How to accept credit cards online in 3 steps
If you want to keep up in today’s always-plugged-in marketplace, you need to accept credit cards online for your goods and services. Getting started can seem like a daunting task, but here we’ve broken it down into three steps.
Step 1: Choose the right method of accepting payments for your business
There are two main methods of accepting credit card payments online that you should consider:
- Using your own merchant account. If you choose this option, you’ll need a bank that will allow you to open a merchant account with them. Requirements for doing so vary widely, so check with your local banks for more details and to see if your business qualifies.
- Running through a third-party processor. With this option, you’ll run your transactions through a third-party company that accepts payments on your behalf for various fees and percentages. You may have heard the term “payment gateway”—that’s what these third-party arrangements use to process credit card payments.
As you may have guessed, there are pros and cons to each of the methods above. For example, the upfront costs of opening your own merchant account is typically higher than if you go with a third-party processor. In fact, some third-party companies even waive the setup fee so you can begin accepting credit cards online for no money out of your pocket. However, the per-transaction fee you’ll pay a third-party processor is going to be higher than if you use your own merchant account.
Going with a third-party processor is convenient when you’re just getting started in selling online. The processor handles payments acceptance and security, and you’re freed up to concentrate on your products, services, customers and web presence.
Step 2: Partner with the perfect payments processor for your needs
The next step is to choose your payments processor. Aim to select a processor that has experience with both eCommerce and in your specific industry. Choose a processor that:
Keeps data security their top priority
Offers competitive rates and a fee structure you can understand
- Has comprehensive customer support to help keep your online sales running seamlessly, day and night
Step 3: Attract new customers now that you accept credit cards—and get paid!
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to accept credit cards online, you’ll need to add an order form and/or shopping cart to your website that’s easy for your customers to use. Shopping carts will vary from vendor to vendor, but most will provide you with premade forms that you can customize for your product or service offerings. You’ll also need to let customers know you now accept major credit cards. Spread the word at your brick-and-mortar locations (if you have them), via your email newsletters and correspondence and on your social media pages.
Accepting credit card payments is a big step in expanding your customer base and growing your revenue. Take the time to research your options and use the above steps at a starting point to entering the exciting world of ecommerce.