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Spoiltchild Design

Setting up online merchant account

Having no electricity today I used the opportunity to catch up on various bits of paper work including sitting down and filling out the application form to set up a merchant account and accept credit cards online.

My business account is currently with Bank of Ireland but I have not been happy with their service over the time I have been with them. I want to move away from them but I am unsure who to move to.

Bank of Scotland have been getting good reviews of late and I have set up an account with them recently however there are some drawbacks to their service which mean I cannot move every thing over to them just yet. They do not have a local branch where I can lodge money and get access to it quickly when needed. I believe they have bought over ESBs Shop Electric chain so a local branch should be here late next year. By the admission of the person I was dealing with in the Stephens Green branch their online Banking system is limited. It cant be any worse then Bank of Irelands one but if moving I would like to trade up. They do not do overdrafts for any amount under €100,000 which is a scary number especially as I have trouble keeping my €600 one in BOI under control. And most importantly for the purpose of this post they do not do merchant accounts to handle online trading.
In the plus column they are nice to deal with and are supposed to be very accommodating when you do need money. They look ideal for a mortgage though so I will be chatting to them next year.

AIB seem to receive as many bad words as BOI but the local branch here seem a little nicer and I already have a personal account and so a history with them.

So I decided to try AIB and also give BOI a go for pure lazy reasons.

I enquired in my own BOI branch and they had no idea what I was asking for. It took five explanations, asking everyone in the branch and eventually a phone call to Merchant Sales in Dublin before I was talking to someone who knew about it and could send me documentation.

AIB were a little better and took down my details which they then passed on to the Merchant division who called me back a day later.

On presentation BOI have the upper hand. Their documentation and forms arrived in a nice A4 folder, full colour printed forms and even a return prepaid envelope. Someone even took the time to fill in some of my details to save me the trouble.

AIBs information arrived folded in two, with photocopied documentation, forms and a handwritten note.

The documentation with BOI seemed more detailed but AIB seemed easier to understand.

Going with BOI ties you into one payment gateway REALEX where AIB offers you the choice of four.

In terms of turn around AIB are supposed to be able to set you up in half the time however I did not hear this directly so cannot confirm it.

Despite the better presentation of BOI I decided to proceed with AIB. I think mostly to take a step away from BOI and their crappy service. Their forms were easy enough to fill in however I would have liked more information on what the impact of either a Yes or No answer on some questions would have to my application.

All that remained was to get a reference form filled in by BOI as that is where my main Business account is. This is where the fun starts. BOI looked at me today like I had two heads. They obviously resented me asking them to do something. They insisted that I shouldn’t even have that form as a reference is a Bank to Bank request that the customer never sees. I already like that AIB are more open about the process. BOI send me away to talk to AIB.

In my local AIB branch they have never seen the form either but they take it off my hands and offer to follow up on it with Dublin. 10 minutes later they call me back to confirm that I should have it and what I was doing was correct. They offer to make it easier for BOI by putting a note on the form and a return address envelope if BOI are more comfortable sending it to AIB directly.

Back to BOI and explain it to them. They continue with the two head look, shake their head, tut, go out back to talk to people, come back, more tutting and eventually they call AIB themselves.
All through their conversation with AIB they look very unhappy, lots of tuting and shaking of head at me. What they eventually do is request a letter directly from AIB Dublin, along with the same form they were then holding and then they will send it back. I am not sure what the difference is but they seemed slightly happier.

So that’s where I am currently at. I have sent in the bulk of the forms and have to wait now for AIB to send a form to BOI and wait for them to fill it in and return.

Once during the process, the BOI customer service person I was dealing with asked why I didn’t go with BOI for he merchant account. I wanted to say “Because I am very unhappy with your service and attitude” but just said that AIB are quicker at setting it up. She didn’t look surprised and didn’t say any more. I jokingly added that it was better to spread the load around anyway but she pretty much cut across me and indicated I could shut up now.

Anyone else set up a merchant account before? How did you find the process? How do you find the service now?

  1. Great post… very entertaining as well as informative!

    Did anyone else notice the customer feedback input yokes that BOI had in their branches recently or was it just Cork?

    They would have a question followed by a series of (I think) 5 buttons. The buttons were then marked “Agree” “Strongly Agree” “Disagree” “Strongly Disagree” etc.

    How can you agree with a question?

    You can agree with a statement, not a question.

    Did you receive good service today? Agree, Disagree.

    Or am I being too pedantic…? :P

    frankp    Nov 23, 11:08 PM    #
  2. I Strongly Agree.

    They were there but on the counter directly in front of the person I was dealing with who would be able to see everything I pressed.

    Alan    Nov 23, 11:13 PM    #
  3. Alan, we never setup a ‘proper’ merchant account for our online business but have been using payment processor for 4 years and WorldPay for just over a year. Of course we’ve also been taking Paypal payment for a long time. Each has their plusses and minuses of course but overall we’ve been very happy with the combination.

    James Corbett    Nov 24, 07:22 AM    #
  4. Alan, if you are looking for good online banking AIB’s is superb. I’m not too happy with the charges on my account every 3 months or the pathetic amount of interest you get on a current account, the only reason I have not moved away from them is the internet banking is so good, I don’t want to downgrade that service.

    Ed    Nov 25, 08:16 AM    #
  5. AIB all they way, we use them for everything and they are always excellent, altho I think the trick is a really good manager you can get on with :)

    Stephen    Nov 25, 08:31 PM    #
  6. AIB rock!

    They do have their “moments”, but overall they are very good. Get in touch with Realex and get an account sorted out with them. You’ll probably also get a call from AIB asking you a lot of probing questions about possible fraud etc. If you are using Realex to do the processing most of these questions are easily answered.

    We’ve been a lot happier since we setup our account as you get your money a LOT faster than you do with 2checkout etc., If you need any assistance give me a shout


    Michele    Nov 26, 01:01 PM    #
  7. PayPal also have a merchant account that lets you accept credit cards (so customers don’t need a Paypal account themselves) and pays directly into your Paypal account – which you can then transfer to your bank account.

    Pretty simple setup process and comparable fees – might be worth a look at.

    Ed Byrne    Nov 27, 03:14 PM    #
  8. Ed – Paypal is handy, but you have to wait 5 working days to get the cash.

    Michele    Nov 28, 09:56 PM    #