Opening an online store, or just ready to monetize your existing website? Maybe you have a brick and mortar shop and you’d like to start selling some of your products online as well. Sure you can accept PayPal on your website and even take payments through ACH, but there are a lot of studies that have proved that people simply spend more money when using a credit card. When making a purchase with the option to use a credit card they are not limited to the cash they have on hand at the moment, and tend to make bigger purchases. In fact, it has been found that accepting credit cards can increase sales anywhere from 50% to 300%. Not to mention consumers simply feel more secure purchasing with a credit card.  In this article we’re going to talk about how to get set up the right way to accept credit cards for your online, or eCommerce website.

Get set up to accept credit cards online the right way.

The first thing you need to do is apply for a merchant account. Even before you have your website, or eCommerce platform, completely ready to go. This is a step that most merchants do completely backwards. They tend to get so wrapped up in setting up the various aspects of a new business they completely forget that being able to take payments in exchange for their goods is one of the most integral parts of a business.Take care of this in advance and know that when you’re ready to make sales nothing can hold you back. There can be speed bumps you hit when getting approved for a merchant account. They may ask for additional documents that were not submitted with the original app.  They will also review your website to make sure you have clearly listed things like customer service line, return policy, shipping policy, as well as make sure your website matches what you told them on your app that you were selling, and they can ask you to fix things if they are not right. The last thing you need is to be itching to get turn the switch on and let the sales come in and then be held up. Merchants are always calling on Tuesday and saying I need to be up and running by Friday. And when you can’t get it done they are not very happy. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead.

The processor will then set you up with a secure gateway. For online sales a secure gateway works much in the same way a POS system does for the brick and mortar location. You have to have a way for the site to securely transmit the transaction information to the acquiring banks and back. The secure payment gateway collects your customer’s sensitive credit card data and encrypts it before sending the transaction to the bank protecting your customer’s sensitive information throughout the transaction. There are a number of secure gateways available for purchase online, however, most merchants can provide you with one. Most of the time we have found that our gateway we offer our clients have more features than the ones you can purchase on your own and a ta much lower cost, sometimes even free.

The next thing you will need is to purchase a shopping cart. You can think of the shopping cart as the middleman between the product on the site and sending the payment through the secure gateway. The shopping cart is necessary to bridge the gap between shopping on the website and transferring a specific product for purchase so that a payment can be made for that product. A properly constructed shopping cart can cost anywhere from $100-$500, depending on the needs of your business model.

When thinking about why you’d want to starting to take sales online and accept credit cards online the benefits are many.

Obviously, if you are an eCommerce site you are only selling online and you pretty much have to accept credit cards, and besides, as we talked about above accepting credit cards in addition to other forms of payments can increase sales significantly. But what if you are a brick and mortar store with a business website that shows people what you do or what products you have? What would be the benefits of starting to actually sell those products online? That’s where people are, online. It’s no secret that these days a lot of people like to shop from the comfort of their own home. Or work. There’s a huge portion of society these days that regularly work on a computer and online . And in the interest of productivity, hopping to a website and getting that baby shower gift they need by next week ordered and on the way is just simply the easiest thing one can do to get it done.

This is a perfect way for a store merchant to step out and increase sales volume.

But you don’t have to limit it to your regular store merchandise. Think outside the box and come up with imaginative ways you can increase sales and grow brand recognition. 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. And something you may not know, accepting credit cards online is a highly efficient way to get higher rankings on search engines and widen the possibilities for your business.

Another thing to consider is that you may want to offer your customers the ability to checkout with alternative forms of payments, such as PayPal, in addition to credit cards. This is mostly a convenience for your customer’s as some people just feel better about completing a transaction using something like PayPal.

So now let’s cover what not to do when deciding to accept credit cards online.

Brick and mortar merchants looking to add online website sales for increased income will need to get a new merchant account. One might think you can just integrate your online store with your POS system and use your existing retail merchant account to process those online sales, but do not do this. First of all, shortly after the transactions start to come through the provider will see these eCommerce transactions and flag the account sending it to risk analysis for fraud prevention. They will contact the merchant and make them get a new account but they can also put a hold on your account, stopping the ability to complete any transactions as well as putting a hold on your funds. Its is definitely not a good idea to try to process transactions using your standard store merchant account. But mostly, the reason you need a separate account for each is because the cost of accepting cards in store is lower than that of online transactions. You will need to qualify for a completely different rate structure.

Don’t choose options that leave you shackled in the future. For instance, some shopping cart providers will require you to use what they call an all in one system that requires you to only use their merchant account provider when you purchase their secure gateway. Avoid being talked into a situation that leaves you with no choices for the future.  You never know what the future of business might bring and purchasing a shopping cart that will only integrate with one Merchant Services Provider means you will not be in a position to negotiate better rates or change processors in the future.

Bankcard Brokers is dedicated to staying in front of the curve when it comes to security concerns and rapidly changing technology.  We always have one eye on the future in payments to ensure that we exceed the changing needs of our clients. Recurring Billing, Electronic Invoicing, Suspicious Transaction Screening, and Tokenized Customer Vaults are just a few of the features we have jam packed into our secure gateway for your convenience.

We are ready to seamlessly integrate with a majority of the industries’ leading shopping cart providers. This allows us to provide all of your business needs while delivering lightning fast transaction speeds, superior reporting capabilities, and 100% PCI-DSS compliant security.

Our ETA Certified Payments Professionals are committed to providing the most competitive rates possible as well as our world class service.

Call Bankcard Brokers today and experience the difference!