Five Internet Merchant Account Tips for the First Time Business Owner
Operating a business online is a great
way to earn extra income, or to earn a living without the need for a
“regular” job. But knowing how to effectively compete with more
established businesses can spell the difference between being a success
and being a failure.
One of the keys to running a competitive,
profitable business online today is to accept credit cards as a form of
payment from your customers. Consumer spending studies show that more
than 90 percent of online shoppers use credit cards to make their
If you are not accepting credit cards at
your online store, you are cutting yourself out of some serious profits –
and hindering the growth of your customer base. Thanks to the wide
availability of low-cost, easy-to-use merchant accounts, there is no
reason not to open an internet merchant account for your online business.
As online businesses have grown over the
past decade, the number of businesses applying for accounts has
increased exponentially. The following tips will help you maintain an
edge over your competitors when you decide it’s time to begin accepting
credit cards for your online business.
Choose the account that’s right for you and your business needs.
Today’s merchant accounts offer a broad
range of options, and many providers offer services that allow you to
sell your goods and services online as well as in retail establishments
or on the road at trade shows and other events.
Using laptops and cell phones or other
mobile devices as their terminals, these mobile accounts can take your
business to new limits, and are an essential tool if you plan to attend
trade shows to promote your business.
Even if you intend only to sell online
today, consider carefully if your eventual business model may include
plans to expand into other sales venues. If future expansion is a
possibility, consider choosing an account that offers all of these
account options to allow for the growth of your business. Many merchant
account providers also offer “package” deals, providing multiple types
of accounts at a discount.
Choose the Internet model that’s right for you.
Internet merchant accounts are offered in
two basic types: real-time processing and delayed processing. In a
real-time account, credit card transactions are processed automatically
as they are received, and require no intervention by the business owner.
These accounts use a secondary service
called a gateway provider which aids in processing and provides
additional security against fraud and chargebacks. These accounts cost
more than delayed processing accounts, but are ideal from the business
owner’s standpoint, since no interaction is involved in accepting and
As a result, daily sales are virtually
unlimited. In a delayed processing system, the customer enters his or
her information into your web store shopping cart, but instead of
transmitting that information immediately to the card issuer, the data
is store until later in the day, when it is retrieved by the business
owner or other staff member.
Then, the information is re-entered into a
computer or other terminal and sent to the card issuer for processing.
These accounts are less expensive than real-time accounts, but are
limited by the number of account entries that can be made each day by
the business representative. For this reason, they are a good option
only for businesses expecting a low number of daily sales.
Choose an account provider with experience in Internet business accounts.
It’s also advantageous to choose an
account provider that has experience dealing in your type of business.
Your merchant account provider will become a vital partner in the
success of your business, so do your homework and find an account
provider that has a proven track record and experience in handling
businesses that are similar to yours. These account providers will be
better equipped to handle questions, concerns, or errors that can keep
you from operating at peak performance.
Just do it!
It may be an overused phrase, thanks to
its use in shoe advertising, but there is truly no better time than
today to apply for a merchant account for your online business. As
noted, many fees are lower or have been eliminated, and the application
process is simpler than ever. By following these tips and with a little
time and effort to find the account that’s right for you, your business
can be accepting credit cards in no time.