Best Ecommerce Options for Credit Card Processing

There are many benefits to running an ecommerce site; low overhead, ability to work from anywhere, and the world truly is your oyster when it comes to people you can sell to. That is not to say it is all peaches and cream. There are difficulties an ecommerce site must face such as increased competition due to reduced barriers to entry. But there is one disadvantage that almost all web-based businesses face, and many may not realize it is a hurdle. The reduced amount of options a business has for payment processing.

A traditional business has the ability to accept cash, checks, debit/credit cards, etc. where an ecommerce site is severely limited. Sure, your Vendio ecommerce store enables you to accept checks, but most customers shopping online are not willing to wait the extra 10-14 days for checks to clear.

Why is “credit card acceptance only” a disadvantage?

Besides the fact that not everyone has a credit card (this is becoming smaller everyday) the main disadvantage is the higher costs associated with credit card processing. To make matters worse, processing companies charge extra for cards that are manually typed in rather than physically swiped, which basically all online purchases fall under. That means the low quotes merchants find online from payment processors are not even attainable for the typical ecommerce business.

What are the best options for credit card processing?

Just because the traditional credit card processors charge higher rates for ecommerce sites doesn’t mean they are the only option. A number of businesses have come to rescue and allow for merchants and customers to transact on the web in an efficient, cost effective manner.

 

PayPal

One of the more well-known online payment methods, PayPal gained popularity in the early 2000’s when eBay was growing like crazy. People became tired of waiting around for checks in the mail, so PayPal started by allowing people to transfer money from their regular bank account to an online PayPal account. The user could simply “email” the other party and it would deposit the funds into their account.

PayPal has grown by leaps and bounds since the early days. Their new business model is a great solution for ecommerce sites large and small because not only do they allow individuals to transfer money from their bank account, but they also make it possible for someone to create an instant purchase using a credit card. The best part is that a merchant can use PayPal as a credit card processing solution for their site, and the customer does not need to sign up for an account. They can process the payment just as any other online gateway would.

Google Checkout

While not as big as PayPal, Google Checkout is another great solution for merchants looking to accept credit cards. One of the big advantages to Google Checkout is the name attached to it. Google has a lot of trust in the online world and people are comfortable with using their system with their credit and debit card.

Another very big advantage to Google Checkout over typical payment gateways is the simple fee structure. Rather than a complicated agreement that makes it difficult to understand, Google has a straight forward tiered structure based on monthly transaction volume:

  • Less than $3,000 per month: 2.9% of each transaction, plus $0.30.
  • $3,000 to $9,999.99 per month: 2.5% of each transaction, plus $0.30.
  • $10,000 to $99,999.99 per month: 2.2% of each transaction, plus $0.30.
  • More than $100,000 per month: 1.9% of each transaction, plus $0.30.

 

 

Authorize.net

Probably the most recognized payment gateway in the ecommerce world, Authorize.net is not actually a processor; instead it provides the ability for credit card payments to route from the point of sale (online) to the payment processor. Either way, they are the face of the transaction so it is important they leave a good impression with the customers.

As one of the biggest and most well-known payment gateways, Authorize.net offers ecommerce sites many different features to better help their business accept credit cards. They offer USB swipers, Buy now buttons, add to cart features, and of course can be fully integrated with a current shopping cart or provide a merchant with a new one.

Authorize.net is typically packaged with a payment processor and sold by a third party. Because of this, most of the complaints against Authorize.net stem from bad sales reps misinforming the business owner about the process or features involved. That is why it is important to deal with a reputable company if buying from a third party.

Overall, there are hundreds of ways to accept credit cards for ecommerce sites, and it is important to get all of the facts before signing a contract. While the merchant services industry is notorious for shady practices and unethical behavior, the above listed companies are very reputable and have stellar customer service records. Just remember that at the end of the day you are the client and they want your business. If something does not smell right, find someone else.

This guest post is by Eric Stauffer, a member of a watchdog group that monitors and reviews merchant services organizations such as Authorize.net and PayPal. They also educate businesses on the best way to save when it comes to credit card processing.

 

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