How to Onboard a Merchant

Modified on Thu, 18 Jan 2024 at 01:32 PM

In this article, we will walk through the onboarding process from the viewpoint of a general merchant. If you are a school, we have a different article dedicated to addressing the education-specific onboarding process.

In This Article, We’ll Look At:

  1. Where to Begin

  2. Industry

  3. Business Details

  4. Business Contact Information

  5. Owner Details

  6. Processing Details

  7. Banking Details

  8. Summary and Submission

Where to Begin

  1. To begin, make sure you are logged into your Pay Theory account. When you first log in, you’ll be on the “Payments Home” tab.

  2. If you haven’t completed the onboarding process, an “Onboarding” card will be visible in the upper middle of your screen. 

    1. Select “Complete Merchant Application.” This will direct you to a new page.


  1. You will find yourself on the “Industry” tab.

    1. Select the industry that is most relevant to your business.

    2. Another way to narrow down the options is to use the search bar. Type your industry or merchant category code into the search bar. The results will auto-populate in real-time.

    3. Once selected, the questionnaire will be customized to fit your industry. 

    4. Select “Save and Continue” at the bottom of the screen when ready to move on.

Business Details

  1. Take a look at the “Business Details” tab.

    1. Type your legal business name into the first text field.

    2. Move down to the “Doing Business As'' text field. This is your business’s “nickname.” For instance, the company ‘Alphabet’ does business as ‘Google’.

    3. As you’re going through this onboarding application, if you need more clarification, select the text box for the corresponding question you are stuck on and helper text will appear to the right of the box. If the helper text doesn’t answer your question, select the “Need Help?” link within the helper text and a “Developer Support” pop-up will appear. Submit your questions there and we will be happy to assist you.

    4. For the “Business Type” selection, select the incorporation that your business is labeled as on your official IRS documents.

    5. If it is a public business, select the checkbox.

    6. For the business start date, select the date that your business was legally established.

    7. In the “Tax, EIN, or SSN” text field, type the 9-digit number assigned to your business by the IRS.

Business Contact Information

  1. Continue onto “Business Contact Information” by selecting “Save and Continue.”

    1. Add your business website into the “Business Website” text field, being sure to include the protocol of the website (https, ssl, etc).

    2. Add the business phone number to the “Business Phone” text field, being sure to include the area code.

    3. Fill out the business address accordingly. Please note that PO Boxes are not accepted.

Owner Details

  1. Continue onto “Owner Details” by selecting “Save and Continue.”

    1. The name of the owner should include the person’s full legal name with their middle initial. Nicknames should not be included. Using a name other than your legal name can cause your merchant application to be delayed or declined.

    2. As mentioned before, PO boxes are also not accepted as the representative’s address.

    3. If there are multiple owners, fill out the percentage of ownership for the current individual and then select ‘Yes’ to the question, “Does anyone else own more than 25% of the company?”. If anyone owns more than 25% of the company, they must be added to the system. You can add as many individuals as needed.

    4. Once you have filled the individual’s information, if there is a second owner, clicking “Save and Continue” will allow you to add the second representative’s information.

    5. If at any point you need to edit someone’s information, select the “Edit” button in the top right corner of the individual’s box. If the information is incomplete, this box will turn red and you will have to edit the information before you submit the final form.

    6. By default, the first owner you entered is the primary account holder. To change this, select the checkbox for the representative that will be the primary account holder. This can be changed at any time in the future.

    7. If you want to remove an owner, select the “Remove Owner” button underneath the “Save and Continue” button at the bottom of the page.

Processing Details

  1. Continue onto  “Processing Details” by selecting “Save and Continue.”

    1. Select whether or not your company accepts card payments.

    2. For the “Statement Descriptor” text field, type the name that you want to appear on your customer’s bank statement.

    3. Select your company’s refund policy from the dropdown.

    4. For the Card Capture amount, please include:

      1. Estimates—These are your expectations of processing volume within a year. This helps us access risk when processing merchants.

      2. Additionally, the dollar amount and volume number do not have to be specific; they just need to be an estimate of the current total amount. This is to help monitor for fraud within your account. Pay Theory expects gradual increases or decreases within accounts, but if these amounts change rapidly and you would like to alter them, please send us an email at or submit a ticket at

    5. For the volume distribution by business, ensure the percentage breakdown adds up to 100%.

      1. “Other” is anything not business or consumer-related, i.e. government.

Banking Details

  1. Continue onto “Banking Details” by selecting “Save and Continue.” 

    1. Inputting your company’s bank account information is necessary for your company to accept secure and reliable payments using Pay Theory. This information also helps reduce fraud and assess risk.

    2. For the “Name on Account” text field, type the person’s name associated with the account.

    3. Select the account type from the dropdown.

    4. Input the routing number into the “Routing Number” and “Confirm Routing Number” text fields.

    5. Input the account number into the “Account Number” and “Confirm Account Number” text fields.

Summary and Submission

  1. Continue to the “Summary” by selecting “Save and Continue.”

    1. Double-check all of your information. If anything is incorrect or missing, selecting the “Edit” button will allow you to address the issue.

    2. Scroll down to the “Voided Check or Bank Note” section. Upload either a voided check or bank note to help Pay Theory monitor for fraudulent activity.

    3. Nonprofits must also upload a “Tax Exempt Document”.

    4. Select “Submit Application to finish the onboarding process.

  2. When you are finished, select “Submit Application.”

  3. After submission, check your email.

    1. Your merchant application status will be updated in your portal. Additionally, you will receive emails notifying you of any status changes or if any additional information is needed.

If you have any questions, please send Pay Theory a message directly to the email or submit a ticket at and we will be happy to assist you.

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