International Merchant Accounts for Small Businesses


The Internet has taken commerce to a new, global level. In the 21st century, businesses sell goods and services around the world, regardless of borders, time zones, or distance. The financial industry has kept pace with this change, offering tools to ensure 24/7 payment acceptance from customers in different countries. A merchant account is one such solution. Today, many banking and non-banking institutions offer international merchant service registration.

What is an international merchant account?

A merchant account is a special bank account that allows you to accept debit or credit cards and receive payments from your customers’ bank accounts. This is a convenient feature because it allows you to receive payments 24 hours a day, regardless of bank or merchant working hours: customers can pay at night, on weekends, or on holidays, and the money will definitely be credited to the account.

Merchant accounts are usually created for online businesses such as Internet shops, gaming sites, and online casinos, but such accounts can also be used in real stores, but you will need a POS terminal.

What does it do?

Once a customer has selected an item and clicked the “Pay by Card” button, the payment gateway redirects the customer to a secure payment form page. There are two types of payment gateways:

  • A physical card-reading device, such as those found in supermarkets;
  • Software code on an online merchant’s website that processes the customer’s card information.

The request is sent to the acquiring bank, which communicates with the payment system (such as Visa or MasterCard). The payment system then requests information about the card from the issuing bank (the issuer is the bank that issued the card). If the transaction is approved (the account is active and has sufficient funds), the payment system sends a confirmation to the acquiring bank. Then the information goes back to the payment gateway, which notifies the merchant that the payment has been made.

Why do I need a merchant account?

As the world becomes increasingly cashless, it is important to offer customers an alternative to cash or checks. Increased sales, improved cash management, reduced potential risk and losses from declined transactions, and increased customer satisfaction are just a few benefits of opening a merchant account.

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