Major retailers including restaurants, businesses, and shopping sites accept credit cards as a form of online payment. When you visit an online store, there is a shopping page to add products to a virtual cart and a running balance is added, typically, as you continue adding more items to your cart. If you decide to market products on your website, you will want to accept credit cards. Virtually everyone owns a credit card and today many people own more than 5 credit cards. Credit cards are still the easiest form of payment to use anywhere.
As you market your product(s) on your website, ensure your products can be purchased quickly and efficiently. Offering a form of payment not everyone accepts will turn away your customers. For example, I consider myself an impulse buyer. When I see a product I like online and I want to purchase it, I immediately look for a buy now button. If this takes more than a few seconds for me to find, I get frustrated and typically leave the website. If I select buy now, I expect the next page to enter credit card information and my shipping address – that’s it. If credit card isn’t a payment method I can use, there’s no chance I will take time to “sign up” for the other payment method offered on the website. International buyers also look for credit card options to purchase.
Difference Between Payment Gateway and Payment Processor?
A payment gateway is where a credit card is swiped. A payment gateway is legally required to intercede between your website and payment processor. Payment gateways require a merchant account. Popular examples of payment gateways include Authorize.net, First Data.
A payment processor is a financial organization that handles the transactions your customers make when they swipe their credit card. The most popular payment processor is Paypal.
Common Forms of Website Payment Options
You accept credit card payments through a merchant account. A merchant account is a type of bank account that allows you to accept credit cards as a form of payment. The costs associated with opening and running your own merchant account can be high, so many businesses look to third party merchant accounts to save money and simplify the entire process. A restaurant is a great example of having needing its own merchant account. The process is straightforward.
- A restaurant that is an accredited businesses applies through Chase Merchant Services for an account. The approval process can be lengthy, especially if you are a new business.
- A credit check will be performed. A close look at loan repayments will remark to the underwriter and will show good cause to approve you.
- Typically, you are approved or rejected. You might be asked to provide additional information regarding your business as well.
- Once approved, you have a new bank account. If you are a brick and mortar store, the merchant sends you a machine that will swipe credit cards.
- Be aware of fees.
- Monthly Minimum Fees – amount you must transact at minimum
- Reserve Fees – reserve account setup to back your credit report
- Equipment Fees – any equipment loaned to your business
- Transaction Fees – flat rate fee charged per transaction
Now that we reviewed managing your own Merchant account, does it make sense for you? Probably not unless you are making thousands of transactions monthly. Let’s review a third party merchant/processor account.
Third Party Merchant and Processor Accounts
A popular third party merchant/processor is PayPal. Many online businesses register with PayPal because there a no monthly fees associated for an account. You avoid paying fees including annually, IRS fees, customer service fees, contract fees, and more. With these benefits, it is important to note that third party processors will charge extra for making transactions. However, if you are a small business that conducts only a few transactions a month, a 3rd party processor makes perfect sense for you and you save money in the long run. PayPal has also made eBay extremely popular in the sense of allowing to transact buying/selling of items with credit cards if you wanted to.
Examples of other third party payment processors include
Whether you are ready or not ready to accept credit card payments, a good place to start is to register a free PayPal account now and link your bank accounts to it. You never know when you might need to start processing your business transactions.
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