Looking to apply for a new merchant account? Merchant account requirements are strict. Before you call the bank, you need to make sure your website meets certain criteria. Here’s everything you need to know about general website compliance.
It should only take you a few minutes to go through our list. Trust us, following these 6 tips will make the whole onboarding process just so much faster.
Make sure your merchant details are visible
It’s always good practice to include important details about your business right on your website. This information should include:
- The legal entity name and registered address.
- The country of operations (only in case it’s different from the registered address).
- The address that is used for correspondence with cardholders.
- Contact details, which should always include an email address and/or a telephone number.
Clearly describe your goods and services
While it may be obvious to you, customers—and your bank—need to know exactly what it is that you’re selling. Write a clear description of the services and goods you offer, and make sure all website visitors have easy access to it.
Bear in mind that some products (e.g., CBD) require specific descriptions that need to be crafted with the help of professionals. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about such tricky cases.
Make sure all your pages are properly secured
Security is one of the most important merchant account requirements. Your website should have a unique domain name that matches that of your brand. To keep visitors safe while browsing your website, make sure that:
- You’ve enabled TLS/SSL encryption. The payment page and all other pages that include personal or sensitive information should be secured with the right protocols. Secure pages come with an “s” after hypertext transfer protocol (http s ://).
- You’ve created a secure personal area and login page.
- You use safe forms and a return URL to ensure visitors remain on your website when entering sensitive information.
- Besides the payment page, you don’t redirect visitors to domains not disclosed or approved by the acquirer.
Include the official card scheme logos
You can give your website more credibility by displaying the official card scheme logos (e.g., Visa, Mastercard, American Express). Ideally, they should appear in full colour in the website footer—not just the payment page. That way, visitors can clearly see the payment instruments you accept at the point of entry to your shop.
By adding card scheme logos into the main body of your website, buyers will feel much more confident when browsing your products—and will likely convert more frequently as a result.
List important legal information
You want to make sure your website stays on the right side of the law. Your eCommerce website should contain:
- Your terms and conditions, which must:
- Include the legal jurisdiction that governs the contractual relationship between the merchant and the cardholder (matching the merchant’s identified location).
- If applicable, mention the export, age, and location legal limitations of your merchant website.
- Your delivery/shipping policy (if applicable to your website).
- Your return, refund, and cancellation policies.
Craft your payment page with care
Your payment page is arguably the most important page of your eCommerce website. Make sure it includes:
- Your company details, including the country of registration.
- The official card scheme logos.
- An option for clients to manually accept the T&C before payments (in the form of a ‘click to accept’ button, checkbox, or other acknowledgement).
Once a customer makes it to checkout, you need to make sure the page clearly displays:
- The exact amount of the payment and all additional costs.
- Accurate currency conversion (if applicable).
- Any commissions that add to the total (if applicable).
If you retain stored payment card credentials (tokens) on the payment page and other pages that show account information, you must also display:
- The last 4 digits of the account number or token (e.g., xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-1234).
- The card scheme brand mark payment option (i.e., the card’s logo).
After clicking the ‘pay now’ button, customers need to be directed to a payment confirmation page that informs them about their purchase (e.g., whether it was successful/declined). If applicable, you should also include instructions on how customers are set to receive the goods/services they purchased from you.
Remember: You are obliged to provide cardholders with a completed transaction receipt at the time of the transaction. This also applies to all recurring charges.
Merchant account requirements can be strict
This may sound like a lot right now, but ensuring your website complies with common regulations is crucial. Because merchant account requirements are strict across the board, doing so will increase your chances of getting approved when applying for a new account with your acquiring bank.
So don’t wait. Create a safe and useful website for your clients now, and you’ll save quite a lot of time down the road!