Direct accounts are just that; direct relationships with banks that process credit card transactions. Merchants enjoy lower discount rates and a more stable, secure processing environment as their accounts are exclusive with their own mid and not shared with other merchants.
A direct mid is a ideal situation for a merchant.
Direct accounts are available to established merchant with at least 6 months of solid credit processing history and low charge back histories.
Third Party Accounts
A third party account is a merchant account established with a processor handling multiple accounts through a master merchant account. The processor holds the master account and then issues separate mids or accounts to each of their approved merchants.
Third party account are very good for start-up companies with no processing history however they are not as stable a direct account as other merchants are combined within the master account.
A good strategy is to begin with a third party account and then migrate to a direct merchant solution after 6 months of steady processing.