Okay so you want to accept credit cards from your customers, and are interested in establishing a merchant account. Whether you own a brick-and-mortar retail store, mail order outlet, or internet shopping operation, there are a few things to consider when choosing a credit card processing provider.
First of all, you should make a list of several providers that offer the features you want, then compare the variable fees that may differ depending on the company you deal with. These fees include things like set-up, cancellation, and monthly minimum, and may be negotiable based on your unique circumstances.
Once you have determined the what your business will be charged for its merchant account, it's often a good idea to do a few sample calculations to work out your total credit card processing costs during a good, bad, and average month.
Finally, you should read and double-check the contract, including small print and detailed terms. Don't sign anything until you are confident that you understand all the fees, minimums, termination clauses, and other details. It's important to keep in mind that merchant account providers won't go over every single point with every single customer, and that it is ultimately your responsibility to read and understand the terms.