A merchant account allows businesses to accept credit cards from customers, transmitting funds into the bank account you designate, minus processing fees. Whether you're in the process of switching merchant account providers or closing your business for good, you'll be held responsible for properly closing your merchant account.
Notify your merchant account provider. In some cases you may be required to confirm your cancellation via fax or written letter. If you rent credit card equipment as opposed to leasing or owning, you'll be required to return it to your merchant account provider.
Determine any applicable cancellation fees. When you sign up for a merchant account, you may be obligated to keep your account for a specific length of time. In many instances, a merchant account provider will require you to use its processing service for one or two years. Cancellation fees may cost the merchant anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars.
Even though notifying your merchant account provider is a good starting point, you must directly contact each credit card you accept to cancel your merchant account. All merchant accounts require you to accept Visa and MasterCard. Thus, notifying your merchant account provider is sufficient for those two. If you also accept American Express cards, call (800) 528-5200 to ensure your merchant account is canceled; if you accept Discover cards, call (800) 347-1111 to cancel service.
In some instances, it may be cheaper to keep your merchant account open instead of paying a cancellation fee. For example, if you have three months remaining on your merchant account contract and you pay a total of $35 each month to process credit cards, paying $105 dollars will be cheaper than canceling if your cancellation fee is $200.