This is a guest post by Kate Webster of ResourceNation.com
So you’ve finally built your website and have listed each product with pictures and descriptions- you’re ready to start raking in the dough! But wait- in a standard bricks and mortar store you collect payments with a traditional point of sale system, but how are you going to do so online? That is the goal, right?
Not to worry, finding a third party gateway provider doesn’t have to be a headache, and can be relatively inexpensive when your profits start to skyrocket. To begin processing credit cards for your online business, you’ll want to make a few important considerations.
Finding a Gateway Service Provider
There are a lot of gateway service or payment providers to choose from out there, so it’s important to find one that you can trust with your business transactions. You also want to be sure that their service is reliable and easy to use so that your customers feel comfortable entering their card information.
- Be sure the company meets Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and features Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to protect your transactions. If information isn’t protected, it could potentially ruin your online business.
- Look for one with full eCommerce integration that includes shopping carts, email receipts, and other payment essentials.
- Some companies offer report generation, which will let you track your sales and trends, and allow you to analyze the strengths and shortcomings of your site.
- It’s essential that they have a reliable customer support line. If you can’t reach them for support at any time, you could potentially lose sales.
What You Should Expect to Pay
Gateway providers make credit card processing easy for your business, but their services come with a price. The bigger name companies are usually more expensive, but are reliable and guarantee security.
- A set-up fee of $100-200 is sometimes required to integrate the payment system to your site
- A gateway fee and other fees range from $20-40 per month
- A percentage fee per transaction is then charged each time a payment is made. These percentage fees differ between companies but usually amount to about $0.20
- Most agreements are for at least 3 years and have large early-termination fees, so be sure to read the fine print of the agreement.
Be sure to get around half a dozen quotes from different companies before settling on one. Testing out their technical and customer support lines for efficiency could help you avoid a headache if they’re difficult to contact.
PayPal and Google Checkout
Some third party payment merchants handle the credit card processing through a separate site, such as PayPal and the new Google Checkout. Though these often have higher transaction fees (about $0.30), they are usually the only fees they charge and are significantly easier to set up.
- To get a PayPal button on your site, sign up for an account and go to Merchant Services on their website. Then after going through each of the options, copy and paste HTML code they provide you with into your website using your web editor.
- Though these third party sites are easier to use, they also limit your possible customer base to those who have existing PayPal or Google Checkout accounts. Many people do these days, but it’s important to take into account all of the potential customers you could be preventing from buying your product.
Setting up a credit card processing system on your website is the best way to make your product available to as large a customer pool as possible. It’s important to find a gateway provider that will keep your customer’s information safe, and allow you to take online orders without overcharging you with monthly fees.