Accept Credit Cards Online Without a Merchant Account
There are two major ways to accept credit cards on your website. The first and most expensive is to have your own merchant account. Not only is this option expensive, it also requires extensive credit checks, lots of paperwork, and usually takes days or weeks before you get approved. Fortunately, there is an alternative.
Third party payment processors who will accept credit card payments on your behalf exist in growing numbers. These third party processors will take a percentage of your sale for their troubles, then pass on the rest to you. Rates vary greatly from one payment provider to another so doing your homework is important in order to get the right fit for you. Some payment providers will accept all kinds of goods and services while others specialize in only digital products, or hard goods, or services.
General Purpose Payment Providers include:
Paypal - Owned by Ebay, Paypal offers one of the lowest rates of any third party payment processor. At the time of this writing, their standard rates were 2.9% plus $0.30 US per transaction. Paypal offers excellent support and great documentation to get you up and running in no time at all. www.paypal.com
2checkout.com - Has a $49 US one time setup fee. Their rates at the time of this writing were $0.45 US plus 5.5% transaction fee. Discount rates are middle of the pack, service is very good and through them, you can accept most major credit cards. www.2checkout.com
Digital Information Payment Providers include:
Clickbank - You pay a one time $49.95 US activation fee. They then pay you the retail price of your product minus $1 and a 7.5% fee. Clickbank also has an easy to use affiliate program so that you can make money when others sell your product. www.clickbank.com
Digibuy - An electronic commerce solution for publishers of software, shareware, electronic art, information, and data. They charge a rate of 13.9% per transaction with a $3 US minimum order. They provide you with many features including brandable order forms, invoicing and test orders. www.digibuy.com
All but Clickbank give you the ability to have brandable shopping carts. This allows you to customize your order forms so that the customer doesn't feel like they are leaving your site thereby building trust. All of the third party payment processors above provide you with help to get started.
Accepting credit cards online doesn't have to cost you a lot of money. Most times it doesn't even have to include a credit check. Most of these services will even make regular deposits directly into your bank account for ultimate convenience.
When you need to accept credit cards quickly and inexpensively, one of the payment providers mentioned above just might fit the bill.
This article was written by Joe Duchesne, president of http://www.yowling.com/, a web hosting b2b company that offers a free ecommerce shopping cart. Copyright 2004 Yowling. Reprint Freely as long as you provide a clickable link back to my website from this resource box.
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