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Business merchant accounts are a method by which your business accepts and receives payment through major credit cards. It's convenient for customers since the majority of consumer product sales these days are paid for through the use of a credit card. Major credit cards include MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover Card.
Only established businesses can have a business merchant account, individuals are not authorized to use business merchant accounts. You can not use your business merchant account for personal use; that's a violation of the terms of service for both MasterCard and Visa. It is also a violation of the terms of service for one business to allow anyone else to use their merchant account. In other words if a friend of yours has an online store you can't allow that person to use your merchant account to process their credit card payments.
Here's a simplified explanation of how the process works: Customer uses credit card to pay for product. Business takes credit card information and uses their merchant account to charge the customer's account. The bank that holds the merchant account verifies the credit card and debits the customer's credit card account and credits the business's account. After a predetermined length of time, the bank deposits the charge into the business' checking account.