Merchant services business: how to get started

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Merchant services business: how to get started

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Are you interested in helping businesses grow by enhancing their payment capabilities? Then, starting a merchant services business may be the perfect path for you. However, the journey towards industry leadership is strewn with obstacles, and making mistakes as a newcomer can be costly.

This complete guide provides in-depth information about all aspects of setting up credit card processing company. Let’s cut to the chase.

Merchant services definition

To move from easy to complex bit by bit, we’ll start with some basic terminology that every up-and-comer in merchant services should know.

Merchant services (often called credit card processing) refer to a range of financial services that enable businesses to accept, process, and manage transactions from their customers. Merchant services providers equip retailers, e-commerce platforms, and other businesses with all the essentials required to accept payments effortlessly, including top-notch software, hardware, and professional support.

Merchant services are a jumping-off point for every business, enabling them to accept different payment methods, handle multiple currencies, and manage transactions. Partnering with a merchant service provider allows companies to expand their payment options and enter new markets with minimal effort. Such clear advantages generate a great demand for merchant services among businesses of different industries and sizes.

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Basic steps to a merchant services business

Ready to enter this lucrative niche? Learn how to start a merchant processing company in just five steps.

1. Understand the industry and market

Your future merchant services company's success depends on the thoroughness of the research you conduct before starting it. Familiarise yourself with the latest payment trends, security protocols, and emerging technologies.

Special attention should be given to the level of competition in the industry. Usually, the bigger providers get more prominent merchants. However, it’s easier for smaller merchant service providers to get local clients on board.

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2. Obtain the necessary licenses

Depending on your location, you may need specific licenses to operate as a merchant services provider. Research the legal requirements in your region and obtain any necessary permits from the relevant authorities. Compliance with regulations ensures that you are offering services lawfully and protects both your business and your customers.

PCI DSS compliance is extremely important for every organisation that interacts with sensitive payment data.

3. Decide on the services you’ll provide

Based on the preferences of your target audience, determine the services that cater to their business needs. This may include traditional credit card machine business, payment gateways, online shopping cart integration, and merchant account assistance.

To find the best products and services to sell, examine your competitors' offerings and gauge customer satisfaction through online reviews and networking. There is nothing better than live communication with potential clients. It’s also an excellent opportunity to create a database of contacts for future sales.

4. Partner with financial institutions

Partnering with banks and PSPs is crucial for your merchant services business success. Look for business partners in your area and contact them with a proposal for cooperation. For starters, it may be just one acquiring bank or payment processor. The more time you are in the industry and the more clients you acquire, the faster your network of partners will expand.

5. Hire a sales team

Financial expertise should be your hallmark in a market where hundreds of payment processing companies offer the same merchant services. Only a few startuppers can afford to hire a team of professionals right from the start, but even a few knowledgeable people can bring your company to the top. Find people who understand the industry and are genuinely interested in the development and success of your merchant services company. The sales team will actively reach out to businesses, showcase the benefits of your services, and close deals.

How to start your own credit card processing company

There are two ways to start working as a merchant services company: from scratch or with a white label solution.

Starting a merchant services business from scratch requires a lot of time and money for tasks like developing software, getting licenses, forming partnerships, and attracting clients. It also involves a substantial upfront investment in a development team, card network fees, and hardware.

If you're on a tight budget and want to enter the market quickly, a white label solution is a simpler choice.

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Let’s find out which benefits and pitfalls lie behind the white label solution for aspiring merchant services businesses.

Opting for white label solution: pros and cons


  • Fast start. It will take at least a year and a half to develop your own software, obtain the necessary licenses and pass security and compliance audits. Added to this is the time it takes to hire a team, partner with financial institutions, and find the first clients. With a white label solution, you can get started in a month or even less without wasting time on the most time-consuming processes.
  • Less costs. Independent software development requires significant financial investments. In many cases, the cost of a product’s development exceeds the price of a ready-made solution by 20 times or even more. By choosing a white label product, you don’t need to invest in the initial stages of development, release, and support, which is very cost-effective.
  • No technical hassle. As we’ve mentioned, opting for a white label platform deprives you of development worries and everything related to the product’s technical side. Your provider’s technical support team will immediately solve all the possible issues, and you can fully devote your time to business processes.


  • Opting for a white label makes you technically dependent on the solution provider, which means you cannot fully influence the product’s structure, features, and performance. However, given the huge market of white label providers, it won’t be difficult for you to find the best fit.

The bottom line

Starting a merchant services business is a long row to hoe, but with the right approach, you can encounter far fewer challenges. Instead of starting all processes from scratch, you can take your place in the market much easier and faster with a reliable white label provider.

Understanding the needs of aspiring merchant service providers, we’ve built a scalable payment platform with cutting-edge tools, allowing you to run a business under your brand without the burden of development and huge costs. Provide advanced merchant services for online businesses within a few weeks, having 400+ connections established for you.

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