Merchant Accounts for eCommerce Websites
A merchant account is a special account that allows your business to accept credit cards as payment in person, over the telephone, by mail order, or over the internet. You must have a merchant account if you want to be able to accept credit cards from your customers. Keep in mind however, that even if you have a current merchant account for your physical store, that is a different type of merchant account than a merchant account used for eCommerce, and you may need a separate eCommerce merchant account as well as payment gateway for your website.
A payment gateway links your web site to the credit card processing companies and your merchant account. When your customer enters his or her credit card number on your web site, the payment gateway obtains authorization for the charge and later handles the transfer of funds into your merchant account.
There are many different options for accepting credit cards online. The most basic method is using PayPal for processing credit card payments online. However, if you have a large volume of sales, you may want to consider a full-fledged merchant account, such as those offered through Authorize.net. Please keep in mind that if you use Square for processing credit cards, Square offers NO eCommerce merchant account functions.
Selecting a merchant account provider can also be fraught with hidden fees. Some providers put heavy restrictions or requirements on your website that are virtually unattainable and fine you for non-compliance. Additionally, most banks charge enormous setup and cancellation fees, long contracts and many hidden charges.
Many merchant account providers also use systems that will not work with stand alone, independent shopping cart programs. They want to force you to use their shopping cart, which have severe limitations on configuration and design.
Before you open a merchant account, talk to me and I'll walk you through the minefield.
While I do not directly offer merchant accounts, I have worked with CSA Business Solutions, a merchant account service provider, for many years and do not hesitate to recommend their services. They provide Authorize.net merchant accounts that have NO APPLICATION, SETUP OR CANCELLATION FEES. If you were to go directly through Authorize.net or most banks there would be many of these fees you would have to pay and be tied to a long contract.
Their processing fees are extremely competitive and they also provide credit card swipe machines, so your merchant account can work for both online and onsite purchases.
If you would like to find out more about the services offered by CSA Business Solutions visit their website at www.csabusinesssolutions.com or call David Brewer at CSA at 866-400-0272.
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