Credit card processing has been around for many years in some form or another. Back on the “Little House on the Prairie,” the Olsen general store allowed consumers to pay for items on an account. All the consumers were kept in a log book and paid when they could. We have evolved as a nation, and so has our technology.
In New York, in 1950, the first credit card was released by Franklin National Bank of Long Island. It was also in New York in 2001 that our entire outlook changed. The World Trade Center was attacked and Homeland Security was created to protect our nation from terrorism. The government put in place The Patriot Act, which affected the merchant services industry by putting stricter guidelines on account approvals. Merchants are now required to submit a copy of government issued documents identifying themselves and their business.
The following items are considered acceptable (you will need a minimum of one from each category):
- Corporate resolution including date and place filed
- Articles of Incorporation
- Business license (fictitious name statement)
- Business Financials
- Partnership agreement
- Copy of driver license
- Resident Identification card
- Military Identification
Processors may ask business owners to provide monthly volume, average ticket, years in business, and even personal bank statements. The processor is ultimately trying to protect themselves and the merchant from losing money. By putting these types of fraud controls in place, credit card processors can monitor suspicious activity. They can monitor frequent declines and large transactions that your business does not typically do. There are many different acquiring banks and each has their own criteria for approving a merchant account. Most processors can provide you with their underwriting guidelines. Check with your processor on what criteria your account may need to get approved for a merchant accounts.
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