When it comes to choosing a merchant account provider, it really is a game of the sooner the better. This is why many business owners are tempted to jump at claims of “instant approval”. These claims are often made by high-risk merchant providers dedicated to providing fast services that help small business owners.

But should you be swayed by these claims? Will they really provide the quick solution you’ve been needing to operate smoothly? To determine if this option is right for you, let’s take a closer look at what this term really means and how it can impact your business going forward.

What is Instant Approval?

If you’re reading this, it’s likely due to the fact that getting a high-risk merchant account can be frustrating. And the idea that you can get one with instant approval is incredibly tempting, allowing you to get back to doing what you do best. However, in actuality, there is no such thing as instant approval for any type of merchant account. There are simply providers that are able to provide merchant services faster than others.

In most cases, low-risk businesses can gain approval in a day or two. Meanwhile, high-risk merchants can expect to wait longer. Instant approval? No, but it is much faster than a traditional provider can arrange. A high-risk merchant can expect to wait around three days or more. If you’re offered anything sooner, you should begin asking some serious questions.

The Merchant Account Approval Process

Why should “instant approval” as a high-risk merchant make you nervous? Approving an account like this requires more investigation into the history of the business and the business owners. You’ll need to provide more documentation as well, which leads to a longer wait time than a low-risk business would experience. 

While it will take a little longer to complete, there are ways you can help speed up the approval process as a high-risk merchant:

  • Apply for a merchant account with a high-risk provider that specializes in working with high-risk merchants.
  • Make sure you have documentation gathered ahead of time, like processing statements from previous months, copies of personal banking statements, a reference letter from your bank, etc.
  • Gather key business information like articles of incorporation, copies of supplier’s agreements, and business bank account statements.

The bottom line: if an offer seems too good to be true, (e.g. instant approval merchant account), it probably is. Make sure you research and compare all of your options, gather the necessary documentation, and speak with a merchant account provider that understands your business type and industry.

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