Acquiring Bank/Merchant Bank

An acquiring bank or merchant bank is a financial institution that permits a merchant to process its debit and credit card transactions. These transactions occur on a daily basis between the merchant and the acquiring bank. It begins with the merchant’s credit card processing at the time of purchase. Those sales are then submitted by the merchant to the bank each day. Once the bank is entrusted with that day’s merchant account sales, the bank deposits those funds into the merchant account. The merchant can then view that deposit as a “credit” to his or her account. These deposits are secured by the acquiring bank, so no holds are placed and funds are available the next day – providing there are no problems with the transaction. These deposits can be viewed like any other deposits into an account, either online, at the bank or on the monthly bank statement. The deposit of credit card processing sales for the day must equal the merchant’s account sales for the transaction between the acquiring bank and account holder to balance.

Where can discrepancies be resolved?

Should any discrepancies occur in the merchant’s sales total or deposit amount, that merchant should directly contact his or her acquiring bank. A customer service representative trained in merchant accounts and processing should be able to answer questions or resolve issues for the account holder. When merchants need account balances or have inquiries about transactions, that information can be accessed via the merchant bank’s business online banking or by contacting customer service.

What options are available for setting up a merchant account?

The acquiring bank is also responsible for setting up the merchant with the credit card processing and business account. Credit card sales are submitted electronically; however, merchant accounts are not simply limited to digital transactions. Most business checking accounts at merchant banks will also process paper checks, cash, wires (both domestic and international), and transfers of funds. Different accounts have different stipulations regarding that account’s parameters (i.e. minimum balance, number of transactions permitted or the level of overdraft protection available). To learn more about what accounts are available for merchants, contact a financial institution and inquire about credit card processing for a merchant account.