bcc1234 - 6:44 pm on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)
topr8, actually a merchant account is an account at the acquiring bank. The bank underwrites your receipts and guarantees that in the even of a chargeback, all funds will be covered. So if you charge people up and run, the acquiring bank will have to pay all the money back for you. A merchant account is not (necessarily) held with the processors.
But as you mentioned bundles, the same thing happens with merchant accounts. Banks might hook you up with a processor they are using. Or the processor might hook you up with a merchant account in a bank with which they are working.
So it might seem like those are one and the same.
As a matter of fact, with three entities: acquiring bank, processor, gateway -- either one will hook you up with the rest. So it might seem like all you need is to contact one company and they'll set you up.