One of the most common questions we get when a merchant calls to ask about merchant services is if they must have their business registered to open the account. The short answer to this is “no.” You can simply file as a sole proprietor if you’d like to avoid the set-up of the business.


So how does that look in the application process?

When applying for a merchant account, you must provide your Legal Business Name, DBA (Doing Business As), and Federal Tax ID Number. When applying as a sole proprietor, you would provide your name as the Legal Business name. This is indication to underwriting that you would like to file as a SP. Your DBA would be the “business name.” For example, if you’re the sole proprietor of a website that sells “Grandma’s Delicious Cookies” and the site goes by this name, you would put “Grandma’s Delicious Cookies” as the DBA. Since you don’t have a registered business, you can supply your provider with a W9 with Social Security Number to be used for tax purposes.

It’s that simple! This method is great for those early business ideas and websites that are owned by a single individual. Now that you know your early staged business can open a merchant account, go out there and start taking credit cards!