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What’s the Fastest way to Start Accepting Credit Cards?

Are you looking for the fastest way to start accepting credit cards? Business decisions move faster and faster these days, but before you make a decision that you’ll have to live with for time to come, let’s slow down and look at the options for the best credit card processing for small business.

Merchant Account v. Aggregator.

A good way to parse your available options is to get into the difference between a payment aggregator, and a dedicated merchant account. As your mother probably always said, slow and steady wins the race. But as a business owner, you don’t want slow, especially when it comes to payments. This is exactly why we need to look at what is slow, and what is fast, about these two options.

Aggregators are called that because during payment processing, they lump businesses together, rather than processing payments on an individual basis. Some well-known aggregators are PayPal, Square, and Stripe. At the first glance, you may be encouraged by the up-front simplicity of the aggregator model. They don’t require merchants to sign up for a merchant account, which can make the process go faster. You most likely don’t have to worry about approval with an aggregator, and as a result, application and setup is typically pretty fast and easy when compared to the slightly longer sign up process merchant accounts have.

The risk

What’s slower about aggregators is, well, everything else. The name of the game when you process payments is risk. As aggregators have an increased risk, they hedge this unavoidable consequence by charging higher fees. Merchant accounts hedge that same risk by taking a closer look during the application process. In other words, if you’re an established business, taking the time to set up a merchant account just makes good sense.


The last thing you want to do with your payment processor is allow wait times to derail your cash flow. When dealing with an aggregator, this is an issue, though. Depending on the service you can wait anything from a few days to a week or more after the purchase before the money is safe in your checking account and spendable. When unexpected expenses crop up, you want to be able to get at the money you have, and as a rule, merchant accounts, like Moolah, better allow that.

In a sense, when it comes to risk management: merchant accounts are proactive, and aggregators are reactive. So rather than asking, “What will get me on my feet fastest?” when deciding on the best credit card processing for small business, it may be better to think of the question as a decision between quick setup, but with the potential for interruptions down the road, and a more involved setup process that enables you to avoid unexpected holds. Moolah takes the question seriously, and offers the stability and convenience of a merchant account, along with all the long-term benefits that come with it.