ps. when you contact Streamline, make sure you tell them that your with Worldpay currently and you're looking for a faster payout so they'll give you the same competitive deal (depending on what goods/services your selling and the associated risk).
I've been planning a company for about 6 months now, but I'm still looking at its feasability. It's going to be a startup company, so I'm guessing that I'm going to have to look pretty organised if I want Natwest to accept my application. I'm pretty sure I know what a merchant account is; Like another bank account, but for payments to go through whilst being cleared... So you don't actually have access to the funds until it's been cleared into the companies normal bank account.
But some merchant accounts also hold back a security 'reserve', eg. 10% of the transaction, and only pay this after, say, 6 months.
So when deciding which one to go for, you'd need to look at your profit margin, and whether you could afford to hold out, as well as of course the transaction fees (anywhere between 2.5% - 15%).
If you sell goods or do a lot of advertising, your cashflow will get really screwed if you go for an account which only pays out after 4-6 weeks.
Thats why I said the natwest was a good deal, there's no reserve/no deposit and the money is in your current bank a/c within 3-4 days. It of course depends on their risk assessment of you as to what deal they'll actually offer you, but the above is what i got.
"high risk" is a combination of the age and track record of your business, and the risk associated with the goods/services you sell.
The former takes into account your business credit history, strength of your accounts, as well as the personal financial status/history of you (the owner).
Regardless of business strength, items such as gambling, adult materials, tobacco, pharmaceuticals on the internet are seen as high-risk as well as value items which are easily re-sellable by thieves who use stolen cards (eg. electronic goods such as mobile phones, cameras, etc).
If you are stock-based, they will look at whether you hold and own the stock before you sell it.
If you are service-based, they will look at the time-frame in which the service is to be delivered. For example, if you sell 12-month subscriptions, thats higher risk that if you deliver a same-day service and the contract finishes right away.
I wouldn't consider 2CO a merchant account, but rather a 3rd party processor, like Paypal. I personally prefer something that is onsite (with an SSL cert of course) rather than leaving the site (as you do with 2CO) You might want to have both, since 2CO is just a one time $49 fee, with no recurring payments, so in case you have customer that prefer 2CO they will have that option. I recommend having Paypal as on alternate, as some people will only shop somewhere if it accepts Paypal.