Comparing International & Domestic Merchant Accounts

If you’re a merchant looking to work with customers outside the United States, you’ll need two accounts: a domestic merchant account and an international merchant account.

In general, a merchant account is a specific bank account that allows businesses to accept credit card payments in person and in virtual terminals. When a merchant begins processing payments domestically and overseas, there are some differences in the two types of accounts.

An international merchant account provides businesses with eCommerce solutions to accepting payments from other countries. The international account converts foreign currencies into US dollars and deposits the sale into a local bank account.

International and domestic accounts require different documentation and setup processes.

Documents Required to Apply

To apply for a domestic merchant account, your merchant account provider will request a few documents. These documents will vary depending on your level of risk.

The three documents required by all merchants are:

  • Voided Check – A voided check proves you have an US bank account. It is also needed for sales to be deposited into your account.
  • Photo ID – You must have valid proof of your identity to open a merchant account.
  • SS-4 Form – This form provides your tax ID.

Additional documents that you may have to provide are:

  • Social Security Number – This further authenticates your identification.
  • Bank Statement – This is proof that your business is financially stable.

To apply for an international merchant account, more paperwork is required because of the high risk associated with accepting international payments. The documents needed for an international account include:

  • A Passport or National Identity Card – You must have a valid form of identification.
  • Proof of Address – This is usually displayed with a utility bill showing name and residential address.
  • Voided Check – With routing number and account number for direct deposit.
  • Social Security Number – US banks require a social security number to approve a merchant account.
  • Business Description – An explanation of products and services being sold.
  • Processing Statements – Statements of your business’s processing from the last 6 months.

Setting Up Your Domestic Merchant Account

Once you have the required documents ready, you’ll need to fill out your merchant account provider’s online application.

For a domestic account, merchants typically get a response in 2 business days.

Once you receive a response, your account support team will walk you through the remaining steps to setting up your new merchant account.

Setting Up Your International Merchant Account

An international merchant account is a bit harder to obtain because you will be processing payments from other countries and your business is put at a higher risk of facing fraud and chargebacks.

It may take several weeks to get a response before you can begin setting up your international merchant account.

Once set up, you can start receiving payments from your customers around the world!