A merchant account will allow businesses in the UK to approve payments for goods or services via credit and debit cards.

Merchant accounts are quite easy to set up, but it’s must be done either through your bank or through an Independent Sales Organization (ISO), both of these options will require a payment service provider (PSP).

Your payment service provider will authorize and transfers your customer’s details to your merchant account provider. Once the transaction has been approved, the PSP will send a confirmation to the card machine.

Most banks offering a merchant account service will also provide PSP but it is entirely up to the business on whether or not you opt in to this service or find an independent provider.

Both parties will charge setup and transaction fees so you will have to bear that in mind, but most of the time an independent payment service provider will offer a much more reasonable rate when compared to a bank

Merchant accounts make processing payments very simple and automatic. Once a transaction has been made, it is then pushed through a payment gateway to make sure the card information is 100% correct, it then gets moved on directly to the merchant account. Once the payment has reached the merchant account it will then be sent to your business account. This will cost you a transaction fee and can take anywhere from 24 hours to a week in order to complete. The transaction fees are worked out by a percentage of the amount or by a set fee disclosed in the contract.

PDQ Card Payments

Most merchant accounts are opened because it allows the retailers to take card payments. The most popular payment methods among customers are credit and debit cards. Therefore these two options have become expected to be available by sole traders, small vendors or market stalls.

Online Payments

Additionally with a PDQ machine being able to take face to face card payments, having a merchant account will enable you to take payments online.
While having a merchant account and payment gateway set up, your customers can securely enter their details on your website in order to purchase items.

Online Merchant Accounts

Online merchant accounts allow you to access all information about your transactions, contracts and outstanding payments around the clock seven days a week. Payments will be sent directly to your account which will give you real time access to any transaction as it occurs.

eCommerce Merchant Accounts

The need to process card payments is paramount to an eCommerce business. Once your customers have completed their online shopping, your website will provide the porthole in order for them to enter their card details. eCommerce usually requires you to set up a payment gateway separately, unlike other merchant accounts.


Using a merchant account can offer a wide array of security. You will have less cash to deal with as you can accept card payments. Thus cutting down on staff giving wrong change or even pocketing some money for themselves and significantly lowers the change on money going missing. In the event of a robbery, your company will lose less, due to less cash being in the tills.

Accepting card payments lowers the risk of being paid with counterfeit bills or coins. Plus credit and debit cards being checked via a payment gateway therefore you will know immediately if the payment went through or not.

Increased Sales & Profit

Having a merchant account usually increases profit, because people tend to spend more if they can pay by card.

Not having card payments available will increase the amount of customers leaving the store without making a purchase due to the fact that less and less people tend to carry cash around with them these days.

Reduced Bank Fees

Banks tend to charge higher fees if you are depositing large amounts of cash, therefore accepting card payments will reduce these charges because your company will be accepting less cash as a payment. Cheques are another option that can lead to bank fees. While merchant accounts do come with fees attached, they are usually less than the bank charge for depositing large sums of cash.