If you run a traditional brick-and-mortar business, the online world can seem a little daunting. And yet the simple step of accepting online payments could significantly increase your sales volume. And you wouldn’t even need more staff. (Well, actually, you might need more staff to keep up with your increased business size–but not to accept online payments).
You don’t necessarily need an online store to accept online payments though. Even a physical store can have customers enter their check information online, phone in their credit card details, or pay with a mobile app. And, of course, if you do have an online store, then electronic payments are your primary payment mode. And if your business operates both online and off, it may be prudent to have all your customers’ payments on the same platform. But how do you get started?
Evaluate your business
Look at your past records and see what payment options your customers prefer. This includes what they actually used, and what they asked about. Now do a quick online search to see what other payment models are popular at the moment. Your result will include cash and credit cards, of course, but you may also see strange terms like ACH (bank to bank transfer) and eCheck (just like a regular check, but no paper).
If you already accept card payments, then you already have a merchant account. Talk to your payment processor (the company that liaises between your ‘card machine’ and your bank.) Consider asking them if they process card-not-present transactions, and whether they accept ACH and/or eChecks. You can also find out if their company has a mobile phone app.
If they don’t offer the services you are looking for, you can shop around for a merchant processor that does. Make a shortlist of payment processors with all the relevant criteria, then whittle that list down by looking at other factors. How do they deal with chargeback issues? What’s their billing system like? How easy is it to open an account? What are their policies regarding your financial history? Do they charge extra for the necessary hardware or software?
Depending on what kind of business you run, you may also want to ask about whether the electronic credit card processing company will work with your business category, or business size. Finally, you can find out if they’re willing and/or able to integrate with your current system. You probably want something that works seamlessly, and if not, they should at least make it easier (and more affordable) to move from your current system to theirs.
For more information on accepting all forms of electronic payments with a merchant account, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.