In some ways, running a shop is easy. You stock it and take money from customers. They might give you cash, checks, or credit cards, and you might have a cashier or a self-checkout counter. Credit cards seem like the easiest option – one swipe and you’re done! In this sense, online stores may seem a little more daunting … how will you get paid?
Sending a check in the mail or initiating a bank transfer is a lot to ask of a customer. In addition to being inconvenient, it requires them to trust your company, even if they were not previously familiar with it.
If you want to have a reasonable shot at success, then a better option is for your customers to use their credit cards to order from your website or online store. For this to happen, you need to open a merchant account with a merchant account provider.
Getting started with your merchant account
Once you open your merchant account, the next step is to integrate it with your online store. Unless you have specialized training, it’s useful to work with a merchant account provider that will give you free customer service by telephone to assist you with this, and who will also be available 24/7/365, to help you with any need that might arise in the future.
A good merchant account provider can also help you with securing your online store with an SSL certificate. This changes your “http” to “https.” and adds a security icon next to your URL on your customers’ browser windows. The right payment provider can also provide you with a virtual shopping cart and install a payment system right on your virtual storefront. You can decide to let customers make payments on your site or be redirected to your the payment processor’s site if you prefer.
Some online businesses also have a physical location, and some customers may want to pay in person using a credit card. If this is an issue for your business, then make sure to use a merchant account provider that can also give you all the equipment you need to facilitate in-person payments. These can include an electronic card reader and/or a mobile app.
Similarly, certain merchant processors will enable you to accept ACH, e-checks, and other bank-to-bank payments, which helps you reach consumers who may prefer to pay using one of these methods.
For more information on how your business can accept credit card payments online, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.