Merchant Accounts v.s. Payment Gateways + Harbortouch Merchant Services

What really is the difference between a merchant account and a payment gateway? This article will answer this very question with detailed explanations that will allow you to learn more about both and make decisions accordingly for your specific business. 

Starting off with a merchant account. This can be thought of as a type of bank account that allows you, the business, to accept multiple forms of payment that include both credit and debit cards, as well as ACH payments. It is a middle ground between your business and the individual customers’ card-issuing banks. These banks will gain the amount needed for the purchase and place this into your business bank account. The merchant account is a specified account where information on payment transactions is collected and held.

A payment gateway on the other hand utilizes an online transaction that occurs through a secure hosted payment form on the purchasing website or through an integrated shopping cart. After the initial purchase, customer payment information enters the gateway where the cardholder’s information is encrypted and then sent to the payment processor. This information is then routed through the card network to the customer’s card-issuing bank, who either approves or denies the payment back to the gateway, which then alerts the merchant and customer. The payment gate acts as the linking factor between your business’s merchant account and the customer’s bank.

Which one would align with your business truly depends on your needs. While a merchant account allows businesses to accept credit cards, along with other payments and improves sales and cash flow, a payment gateway is a great choice for eCommerce and mobile retailers for an effortless purchasing experience including integrating payments within accounting, CRM, or ERP software and contactless payments with NFC devices. 

We offer a number of value-added services to complement your payment solution! When you establish a merchant account with us, you are able to take advantage of a number of FREE equipment offerings or be able to utilized existing equipment with competitive processing rates. Along with this, your business will have access to the Lighthouse Business Management System where you will be able to manage your entire POS system from any device. This includes access to Marketplace, which allows integration for several third-party apps, such as DoorDash and QuickBooks. 

Check out the check services, that enable you to avoid bounced checks and bank fees endured by accepting nonsufficient checks (NSF). The check guarantee system will alert you of any negative and NSF check risks and the check conversion system will automatically deposit into your bank account. Get hold of your unique gift card and loyalty cards by starting with 50 FREE customized cards. Choose or create the best design for your business. 

Take advantage of the working capital, which is a business cash advance that will allow you to generate the working capital needed without negotiating with the bank and instead utilizing your future credit card receivables. Look into our ATM solutions where you are able to receive equipment, cash replenishment, and processing for your own ATM near your business location!

Our e-Commerce solution is worth a look! is a perfect way to securely accept payments over the internet. This payment gateway is the best solution for e-Commerce that integrates directly with your existing website.

We are here to help you make optimal decisions for your business. Contact us at 678-551-5837 or [email protected]. Check out for more information!

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