If you already have a credit card merchant account and currently process credit cards manually, you can do so for Internet transactions as well. However, it is more convenient to get real time credit card processing. The most cost effective method is to get an Internet merchant account and a separate payment gateway service.
The payment gateway service validates the credit card information and sends it to the Internet merchant account provider to be processed. All payments would then be electronically deposited into your bank account. Make sure you carefully compare all of the fees for both of these services.
What About Using PayPal?
PayPal is maybe the easiest way to start accepting payments online. You can accept any major credit card and electronic checks. They have several different ways that you can accept payment.
- The Standard plan is free to set up and there is no credit check. Shoppers pay at PayPal's website. The do not need a PayPal account
- The Pro Payments plan. Shoppers stay on your website. There is a $30/month fee and a credit check required.
What About Using Google Checkout?
This is very similar to PayPal Standard Payments.
What's a Secure Server Certificate? Do I Need One?
You may have already noticed the little key or padlock in the lower right-hand corner of your browser when shopping on the Internet. This means that the web site is protected by SSL encryption. In other words, the information passed from the shopper's web browser to the web site's server cannot easily be read by an unwelcome third party. Ask your hosting provider about getting a security certificate for your e-commerce web site. GoDaddy and Comodo both offer inexpensive solutions.
Should I Offer Other Ordering & Payment Options? Is it Really Necessary?
A primary advantage of Internet sales is being able to send and receive orders and payments instantly. However, many still prefer to call in or mail credit card information. If you want to make the sale, be prepared to accommodate several methods of ordering and payment. Simpler methods shouldn't cost you much money (if any) and you won't risk alienating shoppers who may be timid about completing a sale online.