How to Accept Credit Cards Online
Being able to accept credit cards in this day and age must is essential for any business to survive and to ensure that they are maximizing their revenue. As a matter of fact studies have shown that accepting credit cards can increase sales from 50% to 300% for a multitude of reasons from not limiting consumers to the cash they have on hand to creating more impulse purchases. In today’s mobile world where over half of the online searches and purchases are made on a mobile device having the capability to accept credit cards online is absolutely essential. Additionally more and more people are shopping online every day for gifts, gadgets, and even groceries to save time and money so having an online ecommerce site is almost essential for many businesses to survive and you can't sell something online with being able to accept credit cards.
So how do you enable your website to accept credit cards?
As a business owner you have a few choices on how you would like to accept credit cards online from services like Google CheckOut and PayPal, however, if you would like the maximum amount of flexibility and functionality along with the lowest cost you will need to apply for a merchant services account. Even if you have a brick and mortar business with a merchant service account already but would like to increase sales by expanding to the internet you should get a separate merchant account for your online business since it will be set up on a different rate structure than your retail account. Once your merchant services account is ready you will only need two items to start accepting credit cards online.
First you will need an online shopping cart
The first thing you will need to able to accept credit cards on line is a “shopping cart” or a place on your website where the goods or services that you sell are placed for checkout with price attached. There is a number of shopping cart providers/developers on the market which are very affordable and easy to integrate with your e-commerce site. Depending on your business' needs you can expect to pay $100-$500 for a feature rich online shopping cart. The only advice the here is to avoid being sucked into an all in one solution. For example a shopping cart that will only integrate with one merchant services credit card processor because you will not be in a position to negotiate better rates or change processors in the future. It is more beneficial and less expensive in the long run to purchase a flexible or stand alone shopping cart.
Next you will need a secure payment gateway
To accept credit cards online you must have what is called a secure payment gateway. Many Merchant Services providers will either provide this feature for free or at a minimal cost. A secure payment gateway is similar to a point of sale terminal like you might use in a physical brick and mortar retail location. A Secure Payment Gateway protects your customer’s sensitive credit card information by encrypting the sensitive data like the credit card number. This ensures that transaction is completed securely between the customer and the e-commerce site as well as between merchant and the credit card processor. Many merchant services providers can provide you their own secure payment gateway, however the are a number available on the market like AuthorizeNet who is by far the largest and most recognizable.
Now you have a secure gateway and shopping cart
Now that you have your online shopping cart, secure payment gateway, and merchant services account it is a simple process to link the three together so that your business can accept credit card online simply and securely! Consumers can now purchase goods and services from your site and the funds will automatically be deposited into your bank account. It is a good idea to also offer your customers the option of using PayPal in addition to traditional credit card payments. This will offer your customers the maximum number of payment methods to make spending their money easy. Please note, however, that PayPal is consumer friendly and not as merchant friendly. For more on PayPal check our blog post on the subject.
What are the benefits of accepting Credit cards on your E-Commerce website?
Allowing your business to accept credit cards online can be a great inexpensive way to expand your sales volume. Even if you do not want to deal with inventorying and shipping products to sell online, having an e-commerce or m-commerce site can be a sales booster. You don’t necessarily have to sell all of your products online. Get creative and sell gift cards, use your website to move old inventory, sell coupons, run specials, or just sell logo wear for better name recognition. One thing is for sure online sales continue to expand and the majority of online sales are generated from consumers using the internet on a mobile device. Accepting credit cards on line is an efficient way to get better search rankings and expand the possibilities for your business.
If you would like more information on e-commerce or on how to accept credit cards online or specific needs for your business contact the Merchant Doctor. Or for the lowest rates and best service available simply apply now!