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Canadian E-Commerce Solutions

Part 3: Canadian Merchant Account Providers


Looking for a Canadian Internet merchant account provider? The advantage of using either InternetSecure or PSiGate is that they don't require you to make a substantial security deposit when you open your Internet merchant account (unlike many banks), and they don't require you to set up an American bank account (unlike American merchant account providers).

Once you set up an Internet merchant account through either of these companies, you'll be able to accept credit card payments via MasterCard, Visa, and American Express credit cards on your e-commerce site. With Internet Secure, you'll also be able to accept Discover, while with PSiGate, you'll also be able to accept Diner's Club/Enroute.

InternetSecure offers six different plans, ranging from a Starter Canadian dollar merchant plan through a Special American dollar only plan. All plans include the merchant account itself, an unlimited number of transactions, Virtual Terminal and Recurring Billing services. The rates vary according to the plan you choose; at the time of writing, merchant service packages start at $295 (CAN) and include complete setup.

PSiGate also offers a variety of merchant service packages, ranging from a basic Canadian dollar merchant account through Visa and Mastercard US dollar merchant accounts (through a partnership with Moneris US) which do not require a Canadian merchant to have a US address or US tax identifier number.

Each PSiGate merchant account includes an eTerminal for phone and fax orders, real-time online reports of your transactions, API toolkits to integrate Web sites and their FraudShield product.

As of the time of writing, according to Steve Jasper, PSiGate's VP of Product and Business Development, the fees for a Canadian dollar merchant account are:

  • One time setup fee: $199.00 CAN
  • Canadian monthly administration fee: $49.95 CAN
  • Per approved transaction: $0.35 CAN
  • Visa/MasterCard/Discover discount rate: 3.75%
  • Amex discount rate*: 4.0%
  • Rolling Merchant Reserve Fund: 5% held for 90 days

*Amex invoices the merchant a separate setup fee of $25.

The Rolling Merchant Reserve fund means, in this case, that 5% of your monthly sales will be held each month and will be returned to you three months later.

Using PSiGate or InternetSecure, you can sign up for an Internet merchant account using an online application form. After applying, you will be emailed the contracts for your Visa and/or MasterCard merchant accounts, which you will have to sign and fax back to the company, along with a copy of your most recent financial statements and a copy of your Articles of Incorporation or Business Registration.

The PSiGate application approval process can take 7-10 business days; presumably InternetSecure's approval process takes a similar amount of time. Assuming all is in order, the company will then send you a formal Merchant Agreement that you must sign and return. Once this is done, you're ready to set up your virtual store.

You don't need an American bank account to do business over the Internet, and you certainly don't need to be paying monthly fees in American dollars. Through Canada Post and its affiliated partners, Canadian e-commerce merchants finally have a fully featured e-commerce solution that's easy to use and relatively inexpensive.


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