By Eric Stauffer on October 23, 2011
In today’s digital world it is important to know how to accept credit cards on your website or blog.
More and more businesses and individuals are finding ways to sell products and services over the Internet. What started out as a handful of web-based retailers selling electronics at a discount in the 90’s has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry.
As more households continue to get online combined with the digital path many other parts of the world are on, it is important for websites of all sizes that wish to sell goods or services to have a method to accept credit cards from their customers.
Web-based credit card processing is not just for the Internet retailer or service provider. Site’s that wish to offer premium content are prime candidates for online payments. Many bloggers also setup small merchant accounts that allow their readers to do simple things like donate to the author or for a good cause.
The merchant services industry is a very competitive business with a lot of money at stake. This combination brings out many unethical businesses, which will stop at nothing to gather as much money from their clients as possible.
Because of this, it is important to understand how to accept credit cards on your website or blog. Organizations and individuals need to understand what their needs are and what they are getting into before signing a contract.
The Small Organization
For businesses doing a small number of transactions each month, a great solution is PayPal. They offer very competitive rates and an unheard of contract.
There is no annual commitment, and the basic plan only charges a company when there is an actual transaction. This solution is great for small businesses because monthly and annual fees can quickly eat away at any profits that are being made.
PayPal is also a great option for the individual or blogger. They offer a wide variety of implementation options for blogs and allow for donation buttons to be added. Many bloggers underestimate the impact of asking for donations, even though quite a few readers are willing to pass something along when they enjoy what they are receiving.
The integration options PayPal has for small businesses and individuals are extremely easy to use. Many of their features will integrate seamlessly into the most popular content management systems and connect automatically with a deposit account.
Funds deposited to the PayPal account are easily transferred to any connected bank account, business or individual. The transfer time is typically 2-3
Larger and Advanced Setups
For organizations in need of something more sophisticated or processing over $1000 a month should consider a full-featured merchant services account. These can be provided by numerous different firms, and come with a wide variety of options.
In order to accept credit cards online, a payment gateway must be used in conjunction with a merchant account. A payment gateway protects sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, as it is captured and transferred over the Internet. It acts as a point-of-sale terminal frequently found in a physical store.
One of the most trusted names in payment gateways is Authorize.net. They have been around since 1996 and have processed billions of transactions on behalf of online businesses and individuals.
While they are only a payment gateway and not a merchant services provider, they can assist in setting up both at the same time. Since they are a respected name, they only work with reputable processors and ensure that each customer is taken care of.
When signing up for a merchant services account, make sure to fully understand the contract before putting the pen to paper. This is extremely important because the payment processing industry is riddled with complaints regarding their contracts and hidden fees.
It is important to know how to accept credit cards on your website or blog so that you can effectively negotiate the contract.
It is negotiable. The rates being charged for each type of card along with the fees attached to the account usually have some room to move. It is advisable to never accept the original contract and attempt to lower anything with a rate or fee attached to it.
After the Contract is Signed
Once the agreement is signed and the processing begins to take place, it is vital to keep track of the rates and fees being charged on a monthly basis. Many contracts give the merchant account provider the ability to raise rates as they see fit so it is important to hold them accountable and question any change in the deal.
It is also recommended to try and negotiate any clause out of the agreement that gives the provider the power to adjust rates and fees during the contract term.
Eric Stauffer is a small business merchant services consultant that helps companies get the best rates with the most respected companies. His firm reviews and rates mobile providers such as 2Checkout and gives unbiased information about processors and how small businesses can accept credit cards .