How to handle credit card processing online

If you are a retailer and you don’t manage your own online sales, you should stop and think: what’s stopping me?

Nowadays, there isn’t much. Of course, many third-party sites – think eBay Where Etsy – exist to pedal the products of small online traders. But if you’re ready to break free from those pricing structures and site design limitations, it’s time to set up your own retail site, including payment processing.

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Manage Credit Card Processing Online: Find a Supplier

For small businesses with a website already equipped with a store and shopping cart system (a few options are Volusion, Shopify, Where Magento, or you can import products into Google’s product search, Based), it is extraordinarily easy to set up online payment processing using a credit card processing service.

Most of the services are just as easy to use: they offer either to route customers to your site from their shopping cart to your site via a secure payment system on their own site, or to allow you to directly integrate their button. payment on your site. Since secure encryption can be difficult for non-techies, you might want to hire a web developer to help with the setup. If that is not possible, most credit card processing gateways offer full customer service and setup help.

If your business does not yet have an online store or shopping cart with credit card processing, you will need a merchant account, which is an agreement with a bank to process credit cards, and ‘a payment gateway, which is the infrastructure that allows you to accept credit cards.

There are two types of merchant accounts:

If a bank contracts with you to provide you with your own merchant account, then it is a dedicated account – yours alone. To determine your eligibility, banks will require a full review of your business and, as a small business owner, you will also need to provide personal information, according to Nell Gable of PaySimple, a provider of payment management solutions. PaySimple also describes the The main questions to ask yourself when opening a merchant account.

While creating a dedicated merchant account can be time consuming and require a thorough assessment of your business, third-party processing services can be great for businesses that process relatively low transaction volumes because they can be quick and easy. to be configured according to Maverick merchant, a review and assessment site for small businesses.

These types of merchant accounts are aggregate accounts, which means your money is pooled with that of other companies. Merchant Maverick warns that due to minimal business analysis prior to your approval for service with third party processors, these vendors tend to rate your business more critically and may suspend your account or terminate your service without warning. Despite this, the review site explains that many small businesses use third-party vendors for the following benefits:

  • Predictable and flat rate pricing

  • Monthly agreements

  • Little or no monthly or annual fees

  • No monthly minimum to qualify

When Nikhil Roychowdhury, founder and owner of The Simple Leaf Tea online store, set up his online payment system several years ago, he searched for months for a payment site with a remuneration structure suited to its needs. He expected sales to increase, but wanted to make room for them to explode. He went with a company called Authorize.net, but refused to accept American Express due to the higher fees involved.

“Before living with them, it was pretty straightforward to set up,” Roychowdhury said. “And you know it works almost immediately, because the funds arrive in your account within 48 or 72 hours.”

Basically, you want your fulfillment service to be reliable (customers will flee if the process isn’t consistent), versatile (it should allow you to accept all forms of payment from anywhere, anytime), and secured. Be prepared to pay – and negotiate – gateway fees, statement fees, and a percentage fee per transaction.

Out of hundreds of services to choose from – and keep in mind that most use a parent gateway – here are a few payment gateway options, with rough costs (although some can be flexible and negotiable).

According to its site, created in 1996, Authorize.net is now used by more than 430,000 merchants and processes more than $ 149 billion in payments each year. It is one of the most important services, although it is sold primarily through its third party resale partners. It allows merchants to link or host their own secure payment form. It offers online shopping cart tools and a developer directory to get you started and can handle recurring billing.

Cost: If you have a merchant account, there is no setup fee and the gateway access fee is $ 10 per month. The transaction fee is also $ 0.10. According to the website, there is no monthly fee if you use Authorize.net to set up your merchant account through a third-party processor, but the transaction fee is then 2.9% plus $ 0.30 per transaction.

What Else You Need to Know: Many other payment gateways just use Authorize.net as their portal – so before you add another middleman to the process, check all the steps involved. Additionally, due to its large user base and transaction load, it suffered at least two major outages, in September 2004 and July 2009.

Bandaged is a merchant service provider with the payment gateway integrated into its payment platform. This company describes their platform as being fully integrated, holistic, and developer-oriented. They offer account management, migration assistance, dedicated support, and volume discounts.

Cost: This is a pay-as-you-go plan with a 2.9% fee plus $ 0.30 per successful card debit. There are no setup fees or monthly fees.

PayPal payment flow link is a service from PayPal that can be a cost effective option for small businesses. It is PCI compliant and works with most merchant accounts, processors, and shopping carts. It has up to 44% higher online payment conversion with PayPal according to the website. Optional features include recurring billing, buyer authentication, and fraud protection.

Cost: No monthly fees and $ 0.10 per transaction.

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Managing Credit Card Processing Online: One Final Thought

Online merchants may also want to be flexible with the payment methods they accept on their sites by including Pay Pal and Google pay. Google Pay was launched in early 2018 to combine all of Google’s previous forms of payment.

See all of our selections of the best credit card processors.

Dig Deeper: Tools for Building an Online Store

This article was updated on October 23, 2018.

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David A. Albanese

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