The Absolute Best Instant Approval Merchant Account Providers

As a business owner (aka merchant), the thought of getting instantly approved for a merchant account might sound like a dream come true.

The reality is that there really are no merchant accounts that get approved instantly. There is usually some type of waiting period.

However, you can expect fast approval for your account as long as you have chosen the merchant services provider. That’s what we’re going to cover today.

In addition to sharing our top picks for the best instant approval payment processing services, we’re also going to give you some helpful information on choosing the right merchant account provider to meet your needs.

Our Top Picks for Instant Approval Merchant Services

Easy Pay Direct
High-risk merchants that need to get set up quickly to process payments.
Good for high-risk industries
Very few negative reviews
Single Point of Contact for Multiple Merchant Accounts

summary

5/5

Best for

E-commerce companies, SaaS companies, "high-risk businesses", & established small/medium businesses ($500,000+ in annual sales)

Specializes in

Easy Pay Direct has unique gateway software and banking solutions to optimize payments for eCommerce, SaaS, information products, supplements, and CBD amongst other verticals.

Pricing Summary

Setup Fee:  $99

Monthly Fee: $24.95

Swipe Rate: 1.59% + $0.17

Keyed-in Rate:  2.39% + $0.29

Early Termination Fee: $0 (domestic accounts)

Contract Terms:

1 Year 3 Years
Helcim
Merchants with high monthly processing volumes.
No setup fee.
No early termination fee.
Works with small businesses.
Month to month contract.
Works with merchants in the United States and Canada.

summary

4.8/5

Best for

Small businesses

Specializes in

Online, retail, service industries

Pricing Summary

Setup Fee: $0

Monthly Fee: $20

Swipe Rate: Variable

Keyed-in Rate: Variable

Early Termination Fee: $0

Contract Terms:

Month-to-month
Dharma Merchant Services
Merchants in need of quick funding.
No early termination fee.
Month to month contract.
No annual fee.
Interchange plus pricing offered.
Discounted pricing for qualified non profit companies.

summary

4.5/5

Best for

Dharma's website caters its services to small-sized businesses with up to twenty employees, in verticals such as restaurants, non-profits, and e-commerce platforms.

Specializes in

Dharma Merchant Services provides mobile phone processing and tablet-based POS options for merchants courtesy of Clover. Moreover, Dharma offers the Clover Mini station, which includes Clover's PRO software set. The company also resells the Clover POS solution, including a full cash drawer, built-in fingerprint scanner, and printer.

Pricing Summary

Setup Fee: N/A

Monthly Fee: $20

Swipe Rate: N/A

Keyed-in Rate: N/A

Early Termination Fee: None

Contract Terms:

Month-to-month

What is Instant Approval Payment Processing?

Instant approval means that you’re basically automatically approved for a merchant account as soon as you apply for one. Though there are some companies out there that are faster than others at approving accounts, most are not instant.

If instant is what you’re looking for, you might be better served by considering a payment aggregator, though there are a host of reasons why you shouldn’t. We’ll get to those in a moment.

Every merchant services provider has its own underwriting process. But there are some that can offer approval on the same day, potentially allowing you to begin accepting payments very quickly.

Why Would Merchants Need Instant Approval Merchant Services?

There could be a few different reasons why a merchant might be interested in getting quick approval for their credit card processing services.

For instance, they may:

  • Be just getting started in business, so they want to be able to accept payments as soon as possible.
  • Not be happy with their current payment processor or merchant account provider.
  • Have a low-risk business that should be easy to approve.

Does Instant Approval Mean Instant Funding?

Sometimes business owners think that if they get approved for a merchant account quickly, that means they’ll get their funding quickly once they start processing payments.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

Let’s talk about some of the things you may have seen.

Next Day Funding

If you have a merchant account that offers next-day funding, that means that the sales you make today will be paid out to you on the following business day.

Of course, there is a batching process that has to take place too. But for example, let’s say your processor has a 5 pm cutoff for batches for next day funding. As long as you batch by 5 pm, you’ll receive those funds the following day.

Some providers may also make deposits on Saturday and Sunday, but you’ll probably find most operate on regular banking hours (Monday through Friday).

Same Day Funding

Same day funding sounds great, but there is some fine print you’ll want to pay attention to.

Typically, credit card processors that offer same day funding will require you to batch out early in the day; for example, around 11 am. Once you do, they will send your funds to your business bank account, where you can access them.

A lot of businesses that operate overnight will choose providers that offer same day funding. But keep in mind that these accounts may have limits on the amount of money you’re able to access. The balance may only be available through next day funding.

Instant Deposits

Getting instant deposits sounds too good to be true, and there has to be a catch, right?

There is.

Instant deposits into your business bank account may come with a higher transaction fee attached to them. You also might not be able to get a service like this unless you go through a payment aggregator and not a merchant account provider.

What’s the Difference Between an Instantly Approved Merchant Account and a Payment Aggregator?

Getting instant approval for your merchant account with a company like the ones we list above is different from working with a payment aggregator.

Payment aggregators are companies like Stripe, PayPal, and Square. These companies are often the first option for people who are new to processing payments for their businesses.

They do offer a lot of benefits, such as:

  • Instant approvals
  • Quick access to cash
  • Ease of use
  • Straightforward terms and fees

The problem is that they can also be quite volatile. At any moment, a payment aggregator can choose to freeze your funds or even close your account completely, and you may have little to no notice.

While there is no such thing as an instantly approved merchant account, it’s worth waiting a day or two to get your approval to lessen the strain on your business.

What to Consider Before Choosing an Instant Approval Credit Card Processor

You think you have the basics down, and now it’s time to take a look at your options for payment processors.

As you do some research, you’ll find companies that go above and beyond to be transparent and those that offer promises that might not always be genuine. Here’s what you should consider before making a decision.

Contract Terms

You will most likely have to sign a contract before you start working with any merchant service provider or payment processor. Many offer month-to-month contracts, but there is still some type of agreement in place.

It’s easy to get excited about being able to open up shop and start accepting payments, but take some time to carefully read any contract before you sign it. Here’s what you’re looking for:

  • Any hidden fees that might not have been disclosed to you during your conversations with the sales team.
  • Information about how long your contract terms are. You may want to pass on anything that requires you to remain a customer for five years.
  • Information about early termination penalties. It’s not uncommon for some companies to charge between $500 and $1,000 or even more when a merchant cancels their services prematurely.
  • Information about any equipment leases. If you are in need of a POS system, credit card terminal, or other hardware, it’s much more cost-effective to purchase them yourself, rather than lease them.

Transaction Fees

One of the most important pieces of information you will learn is how much a company is going to charge you for transaction fees.

There are different ways that payment processing companies calculate these fees, and they are based on the pricing structure that is in place with that particular processor. Here is what you can expect to see:

  • Flat rate pricing - This type of pricing involves one flat rate that you will pay for every transaction, regardless of its size.
  • Tiered pricing - With this model, every transaction is classified as either qualified, mid-qualified, or non-qualified. Non-qualified transactions carry higher fees.
  • Interchange-plus pricing - This type of pricing is the most transparent, though it can be difficult to understand. The cost of interchange is set by credit card companies twice per year, and the “plus” part of the equation is the amount of money that the processor gets paid for each transaction.

There are also merchant account providers that offer cash discount programs or surcharge programs, which can offset the cost of your processing fees substantially.

If you decide on either of these programs, please be sure to read the fine print to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Company Reputation

Any merchant services provider you work with should have an excellent reputation among their customers. But please do your research before making a decision.

You can find out a lot of information on any business by checking their profiles on the Better Business Bureau website, Facebook, and Yelp.

If you see any red flags, such as a large number of customer complaints, then it’s best to find a provider that has happy customers.

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Approved for a Merchant Account Fast

It can be hard to wait for your merchant account to be approved so you can begin processing payments for your business. But there are a few things you can do to get things moving along as quickly as possible.

Submit All Requested Paperwork

A lot of merchant account approvals get delayed because the processor doesn’t have all the necessary paperwork for underwriting.

You can get ahead of this problem by providing all of the needed documentation as soon as you submit your application.

Some of the items you might need to send in to underwriting are:

  • A photo ID or passport
  • Your business plan
  • 3 months of personal banking statements
  • 3 months of business banking statements (if you have them)
  • A personal letter of reference from your bank
  • Articles of incorporation or association
  • Your business website URL
  • A personal utility bill to verify your address
  • Any other applicable information that may help expedite approval

Be Honest About Your Business and Processing History

Honesty is always the best policy, and that adage is just as true in business as it is in your personal life.

Never hide anything from a merchant account provider when you’re seeking their services. If you do, and the truth is found out, it could cause serious harm to your business and to your ability to accept credit card payments.

For example, if you own a CBD store, the provider should know what products you sell. Payment processing for CBD is difficult to find, and some merchants try to get around paying for high-risk credit card processing by lying about their products.

That is a recipe for disaster, and it could land you on the MATCH list, which makes it impossible to find a processor that will work with you.

Your merchant account provider wants to offer you the best possible service they can, but if you’re dishonest about your business, their hands are tied.

Make Sure Your Website is Up to Date and Informative

Your merchant account provider will be checking your website before making a decision on your application. You want them to be happy with what they find there.

Make sure your website includes customer policies, that its products are up to date, and that offers visitors as much information as possible. This shows that your business is legitimate and that working with you is a reasonable risk.

A Few Additional Tips

Look for a Processor That Will Help You Prevent Chargebacks

Chargebacks are a real problem in the credit card processing industry, and they could cause a lot of problems for your business if you have too many of them.

A chargeback occurs whenever a customer disputes a credit card charge with their issuing bank (the credit card company). The best payment processors offer chargeback protection, and there are even ways to prevent them before they happen.

For example, let’s say a customer purchased a lamp from your online store but didn’t receive it in the mail. They can contact their credit card company and request a chargeback. But if you know that a chargeback is in progress because you were notified by your MSP, you can contact that customer and offer them a refund instead.

That will effectively keep the chargeback from going through and you won’t have to pay excessive fees to your processor.

Disclose Any High-Value Transactions

Your provider’s underwriting department should be made aware of any potential high-value transactions that might occur before they happen.

This is especially true if you own a business that typically has low-value sales.

For example, if you’re in the business of selling perfume for around $100 a bottle, but a new brand is being released that costs $1,000 a bottle, you should let the processor know that higher-value transactions might be coming through.

Be Prepared for Additional Fees if Your Business is High-Risk

If your business is considered high-risk, additional fees are a given. You might have to pay higher transaction fees each time you make a sale, but you may also need to have a rolling reserve in place.

When you have a rolling reserve, it means that a portion of your sales is set aside each month to cover the cost of any chargebacks you receive.

Many processors require this for high-risk merchants, and the money in reserves gets released after a certain period of time; usually six months.

You may not always need a rolling reserve, and eventually, that condition might disappear. But it’s something to keep in mind just in case it’s required.

Our Final Thoughts on the Best Instantly Approved Merchant Accounts

Before you go, don’t forget to review our top picks for the best instant approval merchant accounts.

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