What You Should Know About Accepting Credit Cards for Your Business
Most businesses that have been around for any length of time already accepts credit cards. However, if you are just getting started, particularly with an online store, you may have questions on the best way to be paid for the product or service.
If you are selling a product or service on the Web, you know how important it is to secure payment. Selecting the right merchant services provider is an important part of your Internet Marketing plan.
The term “Merchant Services” is loosely used to describe the overall process of accepting credit cards. If you have a traditional “brick and mortar” business, you may already be approved to accept credit cards. However, many Internet businesses find it difficult to set up a merchant services account.
Banks and financial institutions that handle these transactions may be leery of Internet business. Potential fraud and the liability associated with an unknown business may make it difficult for some startup companies to get an account.
Use a Turn-Key Service Such As Pay Pal.
When using this type of service all the processing is handled on another secure site. Your customers clicks on a “pay now” button and the transaction is complete by the third party.
There are some advantages with this service in that you do not have to have a secure server for your website. You may find the fees are a bit higher, but if you have limited transactions a month, this may not be an issue.
Pay Pal (and some other sites) do not handle certain businesses. For example, Vap Shops that sell e-cigarettes can not secure a Pay Pal account.
Merchant Services Give You Control
With merchant services, a bank or service provider works directly with you to receive payments on your website.
You will need to have a secure server on your website. This provides a layer of security that protects the credit card numbers that are entered on your site. Check with you Internet hosting company for pricing and additional information.
When negotiating for a merchant services account, there are a number of things to take into consideration.
How soon can you get your money? This can vary from the next day to three or four days.
What rate will you pay? You will be charged a percentage of your transaction plus a transaction fee. You, obviously, want to pay as little as possible. This is usually around 3 percent of the sale. For high risk business, the merchant service provider may charge more.
Are there additional fees? You should expect to pay a per transaction fee, a monthly fee, charge back fee along with other fees. Beware, sometimes vendors will quote a lower percentage fee and than add on all kinds of processing fees, statement fees and other charges at the end of the month.
Understand all the fees before you sign.
What credit cards can you accept? Most merchant services accounts handle Visa and MasterCard. You usually have to make separate arrangements with American Express and Discover, although you can typically process them through your merchant service account.
Do you need a “gateway” or other service with your merchant account provider? Many merchant services providers handle the actual processing of your credit cards, but you have to have a third party provider to “send” the information to them. Gateway fees can also add up. These fees are typically monthly, and they usually run about $30 for a typical small business. This can usually be negotiated.
Be Aware Of Scams and Fraud
There is plenty of fraud in a person-to-person transaction at a retail store but the liability is even greater when you are accepting a credit card for online payment. Before you ship a product or provide a service, you need to know that you can be resposible if someone uses a stolen credit card.
At Bagwell Marketing, we consult businesses on a variety of marketing subjects, including accepting credit cards.