Do not expect your online business to thrive if you do not have a merchant account set up for it, with the limited payment options cash offers. This particular rule of thumb is simple to understand; if your customers cannot pay for your products and services using their credit cards, they will simply find another business that would allow them that privilege. These days, a lot of people prefer to shop online, and you need to be able to accept credit card payments. If that is the case, then what are online merchant accounts? Simply put, this is a service that is set up to accept and process credit card payments in return for a small monthly fee. There are account providers that authorizes and processes the transactions for you; it is them whom you pay the monthly fee to.