Term: Merchant Account

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A merchant account is a line of credit from the acquirer bank to the merchant that enables the merchant to accept payment cards to pay for goods and services. This line of credit allows the acquirer to advance the merchant the funds for transactions before the acquirer has received payment from the cardholder’s issuer bank or financial institution.

There are different types of merchant accounts depending on the business model/type the merchant is in. For those merchants for whom the cardholders payment card is usually present during the transaction, the types are general Retail (the most common type), Restaurant, Hospitality and Auto Rental. For those merchants for whom the cardholder’s payment card is usually not present at the transaction the three types are Mail Order/Telephone Order, eCommerce for merchants selling some form of physical product and Digital Merchant eCommerce where the merchant is selling a service like a site membership or a subscription.

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