A Smart Guide to Securing a Bitcoin Merchant Account
Given that cryptocurrency is still relatively novel for many businesses, acquiring a Bitcoin merchant account can be challenging. When Bitcoin (BTC) was founded in 2009, it seemed like a fad. Now Bitcoin has become an acceptable mode of payment in various sectors, such as online retail, dating sites, and online casinos. As an increasing number of consumers embrace crypto coins, it has become necessary for merchants to offer payment processing for Bitcoin and other currencies.
Bitcoin heralds the rise of cryptocurrency, hence its growing popularity in e-commerce. Consequently, some processors have started offering Bitcoin merchant accounts for a variety of businesses. Getting a merchant account allows your businesses to capitalize on the crypto surge by letting buyers pay using Bitcoin. This guide should help business owners find out more about merchant account solutions for Bitcoin transactions.
What Is Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency in General?
Most people have heard about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, but not all of them know what the terms mean. Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency. It’s a digital currency that doesn’t exist physically. This specific digital coin is mined by working out a mathematical algorithm. Bitcoin was created as an alternative to fiat currency, with the promise of low translation fees, fast speeds, and a level of anonymity. Unlike regular currency, cryptocurrency doesn’t involve any interference from banks or governments. Therefore, it is not subject to the same regulatory standards.
Bitcoin uses blockchain technology, a decentralized ledger that allows users to record transactions in blocks. Since everyone has access to the ledger, it’s impossible to manipulate Bitcoin records. Currency holders need public and private keys to send and receive funds in Bitcoin. A Bitcoin wallet is used to store coins. Launched in 2009, Bitcoin was the first of its kind and continues to set the pace for other digital currencies (altcoins).
What is a Bitcoin merchant account
A Bitcoin merchant requires a merchant account to process payments. Note that the merchant accounts work the same as credit card processing services. Bitcoin merchant accounts enable businesses such as cryptocurrency exchanges and online stores to receive payments in Bitcoin, just like with credit cards. The merchant accounts act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, such that neither has to worry about what goes on beyond the Bitcoin payments. Owning a Bitcoin merchant account means that you can facilitate transactions from anywhere.
Processors provide Bitcoin payment solutions that integrate with various platforms. So, whether you accept direct payments, use a POS system, or shopping cart like Shopify, you can find a Bitcoin merchant account that blends in seamlessly. A Bitcoin merchant account can be customized to satisfy the needs of a specific enterprise. For this reason, processing fees vary widely. Bitcoin merchants are considered to have a high risk. Therefore, the payment solutions for Bitcoin businesses cost more compared to other enterprises. Also, it means that you have to find a processor that works with high-risk merchants.
Bitcoin Merchant Services Special Requirements
A Bitcoin merchant is high-risk because the sector has unique requirements. It’s why you should ensure that the merchant services you use have experience with cryptocurrency payments. Unlike credit card transactions, Bitcoin transactions don’t have the risk of chargebacks. Once a buyer sends money, it’s impossible to reverse the transfer. Nonetheless, acquiring banks still view Bitcoin transactions as high risk. Money laundering is one of the biggest issues facing cryptocurrency payments.
Due to the decentralized nature of Bitcoin, criminal elements can use it to launder money. A huge percentage of money laundering activity goes undetected. Therefore, acquiring banks need to institute individual verification and checks to reduce this risk. When applying for a Bitcoin merchant account, a company has to demonstrate the measures it has in place to fight money laundering.
Cryptocurrency volatility is another reason for the high risk in BTC merchant accounts. Digital currencies are highly volatile, with prices shifting at the slightest provocation. A good example is when Bitcoin peaked to its highest recorded value in April 2021 at over $60,000, then by the end of May, it was half that. Merchant services and acquiring banks have to shield consumers against this volatility.
Besides the increasing popularity of Bitcoin and other coins, the industry remains new territory for many payment processing companies and banks. The lack of a proper understanding of how Bitcoin works make it hard to develop suitable products. Also, currency holders having more control than banks and regulatory authorities complicates the situation further.
Is it easy to get a Bitcoin Merchant Account
Since each Bitcoin merchant accepts coins differently, merchant account application procedures can vary. Approvals also differ depending on the industry type, the processor, and a merchant’s processing history. It takes anywhere between five business days and two weeks to have a Bitcoin merchant account ready. Here are some application requirements:
- Identity check
- Recent bank statements
- Six months of processing history, including returns, refunds, and chargebacks
- Valid ID of company owners and directors
Which Payment Processor Is Best For Your Business?
With an increasing number of consumers substituting credit cards for Bitcoin in online transactions, the need for merchant services in the industry is clear. Processors are seeing a surge in the demand for Bitcoin merchant accounts. So, some companies are providing relevant merchant account services. How do you know that a particular payment processing service is suitable for your Bitcoin merchant account, though? The anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) standards are some of the elements to consider. Does a processor have any rules that a Bitcoin merchant must fulfill? You should be confident that the company does everything to prevent fraud.
A huge advantage of being a Bitcoin merchant is reducing costs because cryptocurrency has no to low transaction fees. You want to ensure that you keep enjoying the same benefit after getting a merchant account. Therefore, look for Bitcoin processing solutions that don’t overcharge you despite the high risk. Evaluate fees upfront and make certain that a processor doesn’t tie in extra charges. Some of the costs of a Bitcoin merchant account include a rolling reserve, monthly charges, chargeback fee, merchant discount rate, and a refund fee.
Top Bitcoin Merchant Processors
Research is your best tool when looking to secure a Bitcoin merchant account. Although the sector might not offer as many payment solutions as other high-risk merchant accounts, you can still find reputable and reliable processors. For that reason, take the time to find out about the best providers for Bitcoin vendors. Focus your attention on companies with a history of working with Bitcoin businesses. A Bitcoin merchant has special needs that your chosen processor should be able to handle. Remember to define your business requirements beforehand so that you can easily identify the providers that meet them. Below are some of the best Bitcoin merchant services:
Now, customers can pay with more than a debit card or credit card on PayPal. The payment service started providing cryptocurrency checkout in 2021. Given the reputation of the company, a Bitcoin merchant will feel safe using the platform for transactions. PayPal acts as a wallet and an exchange, allowing customers to hold, buy and sell digital currencies. When users pay with Bitcoin, PayPal converts the coins into fiat currency free of charge, then transfers them to the vendor. A Bitcoin merchant can use PayPal to process payments across numerous countries. Additionally, the processor supports other cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
A Bitcoin merchant looking for a processor that focuses on US enterprises will like Coinbase Comm. The company enables your business to tap into the global market because you get to provide Bitcoin payment solutions everywhere. CC is a big player in the payment processing sector. It integrates with Shopify, OpenCart, and Magento, among other e-commerce platforms. A merchant account from this processor guarantees reliable and safe Bitcoin transactions. Merchants enjoy fast setups, which ensures your business can start accepting Bitcoin and altcoins in no time. You get to maintain ownership while the processor hosts your platform. So far, the company has over 8,000 merchants, which says something about its reputation.
The American processor has been providing crypto payment gateway solutions before digital currencies gained popularity. In 2013, the payment gateway had over 100,000 users. Since then, BitPay keeps proving that it is still a company worth considering when looking for a Bitcoin merchant account. It’s a suitable choice for MasterCard merchants because it facilitates global payments through the BitPay Card. Users can shop online and in person. A Bitcoin merchant gets invoices embedded into the website, a hosted checkout, and payments buttons. The processor also delivers quick bank settlements. BitPayconverts crypto coins to regular currency for a Bitcoin merchant that prefers it. So, merchant accounts are shielded from price volatility.