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    2 Replies Latest reply on Sep 28, 2011 9:49 AM by Moderator_MoniE

    What are legal implications when I apply for a merchant services account?

    lindae Wayfarer

      If I apply to a merchant services account (credit card processing online) for my boss (owner of a company), what are the legal implications?

      The owner is a foreigner whom does not have a social security #; the business is registered and has a fed id#.


      What would I be liable for and is there an agreement of some sort that I could have the owner sign to protect my assets?

        • Re: What are legal implications when I apply for a merchant services account?
          amspcs Ranger

          There are many possible implications, depending on circumstances you did not outline in  youf question.  First and foremost, if  you are the signer for a merchant account,  99% of the time you are signing a PERSONAL guarantee for fees and coverage

          of any losses that may occur, much like a co-signer on a loan (incidentally, a merchant account IS actually a loan product, specifically an open line of credit) which, of course, doesn't just 'go away' should your employment terminate.  There are some instances

          over the years in which we have been able to successfully avoid the personal guarantee requirement, but the requirements are fairly specific and many applicants will not qualify for this perk.  Also, your business organiation (corporation, LLC, partnersjph, sole prop et cwill have al lot to do with the wisdom or legality of signing a merchant accuunt agreement without having equity interest n the business.  My advise to you is to look before you leap and seek out  some expert advise from both the merchant services, legal, and accounting viewpoints.  Generfally speaking, in my experience, having a non-equity employee sign of on a merchant account is a very poor idea, particularly for the signer.  There are many far better and far smarter courses of action for your boss to pursue in order to get a US merchant account (for both him and you) than the course of action you are contemplating.  And as for your question about an agreement the owner could sign, I'm not an attorney but a good guess would be the merchant account provider would cinsider thaft to be an agreement strictly between you and  your boss which wojld not be binding on the merchant provider in any way.  In other words, agreement or no agreement, if your boss defaults, the provider is coming after YOU.  . 

          • Re: What are legal implications when I apply for a merchant services account?

            Though I am not a lawyer or an accountant, I'm afraid I would have to agree with amspcs on this one, as well. Basically, because he does not have a valid American SSN, the owner of the company you are simply an employee at is asking you to secure a loan for the company ... is that correct? Is he offering you any sort of partnership/ownership or a promotion of any kind in return? Why is he coming to you rather than investigating his options himself? Is he just looking for the easiest solution or has he exhausted all of his other options? I am generally a suspicious person by nature and on top of that I am very detail oriented so I tend to need a lot of answers before putting myself out there and accepting risks. It has served me well in the past to be this way.




            In my time, I have always believed that if you request a line of credit, you are ultimately responsible for that line of credit should the loan be defaulted on. Unless you have some legitimate stake in the business, I see no reason why you would want to become financially responsible for a business loan to that business. To reiterate amspcs, "Look before you leap". Ask questions, do research and seek expert advice before obligating yourself for something that you don't want to be responsible for.





            Good luck in whatever you decide!