The underwriting department is responsible for reviewing and evaluating merchant account applications for approval. This department assesses the risk involved in providing a merchant account to a business and makes a decision on whether or not to approve the application.
The underwriting department performs a thorough evaluation of the business, including a review of the business’s financials, products and services offered, and processing history. They may also perform a background check on the business owner or key personnel and evaluate the business’s website and marketing materials.
The underwriting department’s goal is to determine the level of risk associated with a merchant account and to determine if the business is likely to have high chargeback or fraud rates, which could negatively impact the payment processor. Based on this evaluation, the underwriting department decides whether to approve the merchant account, and if so, what the terms and conditions of the account will be, including the approved processing volumes, fees, and chargeback limits.
The underwriting department determines the risk level for a merchant account by evaluating several factors that can impact the likelihood of chargebacks, fraud, or other issues that could negatively impact the payment processor. The specific factors considered may vary, but some common elements include:
- Business type: The type of business and the products or services offered can impact the level of risk. Some industries, such as high-ticket or digital goods, are considered higher risk due to the potential for chargebacks or fraud.
- Processing history: A business’s past processing history can provide insight into the likelihood of chargebacks or fraud. If a business has a history of high chargeback rates or fraud, the underwriting department may consider this a red flag.
- Financial stability: The underwriting department will assess the financial stability of the business, including revenue, profitability, and credit history. A business that is financially stable and profitable is considered less risky.
- Customer complaints: A review of customer complaints and negative feedback can provide insight into the business’s reputation and potential issues with customer satisfaction, which could impact the level of risk.
- Marketing materials: The underwriting department may review the business’s website, marketing materials, and sales practices to determine if the business is operating in a manner that complies with industry standards and regulations.
- Business owner information: The underwriting department may perform a background check on the business owner or key personnel, including a review of credit history, criminal records, and previous merchant accounts.
Based on these and other factors, the underwriting department assigns a risk level to the merchant account application, which helps determine the terms and conditions of the account, including the approved processing volumes, fees, and chargeback limits. The underwriting department’s goal is to minimize the risk associated with the merchant account and to ensure the long-term stability and success of the business.
The underwriting process is a crucial step in obtaining a merchant account and can be time-consuming and complex. However, it is important for businesses to provide accurate and complete information to the underwriting department to increase their chances of approval and to ensure that the merchant account is set up with terms and conditions that are favorable for the business.