What is an MID?
When you apply and get approved for a merchant account, you are given a unique set of numbers called Merchant Identification (MID). No other merchant can have the same MID as you within the entire network of your payment processing provider.
MIDs are considered a highly sensitive information. With the rising amount of fraudulent activities and data theft reported worldwide, it is recommended that you keep your MID number to yourself. Only you, your merchant account provider, and payment processor should know about it. Your ID number won’t be available for public records and no one will be able to search it in local search engines.
Merchant ID numbers can’t be changed as often as you can change your e-mail address, but you can own multiple merchant account ID numbers much like other big enterprises. However, in umbrella corporation setups, the same MID will be given since it goes through the same network.
There are other ID numbers that are assigned to your merchant account and you shouldn’t confuse the numbers assigned for the other.
The Terminal Identification Number (TID) as the name states, identifies your business through the equipment you are using when processing payments. It singles out the terminal used for the payment that passes through your account.
The Gateway Identification Number (GID) on the other hand identifies the payment gateway used to process the transaction. In other words, it points out the specific network used for the payments.
Collectively, the numbers above – and your MID included – identify your business, which network will be used to process the payment, and in what method are you paid.
How to Own a Merchant ID Number?
A merchant ID is automatically given to you once you are granted a merchant account. The requirements are different from every Merchant Service Provider (MSP) but all of them will require several documents. Some of the things you need to present for the verification process include:
- Taxpayer Identification Number
- Proof of Business Ownership
- Valid Identification
- Acquiring Bank Account Number
- Payment Gateway
There are instances in which you may lose your merchant ID, and this can greatly affect your business. One of the most common reasons for revocation of merchant IDs is excessive chargebacks. Before getting completely canceled however, there are lighter sanctions and due process that financial institutions follow. It’s best to eliminate the chances of ever being considered for MID cancelation. Your payment processor should be able to help mitigate these risks for you.
Processors have the right to withhold your transaction funds for suspicious activities and sudden surge in your chargeback ratio. It can be a form of account reserve, or simply a casualty as the processor continues to investigate your account’s activity.
The next sanction can hurt your account, but it’s still less worrisome than getting canceled. Processors can freeze your merchant ID number and stop you from accepting any new card payments to your account. Most of the time, this happens when your chargeback ratio cuts too close to the 2% limit. The acceptable chargeback ratio is set at 2%, but can also be higher or lower depending on your agreement with the payment processor. A frozen merchant ID can be indefinite, which means you can only accept cash or PayPal payments, and you will have to manually transfer them to your business or personal account.
Lastly, the most unfortunate thing that can happen to your merchant account ID is for it to get canceled. This is a result of the payment processor closing your account permanently. There are many grounds in which processors can do this.
While banks can terminate the account when they see a breach of the agreed terms of services, most of the time, it is the chargeback ratio of your business that leads to this. When a payment processor closes your account, you are tagged as a Terminated Merchant. This goes in your credit history, and makes it harder for you to open a new merchant account with a new payment processor.
As initially mentioned, your merchant account ID number is not available for public view. That said, you cannot search for other people’s merchant ID as well. The usual length of MIDs are 15 numbers, but it can be shorter or longer depending on your processor. If you happen to forget your merchant identification, here’s how you can find them.
- Merchant Statement of Account – most of the time, your statement of accounts indicate your ID number on the top right corner.
- Payment Terminal – other times, you can find it in your payment terminals. There should be a 15-digit combination on the side of the equipment or at the bottom most part.
- Bank Statement – there can also be an abbreviated version of your MID on the bank statement provided by your acquiring bank.
- Merchant Service Provide (MSP) – if neither of the stated options above has your merchant ID, your last and most viable option is to call your MSP. They have the most capable hands to help you lookup your merchant account number.
If you happen to have transactions using Google Pay or PayPal services, you can check your settings and profile respectively, and find your merchant ID.
Protect Your Merchant ID Number
MIDs are extremely important in your trade and getting it is just the beginning. The first thing to keeping your account number secure is by partnering with a reputable payment processor such as Allied Payments.
Get started with a reliable payment processor that lays out every pain point so you can understand the vulnerabilities your business might encounter. You need a trustworthy team that is always a step ahead of potential fraud and chargebacks.