Merchant Card Processing Services: What Merchant Accounts are Right for Your Business?

Illustration of diverse merchant card processing methods in a corporate setting, featuring a retail POS terminal, a touchtone phone, a wireless terminal at an outdoor event, and online payment processing in an office.

As consumers increasingly opt for non-cash payment methods, the need for diverse merchant services grows. Research shows that while the average cash transaction amounts to $9, credit card purchases average $40. This data highlights the importance of payment processing accounts, but the type you need varies depending on your sales method. Here, we explore five different types of merchant card processing services based on how businesses sell their products or services.


Retail processing accounts use card terminals located at in-store points of sale (POS). Options range from traditional card-swiping machines to contactless readers. This type of equipment is ideal for businesses with high in-store sales volumes. However, businesses with fewer in-store transactions but whose sales are primarily in-store can also benefit.


Internet processing accounts allow merchants to accept payments via cards or electronic checks online. They are perfect for businesses that sell physical goods online or offer online services. Even companies offering local services or non-shippable products benefit from the convenience of online payments, which can also boost local sales. For many companies, the bulk of their revenue comes from online credit card transactions.


Touchtone processing accounts enable the use of a touchtone phone as a transaction device. You activate your account by dialing an 800 number, entering your PIN, and using an automated system to input customer payment details. Because of its higher transaction fees compared to wireless accounts, touchtone processing is usually suited for businesses with a small volume of lower-value transactions.


Wireless processing accounts cater to businesses that operate in varying locations, such as outdoor events or customer homes. These merchants use mobile card terminals that function similarly to stationary terminals. With faster transaction times and lower fees than touchtone processing, wireless accounts are better for businesses with either many small transactions or fewer high-value sales.

Mail Order / Telephone Order (MOTO)

MOTO accounts also allow payment via touchtone phones, along with mail, fax, and phone payments. Despite some debate over the relevance of mail payments, many customers still prefer mailing their payments due to habit or concerns over online security. Telephone payments are also popular for similar reasons.

Learn More About Merchant Accounts

The sections above provide an overview of how different merchant accounts can benefit various business types. To dive deeper into merchant card processing services and understand how merchant accounts function, contact AVPS for a free consultation. With over 25 years of experience serving merchants and 16 years focused on small businesses, we can guide you through choosing the right services for your needs.