merchant identification number

What is a Merchant Identification Number?

A Merchant Identification Number (MID) is a unique identification number issued to businesses by card associations for the purpose of identifying each business with a single identifier. The MID enables electronic data interchange (EDI) processing between businesses and financial institutions such as banks, credit card companies and other payment processors. This standardizes transactions among multiple merchants, which helps facilitate data-driven business decisions.

Why Do I Need an MID?

An MID allows you to accept credit card payments online, offline (via swipe), and over the phone without additional fees. Transactions processed with your MID will list the name of your business as opposed to a personal name or individual person which offers liability protection for both you and your customers.

How Do I Get an MID?

You must apply for a MID through your bank or payment processor. The application process will include completing paperwork, submitting to background checks, and meeting specific requirements specified by the card associations (i.e., Visa, MasterCard). The requirement criteria varies depending upon the type of card processing system you use.

Is a MID Annual or a One-Time Fee?

MIDs are typically billed on an annual basis, however there is no set rule. Contact your bank for the exact fee before applying for an MID.

In what currency do I submit my application and fees?

The currency in which you submit your application will be the currency in which your account will be billed. If you are using US-based card associations, you can acquire an MID for US dollars regardless of where you are located.

Is There a Fee to Maintain My MID?

There is no set rule, check with your bank or payment processor. However, if you are asked to pay a fee for maintaining your MID after submitting an application, it is probably best to find another bank or payment processor.

When Will I Receive My MID?

A MID is provided immediately upon approval, however some banks will hold the numbers until they perform their own background check. It typically takes 3-7 business days for the results of the background check to be returned to your bank. If all is well, you will receive an email stating that your MID has been activated and assigned to your account.

Can I Cancel My MID or Open a Second Account?

You may cancel your existing account and open a second one if you wish. However you must have a reason for canceling your MID. For example, upgrading from a personal account to an LLC or Corporation; opening additional locations; etc.

Can I Use an MID on More Than One Account?

You cannot share the same MID across multiple accounts. If you are using different banks for different business entities (i.e., LLC and Corporation), then each entity must have its own MID.

How do I get a MID?

Contact your bank and obtain an application. Keep in mind that some banks and payment processors do not offer a MID service for all business entities, such as LLCs and Corporations, so you may need to look around before making a decision on which bank or payment processor you’d like to use. Once approved by your bank, you will receive your MID.

Can I Re-Use a Closed Account to Apply for a MID?

No, you cannot re-use your previous account information in order to apply for another MID. Each bank or payment processor has their own application process and requirements that are specific to each business entity. Please contact your bank or payment processor directly for more information.

Can I Use an MID to Process Phone Orders?

Yes, you can use your MID to process phone orders. Many banks and payment processors provide a station for phone order transactions associated with your online merchant account. It is important to check with your bank or payment processor for specific requirements before processing phone orders directly from your website, such as whether the phone orders require a secondary password, and if so what it is.

Can I Use an MID in Other Countries?

It depends. Some banks and payment processors only provide service for specific countries and geographical regions. Please contact your bank or payment processor directly before attempting to use your account in another country.

Can I Transfer an MID to Another Bank?

Yes, you can transfer your MID to another bank. However, you must contact the bank or payment processor that issued your MID before planning to move account. You will need to provide them with all of the required information in order for them to cancel your existing account and issue you a new one through their MID service. Keep in mind that it typically takes 3-7 business days for the results of the background check to be returned to your bank, so make sure you give yourself enough time before moving any funds associated with your account.