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Wholesale Banking

How and why to accept credit cards: a complete guide for merchants

Our team of experts in merchant credit card solutions created this guide to help you start accepting credit cards as a business owner.

Accept credit cards as a merchant

The cost of accepting credit cards outweighs the benefits for your business, right? WRONG! For many years, business owners have avoided accepting credit cards for this same reason. But it turns out that the payment methods you accept in your shop directly influence brand reputation and sales, among others.  

After all, credit cards are one of the safest and most popular payment methods among buyers. According to Visa (1), there are 4.2 billion Visa credit cards in circulation worldwide. While for MasterCard (2), the number of credit cards reaches 1.05 billion cards.  

More people with credit cards means more retailers need to accept electronic cards, which are globally accepted (Global card acceptance). 

But what does accepting credit cards mean for your business, and how can you add credit card acceptance to your existing payment solution? Our team of experts in merchant services created this guide to help you through the basics.  

In this article you'll find:  

  • The differences between credit and debit card acceptance 

  • The benefits of offering multiple in-shop payment options  

  • Pricing comparison between credit card and debit card acceptance 

  • How to add credit card acceptance in your shop 

Global card acceptance: differences between credit card and debit card acceptance

When using a debit card, the funds for the amount of the purchase move from a checking account instantly. When using a credit card, the amount moves through a line of credit. And the charge will take place at a later date, which gives consumers more time to pay.  

For you as a merchant, the payment amounts will be settled by ING on your account the next day. Of course, merchants should accept both credit and debit cards to provide their customers with a complete range of payment options.   

But it’s essential to have in mind their key differences and what they mean for your business.   

A woman sits behind the cash register desk at a shop

Transaction fees

All payments involve a transaction fee for the merchant. Debit card payments might have a standard fee per transaction, depending on the country. On the other hand, for credit card transactions, a percentage of the transaction amount will be charged.  

In both cases, you pay the transaction fee only when you accept a payment. 

Our team of experts in merchant services can tell you more. 

Processing time for payments 

The timing of the settlement depends on the agreement between the bank and the merchants. Some transactions might follow a longer path before settlement than others, depending, for example, on the country of origin of the cardholder. 

For you as a merchant, the payment amounts will be settled by ING on your account, ready the next day, irrespective of a Debit or Credit card payment and the origin of the cardholder. 


When it comes to inclusivity and availability, incidentally, debit cards issued overseas come with limitations.  

On the other hand, credit cards are globally accepted, therefore safeguarding your sales potential.  

What are the benefits of accepting credit cards in your shop?

Make your business accessible to more customers.  

In this economy, every single transaction counts. Expanding your customer base is critical to stand out. People prefer different payment methods according to their needs. And it's your responsibility to accept their preferred payment method.

As the number of credit card holders increases, more and more people want to use them when buying goods and services. Thus, accepting credit cards makes your business more accessible to those people who prefer them for their transactions. 

Increase your average turnover rate.

Expanding your customer base by accepting all forms of payments leads to significantly higher sales. Even more so when it comes to accepting credit cards.

Indeed, consumers appear to spend more money and faster when they pay with their credit card [3]. This partially happens because the purchase amount doesn't come from their bank account. Also, the fact that they don't have to repay the credit card bill immediately affects consumer behaviour.

Moreover, in many cases, consumers only carry their credit cards while shopping. Therefore, you could turn down a client if you cannot offer them the option to pay with a credit card.

Make the most out of the holiday season and tourism. 

Global card acceptance advocates for the development of a global payment network that facilitates safe transactions all around the world. More and more credit card holders use these cards when travelling. 

A person curries a big Christmas gift

With tourism numbers skyrocketing in the post-Covid era [4], merchants report record sales on the tourist hot spots. Therefore, accepting credit cards in your shop allows you to monetise from the high tourist influx. And if you act fast, you can be ready by the holiday season.

How to start accepting credit cards: 4 easy steps

Accepting credit cards is not as complicated as you might think. To help you with the process, our experts gathered the most vital steps to accept credit cards in a shop.

1. Contact your payment processing provider 

The first step is to find a credit card processing vendor. ING is one of the most trustworthy merchant solutions providers.

Once you find a provider, you need to open a merchant account with them. For existing ING customers, you can just add credit card payments to your existing acquiring contract with no need for a new account. Or you can apply for the service as a new client.  

2. Make sure you have your payment terminals configured for credit card acceptance

As long as you accept debit cards, you do not need a new terminal for credit card processing. The payment terminal in your shop is compatible with Mastercard debit and Visa debit acceptance. Therefore, it should also work for Mastercard and Visa credit card payments.

Nonetheless, you should check your payment terminals settings, as it needs additional configuration for accepting credit cards. Your terminal provider performs the Software updates remotely. Of course, the same applies to mobile card readers.

3. Inform your employees

After setting up the contracts and terminal, tell your shop employees they can accept credit card payments from customers. 

The terminals will automatically use the correct payment method, depending on the card used. However, it’s good to inform your employees about all the payment methods accepted. Also, let them know that the payment processor is the same and that no additional training is required.

4. Start accepting payments 

Finally, it's time to welcome your customers. Inform them which brands and cards you accept. And show the names and logos of the Payment Brands at the POS location. You might want to use the stickers on your payment terminal showing the brands. 

Key takeaways:

  • Global card acceptance aims to create a safe payment network around the world. 

  • You can achieve a higher turnover with credit card transactions. 

  • Accepting debit cards issued outside the country sometimes comes with limitations, and credit card acceptance helps you overcome them.  

  • Accepting credit cards during the holiday season helps you monetise on a high tourism influx.  

  • You can easily start accepting credit cards in your shop by acquiring a contract extension.  

  • Accepting credit cards doesn't require a new payment terminal. 

Are you ready to open up your business to more customers? Contact us for the most reliable credit card processing solutions.

Do you want to start accepting credit cards today?

 Contact your ING representative and open your business to more clients.