Credit cards are easy for customers. They swipe their card, sign their receipt, and hopefully repay their card in a timely manner. But for the business accepting payment by card, there’s more involved.
First, you need the tools to accept customer cards. These could be in the form of a point-of-sale (POS) physical terminal with a slot to swipe customers’ cards. You could also use a portable card reader with an electronic keypad for customers to enter their PIN. You could use a mobile app for phones and tablets. You can use web-based virtual terminal software that can work from any Internet enabled device. Or you can use internet payment gateway software to accept credit cards from a website.
Shopping tools for customers
This equipment typically comes from something called a payment processor or merchant processor. Some of these companies offer free application, while others have a fee just for reviewing your application. Once you open your merchant account, your payment processor should provide the hardware or software you need. Your payment processor may charge for these tools, or they may issue them for free. If you’re using portable card readers, the merchant processor will set them up to accept various card networks (Visa, Amex, MasterCard etc.)
If you have an online store, your payment processor can help you integrate your merchant account with your website. This could mean equipping your website with SSL or TLS certification, either for a fee or free, depending on who you use. You can have the check-out process completely contained within your site, or, if you prefer, you can have your customers redirected it to your payment processor’s site. Some merchant processors will supply a compatible shopping cart if you don’t have one.
Once everything is in place, your customers can start making their purchases. Depending upon how you take orders, they can swipe their card at your store, type their card details onto your website, or pick up the phone and call in their card details, as the case may be. On your website, their card details will be fed through a payment gateway. These are networks that link traditional banking systems and the internet. The entire process is encrypted.
For more information on processing fees for a merchant account, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.