Any business worth its salt has got an online storefront; in fact, more and more businesses are online only. There are nearly endless ways to build your Web storefront, from hand-coding it yourself, to using the templates offered by a service like GoDaddy, to just paying a consultant to set it up for you. The tricky bit (as always) is handling the money. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, your Web business probably won't have the luxury of operating on a cash-only business (and, in any case, few real-world shops of any real size do so, either). That means that you need to accept credit cards online, and that's a non-trivial task. Sure, you could just go with whatever your hosting service recommends, but chances are good that that's the best service for them. It may not be the best for you. Our guide to choosing a credit card-processing service can help you make an informed decision about how to handle one of the most important aspects of any businessthe money.
Likely the first criteria on any business' list is finding the best price for online credit card processing. There are several costs you need to consider here. First there is often a startup cost that will cover setting up the merchant account and getting the processing engine
configured on your Web site or your physical location. Then there are several ways providers can charge for their services, including a variable per-transaction charge, depending on a minimum/maximum number of monthly transactions, a flat per-transaction fee regardless of the number of transactions processed, or a month-to-month payment plan without any annual or minimum commitments. Processing services also differ in the percentage charged for every transaction depending on which payment gateway is being used, so make sure you understand those charges before committing to any service.
Debit Card and PayPal Processing
More people are switching from using traditional, usually high-interest credit cards to Visa or Mastercard-compatible debit cards, because it tends to help keep their debt levels under control. However, managing a debit card transaction is different from managing a regular credit card charge, so your service needs to specifically support debit cards. PayPal, too, is a rising star for online purchases. Similar to a debit card, PayPal lets consumers spend against a more realistic limit and also provides high levels of security. Again, processing a PayPal transaction is entirely different than processing a credit card charge, so make sure your service provides this functionality.
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