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

  1. All-in-one online payment service
  2. Traditional merchant services provider

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

Examples: PayPal Standard, Amazon Pay, Stripe, 2Checkout (Now Verifone)

A third-party processor lets you accept all major credit cards. Set up is easy and inexpensive.

Typically, 3rd party payment processors charge only a per transaction fee; no application fees and no monthly charges. The only fees you’ll pay are a small fee plus a percentage for each transaction your customers make. When a transaction has been processed you and your customer are each notified by e-mail.

With 3rd party payment processors, you only pay a fee when there is a transaction

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.

Finally, because credit card data is entered on the service’s website, not yours, PCI DSS compliance requirements are much simpler for you.

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.

Advantages: Easy to set up; no credit check; no monthly fees; no monthly minimum; widely supported by shopping cart applications; month-to-month rather than annual or multi-year agreement; easier PCI compliance.

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.

Traditional merchant services provider AKA: Merchant Account

Examples:, PayPal Pro

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

The advantage over 3rd party payment services is that the per transaction fees can be substantially lower. Also, from a customer point of view, checkout is completed on your site without going to the payment site (PayPal, Amazon 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 accounts can have an application fee and a set-up fee. Most charge 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.

With a merchant account, 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.

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.

The payment processing market is highly competitive. When shopping for a merchant account, keep in mind that many of the fees can be negotiated.

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 $25 to $100 or more per year depending where you purchase and the kind you get plus installation cost.

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About A Street Web Design

Avatar for A Street Web Design Web design is our full time job. Since 2002, we’ve been designing websites that work for business. That means getting found. Persuading people to call you. Making sales. If you are looking for someone who can help you get a website that works for your business within your budget, call A Street Web Design – 541-582-0597.