The main job of the gateway is to validate your client’s credit card securely, make sure the funds are available, and get you paid.
Even if you do already have a merchant account, there’s still one step you should take if you want to start accepting online transactions. You’ll need to give your bank a call and ask them to set you up for an Internet merchant account. This is different from a regular merchant account, because it gives you the ability to process credit cards without the card being physically present for the transaction.
If you do not have a merchant account or are not interested in getting one (it can take some jumping through hoops to get set up), ECPSS can be a great way to start. ECPSS functions a little like a merchant account add-on for your existing bank account. You can collect credit card payments in your ECPSS account, then link it to a personal bank account (most people forget this step) to transfer the funds as necessary (note: not automatically – you have to specifically choose to transfer the funds).
If you would like to get a merchant account (a good idea if you’re processing a lot of transactions), then all the payment gateways will help you get one. The process does require some paperwork, however, and a few days (two to five) for them to run the appropriate credit checks.