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Helping Merchant Accounts and Checking Accounts PlayHelping Merchant Accounts and Checking Accounts Play Nicely Together

To Do List:
1. Name my company
2. Name my web site (and register domain name)
3. Open checking account
4. Open merchant account

You've made the arrangements for adding e-commerce capability to your web
site. Who wouldn't? Your goal is to make it easy for your customers to buy
from you.

Now you're dealing with the merchant application and paperwork. One thing
every bank will need is a voided check from your checking account. Your
merchant bank will be depositing your revenues into this account. Any fees
assessed will be deducted from this same account.

Many people are tempted to use their personal checking accounts in
conjunction with their merchant account. This account is already open and
functioning, meaning one less to-do item on the list, which just grows
longer every day. There would be no extra fees to pay, or new checks to
order. Sounds like a solid plan.

It's fairly easy to put this into operation as well. Your merchant bank will
require you to add a statement to your order page or shopping cart that
reads like this: Your credit card will be charged Jane Q. Public. Simple

What you may not realize is that the name on your personal checking account
is the name that your customers will see on their credit card statements. So
instead of seeing a charge from My Great Company for $125.00, they'll see a
charge from Jane Q. Public. Sure, you told your customer at the time of the
order that the charge would be from Jane Q, but who remembers thirty days
and no telling how many web sites ago?

It doesn't have to be too expensive to open this account. Of course fees
will vary from county to county and bank to bank, but here's a great hint to
save some money: Don't order checks. Whoa! you say. Didn't I just read a few
paragraphs ago that my merchant bank will need a voided check from this
account? I definitely want to make sure the deposits go to the right place!
Once again, your friendly neighborhood merchant account expert is on your
side: just use a

counter check. That's right- your free book of counter
checks can satisfy your merchant bank. The routing number and account number
are what the merchant bank cares about, and that's printed at the bottom of
every check- including counter checks!

Let's presume that you've accepted my astute advice and opened a business
account for My Great Company. Next on your to-do list is registering your
domain name. Now you find that your company name is not available as a
domain name- someone else has already snapped it up. No t to worry! You can
register a name related in some way to your company - maybe something like Remember how the name on your checking account will
be the name on your merchant account? Banks like to see the web site name
match the merchant account name. If your domain name,
doesn't match your account name of My Great Company, all you need to do is
add that statement to your order form or shopping cart: Your credit card
will be charged by My Great Company.

If your domain name is different from your company name, you can create
awareness by splashing your company name all over your site. Of course it
will be on the home page, but including your company name on every page of
your web site encourages your customers to remember you.

So make life easy for yourself and simplify the tasks on your to-do list.
When you're deciding on your company name, see if it's available as a domain
name. You can check to see if it's available here: . Once you find a
domain name you want to keep, register it before someone else finds it! You
can then open your checking account and merchant account when you're ready.

About the Author

Karen LaVoy, eBusiness Consultant for AIS Media, writes on topics important
to small business owners. Email her at with your concerns
about establishing your online business. AIS Media,,
provides web design, web hosting, and e-commerce.