Frequently Asked Questions


Opening a merchant account is a big step for your business, and with an industry this intricate, it’s natural to have a few questions. To help you get started, here are a few of the ones we get often:

Why do I need a merchant account?

A merchant account allows you to accept payments from credit and debit cards. A business must go through an application process in order to open one in which your financials and credit history are examined. It’s possible to work with a third-party processor to accept credit cards instead of opening an individual account, but without an account of your own, your options with equipment, rates, and funding are more limited.

Do I have to sign a contract?

Every merchant account requires a signed application that shows you agree to the conditions and rates of the processing company. The application itself does not require a length of time for the account to stay open, although some processors may ask you to agree to keep the account open for a certain period of time and will charge an early termination fee if the account is cancelled before that date.

Why do I need an agent?

Your agent provides personal attention for your merchant account. They help you set up the account and are your point of contact with the bank processor to deal with any problems that may arise.

How long does it take to open an account?

Your merchant account can be up and running within a day of submitting your application depending on the business type and equipment.

How much will my equipment cost?

Terminals begin around $100, while POS systems can cost $1000 or more. Cash discount accounts may qualify for free terminal placement, where you are provided with a terminal to use as long as the account is open.

When will I receive my deposits?

Many accounts qualify for next-day funding depending on the type of business and the equipment used. Others may be subject to a one day hold.

What is a high-risk account?

A high risk account is a business type that processors have deemed risky to work with and thus is more difficult to open. Because of a history of chargebacks or industry regulations, businesses such as firearms, e-cigarettes, and furniture stores may have to do more searching to find a processor that will be able to approve their account and offer competitive rates.

What is interchange?

Interchange is the rate that credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard charge for every credit card transaction a business accepts. This charge may depend on the type of card that is used and is typically higher for keyed transactions than swiped/EMV transactions. Some processors will set up your account with flat rate pricing instead, in which the charge is the same for all card types.

What determines my rates?

Many factors go into this. The interchange rate provides the base of your fees, and while this is the same for everyone, your agent and processor determines how much you will pay above interchange. This may be higher for certain business types, such as those considered high risk.

Will my rates ever increase?

Your rates will never change without your signed consent, unless required by the card associations, which we would pass through at cost.

What kind of customer service do you offer?

Our technical support is available 24/7 and we have in-house technical expertise and language support for all of your account needs.

Have any other questions? The customer service and in-house technical team at Merchant Service Group LLC is always available to answer them.

For more information, please email us at

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Frequently Asked Questions