Low cost merchant account setup takes two basic steps:
Step #1 – Get a merchant account setup
A merchant account is required for your business to accept credit cards from your customers. Once you have a merchant account established, you can begin to accept credit card sales from your customers via the internet (via an internet merchant account) or process them manually by swiping their credit card using a credit card terminal. Eitehr way, the funds will be deposited automatically into your business checking account.
Step #2 – Getting an internet gateway account
If you are planning to conduct business on the internet, then the second step is to obtain an internet "gateway" account. The gateway allows you to post your credit card transactions from your internet store to your merchant account via the internet. The easiest way to understand what a gateway is would be think of it as the "pipeline" that connects your merchant account with your internet store.