5 Free Merchant Account mistakes merchants make

Nobody's perfect.

And in the world of business, mistakes are made on the way to success that can either hinder or delay the "planned success" of a business and never has this been truer than for an ecommerce business. Merchants are too quick to sign contracts or agreements from ecommerce "helpers" such as free merchant accounts.

Free merchant accounts are not the culprit here. And this wasn't meant to point a finger on who's to blame.

Before entering into any business - whether retail, MOTO, or Internet - agreements & contracts are always present. Some merchants who see free on the paper don't account the fine print on the contract. That's one of the downfall of merchants. After a month or two, they go running back to their providers with contracts in hand, only to admit defeat that they have no escape from the dreaded contract.

So what are the common mistakes merchants make when getting a free merchant account? Educate yourself on some you can easily avoid:

  • They don't look out for hidden charges/fees
As long as summer days are long, and nights are short, so will anybody who's ever been in business has to make money - and free merchant account providers are no exception. It's sooo cliche, but there is seriously no such thing as free lunch. Merchants can avoid commiting this mistake by asking for all charges and fees they might incur when they start processing. This includes but isn't limited to the discount rate, transaction fees, and monthly processing fees.

  • They don't poke around the FINE print.
Our rates are FREE! Often, just a mention of the word free and anyone in the FREE world will scurry to see what they can get without giving. Unfortunately in business, this isn't the case. Some can give you free coupons but you have to buy the whole newspaper, or get a free lunch but pay for dinner - the point being, merchants easily see the word free but they don't poke around the FINE print. If there's another word starting with F that merchants should be wary of - it should be Fine with the word PRINT to follow.

  • They don't ask when they can access funds
Your merchant account provider should free you of restrictions when it comes to having access to your funds/revenue 24/7/365. Start scouting fast for a new one if they impose restrictions.

  • They don't make a background check of the company
Everywhere there's a thief. It's up to you to make the necessary precautions. Whether it's a credit card processing provider, a payment gateway, or a shopping cart, always make background checks. The features of Web 2.0 has made the world a smaller place, as well as placed consumer information within reach. Easily you can get free reviews of merchant accounts, payment gateways, the latest news on celebrities, and what-nots within seconds!

  • They don't look for freebies
Although there is no such thing as free lunch, there is such a thing as appetizer! Consider the freebies offered by free merchant account providers as appetizers - free setup, application fees, monthly fees, etc, depending on your provider, can be tasty and make you want to get ahead with the whole meal - or service. Of course, as a merchant you should always be on the look out for providers who normally change their freebie offerings from time to time and take the best deal out there.

When you get an offer sheet, it helps to be a bit skeptical. Don't look at it with doe eyes - innocent and believing every word spouted by the agent. Knowledge is also powerful - with it, you can attack the agent with a barrage of questions. If you feel they havent successfully answered your questions, then start saying... NEXT PLEASE!

It's your business after all.
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