A merchant or partner should take caution when s/he comes across a merchant account provider that offers an instant approval for a high risk merchant account. There simply is no such thing, unless a merchant account provider’s definition of the term ‘instant’ is somewhere between 3-5 business days or 3-5 weeks. In our experience, that is about the time frame required to obtain a high risk merchant account approval from an acquiring bank. We’ve seen ads and promotions about ‘instant approvals,’ ‘approvals in minutes,’ and even ‘start processing payments today,’ which we find impossible and even deceiving. Merchant account approvals – let alone those for high risk businesses – take patience, time and a lot of KYC documents.
Suggestion: Offer an Instant ‘Pre-Approval’ for a high risk merchant account
We’ve long said that high risk merchants are like snowflakes and fingerprints – there are none that are the same. So when a high risk merchant approaches us about a merchant account, we do not offer an instant approval or any approval for that matter, simply because we need to know more. Instead, we engage prospective merchants in a conversation and ask about their business history, processing history, chargeback rates and volume, among other important dynamics. After a few minutes, because we’ve been in the high risk e-commerce game since the beginning, we’ll know two things:
- Whether Instabill can offer a pre-approval.
- What the best banking solution will be for that merchant.
Behind the tag of ‘free merchant accounts’
This is confession: The key word, ‘free merchant accounts,’ is actually part of our Google Adwords campaign, and it explains why merchants may see it frequently. It’s not because we offer free merchant accounts – no merchant account provider does, trust us on that – but as prospective, new merchants are searching for the best merchant services providers online, the phrase ‘free merchant accounts’ garners more than 300 searches per month. It goes back to the point we made above: When merchants search for this term or for an instant approval for a high risk merchant account,’ we want to appear on page one (which we do – we’re the second non-advertisement listing).
A High Risk Merchant Account: 3 Things to Expedite the Approval Process
Applying for a high risk merchant account and earning an approval the next day (sometimes even the next week, for that matter) is not realistic. There are steps, however, merchants can take to expedite the approval process.
- Be nothing but honest: Have full and complete disclosure with your merchant account provider. Attempts to hide a previous business, to hide TMF/MATCHlist placement, is only going to hinder your chances. High risk merchant account providers will work with you if your processing/credit history is imperfect. Remember, getting credit card processing for a business is a win-win situation between the provider and the merchant.
- Docs in a row: Have all of your KYC documents ready to send to your merchant account provider for underwriting purposes. Documents sent in increments are acceptable, but may indicate the merchant is somewhat disorganized.
- Application fees are red flags: How can a merchant tell that a merchant account provider is working for them? The provider doesn’t charge any fees until the merchant begins processing transactions. Thus, the onus is on them. That is our motivation: Instabill will not charge merchants a dime until we get your up and processing transactions online.
Instabill’s Pledge for a Merchant Account Approval
When prospective merchants and partners are seeking an approval for a merchant account, we want to grant them an approval. As we stated above, when a merchant partner receives the ability to process credit card transactions online, it is mutually beneficial for all parties involved. We invite merchants of all risks to engage us in a 10-minute conversation about your business at 1-800-530-2444, and we’ll exhaust our resources (and dispel the myth about an instant approval for a high risk merchant account) to get you processing transactions online.