Merchant Competitor

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Merchant Competitor > Industry News, Strategy and Tips

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is to explain the difference between the merchant account and the gateway?  Whether you’re new to processing credit cards or a seasoned business owner, it is very important to understand the purpose of each.  The more knowledge you have, the better you can position yourself and your business for strategic growth.

So the question is…

What’s the difference between a merchant account and payment gateway?

Let’s first start with the merchant account.   Merchant accounts are the last point before funds that received approval are paid out to you.  Merchant accounts act very similar to a normal bank and are subjected to the same federal regulations as their adversaries.  After you successfully process a credit, debit or alternative payment the money is transferred to the merchant bank.  The merchant bank then works on a payment schedule where the funds are deposited in your bank.  Typically funds can be held up to 7 business days but here are Merchant Competitor we understand that access to funds the next day are important asset to a thriving business.

Why do I need a gateway when I have a merchant account?

A payment gateway is your direct relationship between the customer and their payment method.  Businesses are directed to send their payment information direction to the payment processor and never to the merchant bank.  The payment gateway works directly with the major credit card brands to ensure information is securely encrypted and transmitted using the highest standards of PCI compliance.  For example, when a customer goes to your online site and pays using a credit card.  A payment gateway will take that information and cross reference the validity with the credit card issuer.

So how does it all work…

  1. The customer makes a purchase using his or her credit card.
  2. The integrated payment gateway interacts with the credit card networks to determine if there is a successful transaction.
  3. Once an approval is successful, the processor and the acquiring bank receive the funds from the issuer bank.
  4. From there the acquiring bank will deposit funds info the merchant’s normal bank account

Why are there so many steps?

Due to federal rules and regulations there are many steps put in place to protect the consumer, bank, and business.  Each step has its own PCI compliance, regulations, risk management and procedures that ensure the highest level of security.



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How to accept credit card payments with WooCommerce

What is WooCommerce?
WooCommerce is a powerful open-source ecommerce plugin for WordPress.  WooCommerce states that it has over 1 million downloads and 20% off all ecommerce sites worldwide are using the online shopping cart platform.  The reason for its popularity is its simplicity and ease of installation.  It is not uncommon for premade templates for WordPress to come with a preinstalled version of WooCommerce plugin.  Many have found WooCommerce to be one of the most user friendly shopping carts on the market.

Why do I need a gateway for WooCommerce?
Woocommerce is a shopping cart plugin and not a payment gateway. Although it comes with the option to accept PayPal, that is typically not the best solution for most businesses.  A gateway is needed to process credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, Discover and AMEX.  A gateway sends the acceptance or decline response back to WooCommerce letting your customer successfully process an order.  From the gateway you can also setup a variety of security features that protect both you and your customers from fraud.  A gateway can be easily connected to WooCommerce using a gateway specific plugin.

Reasons to not use PayPal?
PayPal is a great payment method but it has a lot of downsides, especially to businesses considered high risk. Often PayPal will cancel your account for any number of reasons and hold unreleased funds up to 21 days and in some cases even longer.  PayPal’s transactions fees often are the highest in the industry.
Here are a few categories prohibited from using PayPal as a Merchant Service Provider:
Electronic Cigarettes and Eliquid
Firearms, including ammo and accessories
Tobacco related products

Which gateway is best for my WooCommerce store?
The best way is to get in contact with us and tell us a little more about your business. From there we can match your business with the right Merchant Service Account.  From there we will help direct you to the best solution to fit your business needs.  Merchant Competitor will help you with every step of the process to make sure you can smoothly and securely accept credit card transactions on your WooCommerce shopping cart.




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A point of sale system is a terminal that has more features and functionality for a business.  This computerized solution connects through the gateway and can collect data on purchases and generate reports.  Often times, POST systems are specific such as restaurants or retail.

We offer a variety of Point of Sale Systems that caters to your business needs.  Need an on the counter or in the cloud we offer the flexible options tailored specifically to your business.  We support customers that have a single POS system and others that have hundreds.  It is important that you have an easy to use, yet versatile, POS system.  We can provide you with the ability to ring your customers up without an internet connection or the ability to use our cloud based systems.  We offer the ability to manage your real time business data from your terminal or anywhere with an internet enabled device.  Let us setup a powerful solution designed specifically for the success of your business.

One of the most beneficial reasons for using a cloud based POS system is to streamline your business procedures.  With real time business data tracking you can easily automate employee, customer and inventory management.  Along with the operations reporting you can actively view sales reporting and a variety of analytics that can help free up your time as a business owner.  Our cloud based POS solutions.

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Discover what you're really paying

Most businesses are sold on a rate by a middleman agent not knowing what their true effective rate is.

Monthly Charges Current Provider Current Cost
Visa/MC/Disc Qual Vol: $36,451.67
Visa/MC/Disc Rate 3.20% $1,166.45
Qualified Vol: $169,049.34
Qualified Rate: 3.20% $5409.58
AMEX Volume $98,595.14
AMEX Rate 3.50% $3,450.83
VISA/MC/Disc NQ Vol: $477,584.55
VISA/MC/Disc NQ Rate 4.25% $20,297.34
Non Qual Vol $477,584.55
Non Qual Rate 4.25% $23,719.70
Rewards Volume $0.00
Rewards Rate 0.00% $0.00
Pin Debit Volume $0.00
Pin Debit Rate Network Fees
Pin Debit Trans Fee 0 $0.00
Pin Transactions> 0
Credit Trans Fee 0.55 $1,568.51
Batch Fee: 0.00 $0.00
Cross Border Fee 0 $85.00
Refunds 0 -$207.10
Monthly Minimum 0 $0.00
Total Charges: $55,490.32
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A merchant service provider connects businesses with the proper tools and equipment to successfully process credit card transactions.  Merchant Competitor provides a merchant bank account, processes credit card transactions, and forwards the funds from those transactions into the merchant’s bank account.  Some of the helpful tools Merchant Competitor provides are:

Point of Sale

Point of sale (POS) equipment such as portable, mobile, and virtual terminals to process credit cards.  If you’re a retail business then you know accepting credit cards is a must.  A POS system can sometimes be intimidating, but with the latest technologies that is a thing of the past.  We offer easy to use solutions that can be tailored to suit your individual business needs.  Our POS systems can be used directly on the counter or through the cloud.  Whatever you need, Merchant Competitor can make it happen!

Ecommerce solutions

We provide access to a variety of online gateways to help your business securely process credit cards through your online shopping cart. A payment gateway is a service provider that authorizes credit card or direct payment processing.

Risk Management

Risk management services to help minimize the risk of fraud for both the client, and client’s customers.  The credit card processing industry is geared toward the protection of the cardholder.  It is important to protect your business by understanding and protecting your transactions.

Loss Prevention – Protects your business and assets from potential fraud.

Chargeback Management and Education –

Address Verification Service – verify the cardholder’s address with the issuing bank.

Card Verification Value – utilize the 3 digit security as an additional layer of security.

 Customer Service

24 hour customer service is available to help you through every step of the process.  Don’t be afraid to contact us with any questions or concerns.  We want to be there to help you through every step of the process.

This is just a small introduction to the many services Merchant Competitor provides.




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