Southern Oregon Web Designer can help yo accept credit card payments in your online store.

Ecommerce: How to accept credit cards on your site

So you want accept credit card payments in your online store

Most online stores today accept payment via credit card. However many new Internet store owners are baffled by the choices and don't know how to get started.

Before your online store can open for business, you must set up at least one payment processing option. Before you go shopping for your payment processing solution, we recommend that you talk with your web developer who will be able to tell you what payment options will work with your planned website.

2 Methods of Processing Payments
  • Real time online credit card processing
    Customer submits the payment information and payment is processed right away. Advantage: Payment is processed right away. Disadvantage: Costs could be higher.

  • Collect credit card information and process by hand.
    Merchant collects the credit card info in a secure form then needs to submit it manually to the credit card processor. Advantage: Costs could be lower. Disadvantage: time spent processing orders is a real drag.

With either method, you will need a secure web space for customers to securely enter their payment information. Then you need a link to get the payment info either to you, if processing by hand or the credit card processing service which handles the actual credit card transaction.

We Recommend

Real-time online credit card processing. It is not difficult to set up and easy to use once it is set up.

2 Types of Online Credit Card Processing Options (Real-time)

All-in-one online payment service AKA 3rd Party Payment Processors:

Examples: PayPal Standard, 2CheckOut, Google Checkout.

Set up is easy and inexpensive. Typically, the only fees you'll pay are a small fee plus a percentage for each transaction your customers make and, in some cases, an initial set up fee. When a transaction has been processed you and your customer are each notified by e-mail.

Because these all-in-one services use their own accounts to process customer credit card data, you do not need to have a merchant account of your own.

The service also provides a secure interface for clients to enter their personal data so you do not need to purchase and host your own secure server certificate (SSL) .

You'll have a secure interface for yourself to view a record of all transactions on your account. You can arrange to have the proceeds of your transactions deposited into a bank account of your choice.

3rd party payment processors charge only a per transaction fee; no application fees and no monthly charges.

Advantages: Easy to set up; no credit check; no monthly fees; widely supported by shopping cart applications; no need to purchase SSL.

Disadvantages: Your customer has to leave your site to go to the payment processors page to complete check out. Cost per transaction can be higher.

We Recommend

The all-in-one payment service is often the best choice for businesses just starting out or those with low volume. It is the least expensive for both set up and month-to-month operating costs are much lower.

Merchant Account

A Merchant Account is an account established specifically to allows the retailer to accept payments from customers using credit cards.

The advantage over all-in-one payment services is that the per transaction fees are often substantially lower. Also, from a customer point of view, is that checkout is completed on your site without going to the payment site (PayPal, Google Checkout etc. ) to complete the checkout.

Many brick & mortar merchants already have a merchant account to process purchases for their retail store. If you already are using a merchant account for credit card processing off-line, you may be able to upgrade your current merchant account to include Internet transactions - ask your current service provider if you can get an Internet Merchant Account.

You may need to or want to shop for a separate Internet Merchant Account to find the best features and most cost effective solution for your particular needs. In addition to banks, there are many Internet Merchant Account brokers or resellers to choose from.

A Merchant account can have an application fee, a set-up fee and has a minimum monthly fee plus per transaction costs. It may take a month or more to set up your account. A merchant account may not be the most cost effective solution for you once you add up monthly fees and per transaction costs. You must pay the monthly fee even if you have no sales.

You must apply for a Merchant Account. Depending on your credit history, you may or may not be approved. You'll need to estimate your business volume — how large each transaction will be, and how many transactions you expect to have per month.

When shopping for a merchant accounts, start with your bank first. They already know you and may offer you a good solution. Check with other providers, too, to get an idea of the range of costs and features available. Often your web developer can make suggestions for a reliable merchant account provider.

Be sure to specify that you want an Internet Merchant Account. Ask about up front and recurring fees and charge back fees. You'll also want to ask what payment gateways they use. Shopping cart applications work specific payment gateways and you went to be sure that your gateway works with the shopping cart you want to use.

The most widely supported payment gateway (i.e. the one that works with the most shopping cart applications) is For this reason, A Street Web Design recommends that you choose an Internet Merchant Account that can use the payment gateway.

You will also need to purchase a secure server certificate (SSL) to install on your site. SSL allows sensitive information such as credit card numbers, to be transmitted securely between your website and your merchant account's site - called the payment gateway. SSL certificates can cost from about $30 to $100 or more per year depending where you purchase and the kind you get plus installation cost.

Want more information?

See related article: Understanding your Online Store

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