Accepting credit card orders online is a convenient way to do business, especially for the consumer. There are online businesses that do not use credit card payments, but rather invoice and accept either cashiers check or money orders. However, in most cases this billing process results in a loss of more than half of a site’s potential customers.
The reasons many businesses do not like to accept credit cards are many and include financial issues such as transaction fees, discount rates, setup, statement and application fees as well as a minimum monthly fee. Combined this can take a significant bite out of your potential profit.
If you are developing an ecommerce website you may discover some sites for ecommerce development that offer a Merchant Account at no cost. Others may charge as much as $500 for this type of account. What a Merchant Account does is allow those credit card orders to be processed.
The Merchant Account is also necessary to the implementation of many online shopping carts. The two often work together.
One of the most compelling reasons to pursue a Merchant Account is to expand the potential growth of your ecommerce website. With a credit card sale the consumer has a level of assurance that they will either receive their product or they are not held liable for the purchase by the credit card company (in many instances). However, with an invoice/pre-payment plan the consumer may be wary of providing cash for something they haven’t received. This is especially true when the customer is new.
In essence, an invoicing system might work for existing customers, but in order to grow you may need to consider obtaining a Merchant Account for ecommerce and then expanding your marketing plan to increase the demand for your product. In turn, growing demand may more than offset the fees associated with credit card transactions.
Some small businesses might make use of a PayPal account in lieu of a Merchant Account in order to send and receive online payments. Fees are required in this arrangement as well and some consumers may not like establishing their own PayPal account just to make a payment, but this option may be more palatable for some online business startups or small businesses that operate a niche corporation.
The knowledge of available tools provides a certain empowerment. Online searches can lead you to a variety of Merchant Account providers, but knowing the options may help you manage your company goals and objectives. Ecommerce is a big step and the more you know about available options the easier it becomes to define the solution.