It should be easy getting a merchant account. After all, these providers will make money with every single transaction you make. But really, do you think it’s that simple? The payments business is extremely competitive, and processors naturally want your business – but they must still do their due diligence before they approve an application.

The following are two steps that will help boost your application’s chances of getting approved:

1. Organize your financial statements.

Financial statements are your single best tool in leveraging the best terms of approval you can get. Some people prefer not to provide financial statements to support their merchant account application. Usually, these are privately owned medium-sized companies that put a prime on their privacy. Company financials are, after all, confidential business information.

But from a payment processor’s point of view, this is a huge mistake. Above anything else, most underwriters want to see proof of an applicant’s financial stability so they can assess the company’s chances of continuing with success into the future.

Startup merchants, on the other hand, would do all in their power to have a strong balance sheet, knowing this would make a critical difference in their approval.

If your business has toiled hard to reach its present stature, it’s a poor decision not to take advantage of its fruitful history to get the most favorable approval terms. So make use of your financial statements, or get ready to put up a security reserve. You should provide the latest balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and all notes from the accountant, if any.

2. Take a look at your processing history.

A positive processing history is yet another very effective way of leveraging your application. More money traded plus fewer chargebacks and you have a stronger case. The idea is simple: you have successfully processed credit cards in the past, so why would anything change?

When available, supply no less than three months’ worth of processing statements. Six months is going the extra mile, unless you offer high-risk products or services or you trade high volumes. In such a case, an entire year’s worth of statements will be necessary.

It requires some extra work, but that’s better than having to build up a security reserve.

At the end of the day, your merchant account sales representative will be the best tool you can access as you prepare to submit your application. Ask all questions you might have and listen closely to the answers. If it all sounds rosy, be skeptical.

Be as honest as possible with your expectations, and if you have any doubts, raise them upfront. The processor you’re working with should want to help you get approved, eventually leading you to a mutually beneficial longstanding partnership.