What are the options for a webmaster to setup an international merchant account?

A webmaster unable to set up a standard merchant account must look for alternatives in the form of an international merchant account or a third party merchant account.

In order to succeed online you must accept credit cards, especially if you are a merchant dealing with the consumer market. It has always been a problem for small to medium sized businesses and businesses in the high risk category to acquire third party merchant accounts as their local financial institutions are unwilling to take a risk investing in them.

For such businesses, merchant account services have emerged that accept all merchants either for third party merchant accounts or for their own independent international merchant account.

Third Party Merchant Account:

The Third Party Payer merchant account is usually slightly more expensive than a standard merchant account but merchants who require credit card processing can opt for this form of account for the short term. The third party merchant account will allow them to set up a good credit history and they can opt for a merchant account in the future.

The method works in a simple manner, the webmaster will use the merchant account of the 'third party' processor and the sales made will be in the processors name. Thus, while the webmaster will have their storefront, the order page will be diverted to the processors site. Most third party processors have a high degree of customization for the form and the buyer won't know he's left your site unless he checks the URL. One drawback is that the credit card statement will reflect the processors name and not the webmasters, at times confusing the customer.

However, on the plus side, third party payment services are easy and fast to set up, handle most forms of online payments and make detailed data of transactions available online.

International Merchant Accounts /Offshore Merchant Accounts

Many payment processors have created banking relationships with international banks that are reliable and more willing than local banks to take risks. The merchant account processors forward your application to the international bank ensuring that your business meets their criteria.

In this manner businesses that are not able to set up internet merchant accounts with their local banks are able to set up independent international merchant accounts.

These international merchant accounts are stable, reliable and easy to set up. They allow you to transact payments in multiple currencies and have lower processing charges than a third party merchant account.

Webmasters in the high risk- high sales volume category usually opt for an international merchant accounts.