Accepted card payments

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What is a merchant account?

A merchant account is a type of bank account which allows you, as a business, to accept payments via debit cards and credit cards.

Whether you’re ready to start accepting card payments online, in person or over the phone, you’ll need a merchant account.

Without one, you won't be able to process cards.

It's different to a normal bank account, sitting between your business bank account and your customers’ account. It safely holds the funds while they’re being processed.

Once it's been checked that there's enough money in the customer’s account, the funds are released from the merchant account, to be transferred into your bank account.

In essence, a merchant account is a three-way agreement between a) the retailer, b) the merchant bank, and c) the payment processor, for the settlement of credit, debit or e-wallet transactions. 

Did you know? We can help you get set up through one of our acquirers, such as Barclaycard. And it’s free! It's included as part of our service of getting you set up to take card payments.

Legends The Sandwich Shop Card Transaction

How does a merchant account work?

If you’re still not 100% sure what it is or what it’s for, let’s create a little scenario and take a look at a merchant account in action.

Before we do though, let’s clear up some lingo. We’ve got the merchant bank account and this is held with the ‘acquiring bank’ since they’re the ones that acquire the money. We’ve also got the ‘issuing bank’, which is the bank used by the customer which issues the funds.

Back to our role-play and enter Freddie, who wants to pay for a sandwich using his card.

Mobile Card Payment
  1. Freddie orders a BLT and pays by tapping his contactless card on the card machine.
  2. Freddie’s card details are sent from the machine to the merchant account, held with an acquiring bank, along with the details of the transaction.
  3. The acquiring bank sends this information to the relevant card issuer - Visa, American Express, MasterCard etc. - Freddie uses Mastercard. 
  4. Mastercard forwards the details of the transaction to the issuing bank to check Freddie has the funds to pay for his BLT.
  5. It’s Freddie’s payday (hence the BLT), so he’s got the funds. The issuing bank pings back a response, via Mastercard, which tells the card machine the transaction has been approved.
  6. Freddie devours his BLT.
Legends The Sandwich Shop Card Reader
Accepted card payments

So, a merchant account is a secure place for money to sit while the bank runs checks to ensure there’s enough money in the consumer’s account to make the payment.

Once the payment is complete, it may take a while for the money to land in your bank account - depending on which provider you use - some may be the same day, next day, or longer (usually no more than 3 working days).

Group Of Three Products

What makes us different?

At takepayments, we know merchant services. We’ve been helping people with card payments for over 25 years and are dedicated to helping small, independent businesses grow.

That’s why we’ll create you a personalised pricing package that’s right for you. This includes a merchant account, which we will include for free.

Our payment consultants are local to your area, and will come and visit you to get to know your business. They’ll make sure that they understand how your business works and how you want to take card payments. They will then tailor-make a plan around what you need.

We offer a short 12 month contract – currently one of the shortest out in the payments market, and we don’t charge any set up fees or exit fees when you leave at the end of your contract.

As we mentioned earlier, our support team is based in the UK and available 7 days a week if you have any questions. 

Get a free quote

Legends The Sandwich Shop Counter

Ready to get started?

Once you’re ready to start comparing the market for your perfect merchant account, arm yourself with all the information providers will want in order to get an accurate quote.

This includes the nature of your business, your monthly or forecasted turnover for card payments, and your average (or predicted) transaction size.

Whether it’s help accepting card payments, getting PCI compliant or setting up your merchant account, our team of experts is here to help. 

We'll hold your hand till you're up and running confidently, in fact, you'll have access to a dedicated Account Manager for your first three months with us. Then, we have a UK Customer Support team on hand 7 days a week for any questions or queries you may have.

Get a free quote


There are lots of different ways to take card payments

Move3500 Mobile Machine

Face to face

Accept card payments face to face, around your premises or on the go with a card machine.

Countertop - take payments at the till Portable - serve your customers at their table Mobile - process payments on the go
Online payments on tablet


We've a few different options when it comes to online payments. We can even build you a website!

Payment gateway - accept payments through your website Pay by link - take payments through email Virtual terminal - take phone payments
Phone Payments 2X

Over the phone

You can use a virtual terminal to take card payments over the phone in just a few simple steps.

No website needed Safe and secure Take payments 24/7 , 365 days a year, from anywhere
Accepted card payments

Why choose takepayments?

12 Month

Short 12 month contract

We don't tie you into long contracts - ours are one of the shortest out there.

No Charge

No set up or exit fees

There's no set up fee, or a fee to leave at the end of your contract.


Dedicated consultants

They'll get a real understanding of what you need.


Personalised pricing

Get a made to measure pricing package for your business.

Frequently asked questions.

Do I only need one merchant account for my business?

This will depend on a few different things. If you have a number of different premises, you’ll need one merchant account for each location. So, for example, if you’ve a shop in South London, and one in East London, you’ll need two.

You can have a number of card machines at each of these shops though. So if you only have one shop in West London, which has four card machines, you’ll only need one merchant account.

If you’re taking payments online, you’ll need a merchant account just for these payments, even if you already have one for a physical shop. And if you want to take payments over the phone, or by email, you’ll need another one to process these.

Don’t worry if this has you a bit confused! Our payment consultants will be able to explain exactly what you need and help you get set up.

It’s free to set up a merchant account. As you need one to accept card payments, it’ll be set up for you as part of your card processing solution.

You can’t accept credit cards without one. Or debit cards! It’s as simple as that!

You might have also heard this be called a Merchant Identification Number, or MID. It’s a code that’s assigned to you once your merchant account is approved and live.

 3 to 5 days is pretty standard, but we offer next day settlement too.* Speak to us to find out more.

We're merchant card services specialists. A merchant account is usually set up by your payment processing provider. At takepayments, we’ll get you set up through one of our acquirers, including Barclaycard. 

Terms and conditions apply. 

*This service is available to takepayments Limited customers who are accepted for Barclaycard acquiring services and is subject to Barclaycard’s approval. Next day settlement refers to the next banking day. Your card machine’s banking window function must be performed before 8:30pm in order to receive settlement the next banking day. Transactions processed via Ecommerce pay pages, pay by link and virtual terminals may be subject to different settlement timescales.

Takepayments Barclaycard