What are merchant services & payment processors?

If your business is new to the world of card payments, you may have heard the terms ‘merchant services’, 'merchant account' and ‘payment processors/processing’ bandied around, without understanding what they actually mean. 

But if you’re going to allow customers to pay with cards across your businesses and online then it helps to understand what payment processing is, how it works – and most importantly, the options available to you.

What are merchant services?   

Merchant services is a broad term widely used to refer to financial services provided to businesses by a third party. Although, typically, when people use the term, they’re referring to merchant processing services. 

As well as merchant card processing, other merchant services include:

  • Point of sale providers
  • Cash advances for businesses
  • Gift carding or loyalty schemes 
  • Online payment processing
  • Payment gateways

What is a payment processor?

If merchant services is the broad term for a collection of financial services for merchants, then a payment processor is the name of the biggest of these services. 

The role of payment processors is to enable merchants to process transactions from credit or debit cards. They may do this with the help of other third parties, such as acquiring banks.

What is an acquiring bank? 

Acquiring banks or ‘acquirers’ are financial institutions that process card payments on behalf of businesses.

They work directly with consumer’s card issuer (e.g. HSBC, Barclays) and card association (e.g.Visa, Mastercard) to process a transaction and transfer funds from the consumer’s bank account.

Dojo is a payment processor, and an acquirer. This means that we don’t work with a third party. We are responsible for working directly with card-issuing banks and card associations to give merchants the best possible rates.

How do you work with a payment processor to take card payments? 

When you sign up with Dojo, you will need to open a merchant account. This is something that allows you to process your card payments and transfer them into your business account.

Find out more about merchant accounts in our guide

Once you’ve set up your merchant account, you’ll be able to start accepting credit or debit card payments from customers. To do this, you’ll need cutting-edge card machines

Card machines are the hardware that allows you to work with all of the above financial services to take cards. Once you’ve got your processor and merchant account sorted, you just need to choose your money-making machine.

Choosing the right tools for your business.

Depending on your business, you’ll require a card machine that suits the needs of you, your staff, and of course, your customers. Dojo has two main card machines that cater for countertop, portable and mobile payments.

Card machines for retailers

If you’re a bricks and mortar retailer that needs a sturdy and reliable countertop card machine, look no further than the Dojo Go. With a sleek interface and full connectivity via Ethernet, this card machine is reliable, even in the busiest of hours. 

Card machines for traders on the move

Need to take card payments from your taxi, or in someone’s house, after fixing a faulty boiler? Don’t be held back by tethering. With 3G and 4G connectivity and Wi-Fi the Dojo Go lets you take payments from wherever you roam. 

Card machines for the hospitality industry 

Card machines that connect to your EPOS? Now you’re talking.

Dojo card machines integrate with leading EPOS providers so your till speaks directly to your card machines. This means you’ll minimise keying-in errors, turn tables quicker and keep customers satisfied. 

Our Pay-at-Table feature allows you to take your card machine to your customers, to give them the full hospitality experience. You can allow customers to split the bill on different cards, without reaching for the calculator. 

Card machines for the beauty industry 

Nail salons, hairdressers and beauty salons all need flexible and reliable card machines that work as hard as they do, and look equally as beautiful. Dojo Go is ideal for hairdressers or beauty technicians that travel to clients homes or different locations from week to week. 

Find out more about our card machine range for small businesses, or get your easy online quote today

Still feeling baffled by the world of payments? We want card payments to be simple – no jargon, just effortless payments. That's why we've made a full glossary of card payment terms to help you understand in plain English.