Internet Merchant Accounts: Process Payments

Operating a business online is a lot different from operating a retail establishment, where transactions are made in person by the buyer. In an online environment, processing payments requires a specific solution that can make buying simple, convenient, and easy to carry out when cash is not an option. The answer to processing Internet transactions with ease is simple: open a merchant account.A merchant account will allow your business to accept credit cards – debit cards and even gift cards, too, if you like – for any transaction made through your online store. In addition, a merchant account can offer additional levels of protection against fraud, a risk that is increased in online business, where transactions are performed in a more or less anonymous environment.Because your merchant account will be so essential to the success of your online business, it’s important that you take the time to consider different merchant account providers, there fees, and the services they offer, before you make a final selection.Here are a few things to consider when you’re considering establishing a merchant account for your business:

General experience. How long has the internet merchant account provider been in business? As a business owner, you know it isn’t necessarily true that the newest businesses are the most suspect. But in the world of merchant account providers, especially as more and more businesses have begun accepting credit cards in recent years, the number of less-than-honest account providers has significantly increased. While that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider newer account providers, you should be more critical of their claims and offers.

Specific experience. Some merchant account providers may have substantially more experience dealing with specific types of businesses, and less experience with others. Make sure the account provider you select has ample experience dealing with businesses that are similar to yours, as well as with Internet merchant accounts. These accounts can often identify the best rates and deals for your business type. And make sure the account provider has experience dealing successfully with fraud. If your business is growing, consider account providers who are able to meet your current business needs, as well as your future needs.

Internet Merchant Accounts: Process Payments

Costs. Different account providers will have different fees and costs associated with the management and maintenance of the account, as well as specific penalty fees, so be sure to ask for a complete list of fees when comparing accounts. Expect most accounts to charge daily and monthly fees, as well as fees based on individual transactions. Thanks to increased competition among account providers, many fees have been reduced, and some have been entirely eliminated. You should also know that Internet merchant accounts generally have higher fees than other types of accounts, like retail merchant accounts, because they are associated with a higher risk of fraud. Why? Because transactions are conducted anonymously, rather than face to face, as in a retail establishment.

Card acceptance. Some accounts allow you to accept only one card, and some allow you to accept a number of cards. In order to attract the largest customer base, it’s usually best to consider accounts that allow you to accept the major credit cards, including MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover.

Customer service. Check with the Better Business Bureau for any existing complaints against the companies you are considering, and also visit online forums – there are a lot of them – devoted to the businesses who use merchant accounts.

Technical service. Be sure your account provider has the experience and background to perform required and spur-of-the-moment technical maintenance tasks necessary to keep your account up and running. Even a seemingly minor technical issue can prevent you from making sales and damage your reputation as an online retailer. Choose an account provider who can respond quickly and effectively to technical problems.

Contract terms. Even at the opening of an account, it’s important to understand the process you’ll need to go through if you decide to eventually terminate your relationship. For more information contact us.