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How to Take Credit Cards for your Ecommerce Business

So you have heard of the benefits of the eCommerce realm and you want in. You are well aware of the hype surrounding the high retail figures boosted by online sales. But where do you start? Well, among the many facets of online marketing is one question that crosses the minds of many business owners, “how do I accept payments?” Well, one of the most common payment methods is using credit cards.

How to Accept Credit Cards on Your Online Store

One of the main reasons why credit cards are so popular compared to other methods is that they are acceptable in many other stores (both on and offline). Before your online store can be functional, there is a need to set up a secure payment option. It is advisable, however, to talk to your web developer to get the best payment method for your site. If your site is fit for credit card payments, here are some basics, which you can always find on Merchant Advise.

Payment Processing Methods

There are 2 main methods: 

                                Real Time Card Processing                                    
     
  Here is what happens: when a customer inputs their credit card details, a payment is processed right away. While this is convenient as it is immediate, it can be quite costly.  
     
 

Third Party Credit Card Processing

 
     
  In this method, a merchant collects the credit card information and submits it to a credit card processor securely. While this is definitely cheaper, it takes some time to process.  

It is important to note that regardless of the method you choose, your site should be secure since sensitive information will be passed on. You will also need a secure link to the actual processing whether by you or by external processing services.

The Basics of Real Time Credit Card Processing

Setting up real time credit card processing is easy and affordable. You are only required to pay a small initial fee and a percentage for every transaction made. With every transaction, both parties (the customer and you) are notified via email.

Since this is a real time all-in-one credit card processing method, you need not have a merchant account. This service comes with a secure interface where customers give their personal information so you need not purchase your own SSL (secure server certificate). The best thing about this interface is that both parties can view a detailed record of all the transactions. As the site owner, you can also arrange to have the proceeds transferred to a bank account of your choice.

You can also engage 3rd party credit card processors who charge a small fee for each transaction. In most cases, there is no application or monthly charges.

With this processing method, the set up is easy, affordable, devoid of periodic payments and is widely supported by a large number of shopping cart applications. You also do not need to purchase extra services such as SSL. This method, however, can be costly, and will take the client away from your site to securely make the payment.

The Basics of Merchant Account Card Processors

A merchant account is a secure third party service that allows credit card processing on behalf of a retailer. One of the major advantages of this service is that the customer completes the payments process on your site without being transferred to another site to complete the procedure.

Countless online retailers now have merchant accounts to process payments for their retail operations. If you are one of those site owners who are already using a merchant account processor for offline processing, it is pretty easy to upgrade your current online transactions. You can always talk to your service provider to find out what you need to get a suitable internet merchant account.

It is important to note that merchant accounts are in different forms and you might need to shop around for the perfect account. Look out for the best features and cost effectiveness that best suits your retail needs. You can shop around for the best account with banks and other reputable brokers and resellers.

Merchant accounts come with application fees, set up fees, monthly fees and a percentage for every transaction. Setting up a merchant account can take up to a month, and may not be one of the most affordable options, especially with all the start up fees. Additionally, the monthly fees are due whether or not a sale has been made, and you will also need to purchase SSL.

When thinking of a merchant account, you might want to check your credit card history as it can determine the account’s approval. You will also need to know your business volume as well as the size of each transaction, and the number of expected monthly transactions.

Parting Shot

The choice of credit card processing method depends on a range of factors. It is important to talk to a web developer as well as shop around for merchant accounts to find out which option best suits your needs.