Merchant acquirer facilities

If you want to take payments from credit cards you need to have a merchant facility, also known as a credit card facility. This is neither a regulatory or legal requirement, but a commercial requirement from the credit card industry. The reason for including it here in our regulatory section is that it leads to a similar implication.

When a customer makes a credit card purchase for more than £100, the credit card company has to insure that purchase. If the company who sold to the customer fails to deliver (assume they become insolvent) the credit card company has to refund the customer. As a result, the credit card company is careful about handing out merchant facilities.

To protect themselves, they will almost certainly ask for some form of a guarantee or bond. As with the PTR and ATOL, this will require some upfront costs. Once again, TTA membership comes with a credit card facility. This facility is also cheaper to use than the standard deal offered.

Before you rush off to get your merchant facility, it may be worth knowing that there are three different types of credit card facility:

  • Physical terminal: a physical device that you manually process payments through
  • Desktop facility: this operates in the same way as a physical terminal but it allows multiple users access at the same time - it is therefore better for larger companies
  • Online facility: this enables customers to make payments over a website and use the merchant facility remotely