If this is your first time running a direct-to-customer business, you may be unclear about credit cards. When you’re the customer – at the grocery store or your favorite online shopping spot – it’s easy. You just swipe your card or click “Pay Now” on the website’s the check-out page. You might never have considered the business end of things. How do customers pay you? Where do you even buy those swiper things from – a bank?
Actually, you go to the same service you use for accepting credit cards in the first place. You open a merchant account, which allows customers to buy items from your online store and pay using their credit cards. They can use the same merchant account to pay for things in a physical store, or at their home or office after receiving a delivery.
Accepting credit cards in person
There are three main options for physically accepting credit cards, and some payment processors offer them all for free. At a shop with cashiers or self-checkout, you can have a counter with a barcode scanner and a device linked to the cash register where customers can swipe their cards. At food trucks, craft fairs, door-to-door services, or other mobile or pop-up businesses, customers can slip their card into a portable card reader. Ask your payment processor if they provide this hardware if it is something that interests you. It’s a free accessory from some merchant account providers.
Another option is using a payment app on a mobile phone. Your payment processor might offer a free app, so be sure to ask.
Accepting credit cards online
When your customers are shopping online, they’ll fill their carts and proceed to checkout where they can opt to pay by credit card. On your end, your own merchant account will do the processing. It will verify the customer, encrypt their details, and transfer the money from their bank to yours.
No matter how you accept credit cards, be sure to check that your billing names match, to avoid cancellations that may occur if your customer does not recognize and remember your company’s name when they see it on their credit card statement at the end of their billing cycle. It might not be something you’ve ever considered, but you may have opened your business account in the name of your corporation, while your online store goes by a different name, so it’s important to use a merchant account provider that will allow you to open your account in the name of your store. Of course, it’s especially important to use a merchant account provider that allows you to use their own name and not their name when the customer gets their statement! If the buyer sees an unfamiliar or generic name on their card statement, they may reverse the transaction.
For more information on accepting credit cards anywhere, anytime, with the right POS, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.