Q: What are the options available for a Non US Resident to open a Merchant Account?
A: As a Non US Resident, you have few options available to setup a merchant account linked to your US Company. Please review the options listed below to understand what is the best option that can meet your situation and requirements.
We will provide you all of the below listed options which you can explore and utilize:
US Domestic Merchant Account with top US Merchant Providers (Required: a US Person as a Guarantor)
US Domestic Merchant Account with top US Merchant Providers without a US Person
Offshore Merchant Account (Multi Currency)
High Risk Merchant Account (multi Currency)
Belize Offshore High Risk Merchant Account (multi Currency)
Third Party Merchant Account (Multi Currency)
Great choice for a new, small or high risk business
Q: What is included in your Merchant Account Introduction & Submission Service?
A: Our Merchant Account Introduction & Submission Service assists you with the process of opening a bank account for your US Company based on the options available at the time. The services includes:
1. Presenting the merchant account options available including specific merchant providers and their policy / procedures to open an account
2. Contact information of each merchant provider to enable you contact the merchant provider and apply.
3. Application forms, instructions and details on the supporting documents the merchant provider requires to open the account.
4. Assistance with filing in the application, preparing the supporting documents and applying with the relevant merchant provider.
5. Communication with the merchant provider when necessary and and assisting in the process.
Q: What is a merchant account, and do I need one?
A: A merchant account is set up with a financial institution to allow you accept credit card payments directly from your clients. Unlike with most third-party services, money collected through your merchant account is deposited directly into your bank account. You need a merchant account if you want to process credit card payments from your clients using your own business name, and having the money deposited directly into your business checking account.
Q: Is a Merchant Account and a Bank Account the same?
A: No. Merchant Account only enable you charge your client's using credit card and debit cards. Once you have charged the credit card, the money will be deposited to your bank account. You can't withdrawal money from the merchant account in any other way. Therefore, in order to withdraw money from your merchant account you must have a bank account to link to the merchant account.
Q: Is The Merchant Account and the Bank Account provided by the same bank or financial institute?
A: Not Necessarily. Bank Account is provided by a licensed bank. Merchant Account may be provided by a financial institution licensed as a Merchant provider. There are banks who are also a merchant providers. In this even, the bank will be able to provide both bank account and merchant account. Otherwise, your bank account will be with your bank, and your merchant account will be with your merchant provider.
Q: What is a Online / Virtual Gateway or Online / Virtual Terminal?
A: one of the features of a Merchant Account is the ability to charge credit card and debit cards of your clients. this type of merchant account is usually known as "Internet / MOTO Merchants". It allows you to use a Virtual Platform (Internet website) to enter the credit card information and charge the client. The platform is also called gateway or terminal.
You have two options for online processing. One is called "real-time", where your customers are actually connected to a server and their credit cards are charged immediately when they place their order. The other is off-line processing, where the credit card info for each sales is saved securely online and you must retrieve it and process the sale manually. If you are having trouble deciding which product to use, we will be happy to help.
Q: Is it easy for a Non US Resident to open a Merchant Account?
A: Opening a Merchant Account it is the most challenging step in the process of your US E-Commerce Business Setup. There are few reasons to this:
1. The financial institutions providing merchant services must comply with strict financial and security laws and regulations both in the US and International providers.
2. There is a Risk Factor involved in any merchant account. The merchant provider will evaluate the risk by running a due diligence on the business and beneficiary owner. If the merchant provider will review the risk factor to be too high to accommodate, they will find it difficult to approve the account. For the due diligence process you will need to provide information about your business, such as: website, product and/or services provided, banking records and reference, current merchant account records, customer service policy, delivery policy and proof of delivery to the client, refund policy, financial statements, estimated revenues, estimated average sale and more.
Q: Why are there different rates for different accounts?
A: The rates for merchant accounts vary based on the amount of risk involved in the transaction. The accounts with the lowest rates will always be the ones where the customer is present and the card is swiped and a receipt signed in a face to face transaction. The credit card companies view these types of transactions to be fairly low in risk for fraud, whereas internet transactions and transactions where orders are taken by phone or mail are generally considered higher risk since the customer is not present and the card is not in hand.
Q. Do you offer merchant accounts Non-US-Residents?
A. Yes! We recently partnered with a processor to allow for Non-US-Residents operate a US Merchant Account
You are a U.S. based business selling high risk products or services
You are a U.S. based business with very poor personal credit
You are an International business located outside of the U.S selling any type of product or service.
Q. How do I accept credit cards online?
A. You have two options for online processing. One is called "real-time", where your customers are actually connected to a server and their credit cards are charged immediately when they place their order. The other is off-line processing, where the credit card info for each sales is saved securely online and you must retrieve it and process the sale manually. If you are having trouble deciding which product to use, we will be happy to help.
Q. Do I Need a Shopping Cart for Online Sales?
A. Most online merchants do use shopping cart software to make the sales process easier for customers. You can choose from many different shopping cart programs.
Q. I don't have a website. What if I want to process sales offline?
A. You can use a terminal to "swipe" credit card sales as they happen (card present sales) or to process sales manually if you do mostly mail order and/or phone order sales.
Q. How long does it take to get set up?
A. From the time we receive your application, it generally takes 1 - 3 days to receive your approval. If you are ordering a terminal, it is shipped out upon approval, and will generally reach you within 5 business days. You can begin processing as soon as you have received your designated product.
Q. What if I don't get approved?
A. We have a 98% approval rate, so it's very unlikely that you wouldn't get approved. We will go over all the details of your business before you apply, so we will do our best to be sure that you will get approved. If, for some reason, you are denied, you will be refunded your setup fee, less a $25 processing charge. (note - only internet accounts incur a setup fee.)
Q. Are there any businesses that you do not allow to apply?
A. Yes. Businesses outside the United States (You have to be Incorporated in the US) and accounts where a principal business owner has an open bankruptcy are not allowed to apply. We also maintain a list of unacceptable, or "high-risk" and conditional merchants. Conditional merchants may apply if they meet certain restrictions. The bank may also impose some additional holdbacks or require an up front security account to approve these merchants.
Q. How long does it take to receive our funds once an order is processed?
A. Funds are deposited directly into your checking account, within 2-4 days, depending on the time of day/day of week you close your batch.
Q. Why are there different rates for different accounts?
A. The rates for merchant accounts vary based on the amount of risk involved in the transaction. The accounts with the lowest rates will always be the ones where the customer is present and the card is swiped and a receipt signed in a face to face transaction. The credit card companies view these types of transactions to be fairly low in risk for fraud, whereas internet transactions and transactions where orders are taken by phone or mail are generally considered higher risk since the customer is not present and the card is not in hand.
Q. What is a Chargeback?
A. A chargeback occurs when a customer disputes a charge on their statement by contacting the credit card company instead of contacting you. If a customer does not recognize the charge on their statement, or if they believe the amount was wrong, they may call their credit card company and ask them to investigate. Thus begins the chargeback. The merchant bank will charge you a fee for the retrieval of information, and if it is determined that the customer is right, there will be another fee for the chargeback itself. The customer will be refunded their money directly through the credit card company and your checking account will be debited. Eventually, if your account has excessive chargebacks, the bank may choose to cancel your account. The more you do to protect yourself against chargebacks, the better off you'll be. There is a great forum on this topic at merchant911.org. It's absolutely free and they will provide you with tools and information to help you cut down on the amount of chargebacks and fraudulent orders you will receive.
Q. Please explain the monthly minimum?
A. The monthly minimum for your merchant account is derived from your processing fees. The minimum of $25 should be collected in MC & Visa fees. The actual amount of processing to achieve that minimum will depend upon your discount rate. For example, if you have a discount rate of 2% and you process a transaction for $100, then $2.00 in processing fees will be taken from that transaction and applied towards your monthly minimum of $25. If, at the end of the month, you have not processed enough transactions to cover the minimum fee, you will be charged the difference.
Q. What is the difference between qualified, mid-qual, and non-qual transactions?
A. Qualified discount rate is applied for all transactions meeting the "normal" operating guidelines as outlined below:
* All Merchants
Close batches daily
* Retail (Terminal) Merchants
Magnetically swiped & electronically authorized charges
* Internet / MOTO Merchants
Electronically authorize charges using AVS and including order numbers for Visa and MasterCard transactions
Mid-Qualified discount rate is applied for all transactions meeting the operating guidelines as outlined below:
* Retail (Terminal) Merchants
Manually keyed orders using AVS & order number on Visa and MasterCard transactions.
* Internet / MOTO Merchants
There is no mid-qual rate for Internet / MOTO merchants.
Non-Qualified discount rate is applied for all transactions meeting the operating guidelines as outlined below:
* All Merchants
- Not Closing batches daily
- Not using AVS & providing order numbers on manually
keyed or Internet transactions for Visa Cards
- High Risk Merchants (Visa Transactions Only)
- Following Card Types:
: Business and Corporate cards
: MasterCard/Visa Business cards
: Procurement cards (Government)
: Visa Signature cards
: MasterCard World cards
Q. What is the statement fee?
A. The statement fee is charged by the bank each month to process and send you your statement. Our merchant accounts have a $10 statement fee.
Q. What is the gateway fee?
A. The gateway fee is charged by the real-time processor you have chosen for your account if you sign up for an Internet account.
Q. What is the AVS fee?
A. The AVS fee is charged by the processor to allow you to use the Address Verification System on your Internet and MOTO charges to protect against fraudulent orders. The fee for your account is $0.10 per transaction. This is in addition to your regular merchant account fees. This does not apply to sales "swiped" through a terminal, but it does if transactions are "keyed" or typed into a terminal.
Q. What is the Overlimit fee?
A. When you apply for your merchant account, you indicate how much monthly volume you expect to process. As such, your account is approved for that amount and if you go over you may be subject to an overlimit fee. You may be able to avoid the overlimit fee in any given month if you believe your sales will be over the top by calling customer service and letting them know in advance. If your sales will continue to be over the limit for the following months, you can simply ask them to bump you up to the next level, which may require some paperwork.
Q. How do I get set up for Discover Card and American Express?
A. When you sign up for your merchant account, you are signing up to accept MasterCard and Visa transactions only unless you note on the application that you want Discover Card and AMEX as well. Please note, they do charge different discount rates than your regular account, and they send you separate statements as well. Please be sure to ask for more details.