Mobile merchants: 

You will require a mobile merchant account if your business travels to events such as food trucks. You can acquire mobile card processing equipment that is easy to set up and use, allowing you to accept mobile credit card payments. 


There are merchant accounts designed specifically for your needs, such as e-commerce merchant accounts. These accounts offer features that make it easy to process payments securely and quickly.

What is a credit card merchant account?

  1. A consumer decides to buy anything from your website and submits his payment information.
  2. A payment system built onto your website sends the payment request to the merchant’s acquiring bank.
  3. The payment request is sent to the client’s issuing bank by the acquiring bank.
  4. The issuing bank processes and validates the request and responds instantly.
  5. In case the issuing bank gives green light to the transaction, both the merchant and the customer receive a notification about a successful transaction, and money will be transferred to a credit card merchant account.

If the transaction is not approved by the issuing bank, the parties will be notified of a rejected request.