Choosing a Merchant Account
New to E-Commerce?
Isn’t it one confusing business to get to master from scratch? Well, it’s just got easier because this has been written for the sole purpose of simplifying the overwhelmingly strange world of E-Commerce for somebody with no prior knowledge, let alone experience with the subject.
All the complexities you need to know about will be dealt with in vivid clarity. Merchant accounts, payment gateways, shopping carts, in short everything that matters in E-Commerce. Learn the best way to open a merchant account with rates and fees, equipment and software costs, customer service, time duration for fund deposits, and types of eligible businesses.
Going in for an online merchant account can be a confusing process. The most important factor to keep in mind is what it costs for the privilege of accepting online credit cards, the amount of time involved from the time a customer makes a credit card payment on your website till it reaches you, which could be anything from a few days to even a month or more, and lastly, everything else the service includes.
What is Merchant Account?
Merchant account is the term given to a banking relationship a customer enjoys. The bank gives you the facility of charging your customers on their credit cards online for the goods or services you deal in. When a customer makes an online credit card payment to you, the bank debits the amount from your customer’s credit card account and deposits it into yours. Once a customer has made the payment, you are expected to fulfill your side of the deal by having the goods or services delivered in the shortest time possible to the customer.
It is advisable that prior to opening a merchant account, consider your situation thoroughly. A strategy is vital for any business activity you get into. Take into account whether you seek memberships, how wide your product range is, if it is an ongoing service, etc and the objectives you aim to achieve.
How To select a merchant account?
A crucial part of E-Commerce online is choosing the merchant provider for a merchant account that is perfect for your requirements. The more you learn about a merchant account and its significance, the better position you will be in to make your choice.
The procedure for getting yourself a merchant account, begins with the approval process, which may range from 30 minutes to a couple of days. Once the approval phase is completed, you’ll need to wait for about a week to activate your account.
But before you begin to use your merchant account, a couple of decisions have to be taken. Decide how you intend to process the credit card transactions. Choose between manual typing of your transactions into a software program or credit card terminal. Alternatively you could opt for real time credit approval by equipping your website to process transactions automatically.
In order to process credit card transaction, a software or tool will be necessary. In case you purchase equipment, get your merchant provider to program it for authentication with their network. For the real time option on the other hand, you have to get yourself affiliated with an Internet gateway that you’ll have to pay some kind of a monthly fee, to provide you connection to your merchant account.
A number of fees are involved in accepting credit cards through a merchant account. Here is a guide to understand them better.
- Startup Fee: This one time cost to set up your account could be in excess of $99 depending on the provider you choose.
- Credit Card Fee: Credit card carriers charge a credit card fee directly. Visa and Mastercard have a fee lower than that of American Express and Discover. 1.5% to 4% deduction per sale is the usual rate depending on the type of card and pre-negotiated rate. Taken off the top, it gets deducted from the charge amount before deposit in your account.
- Transaction Fee: This is the merchant provider’s charge for covering costs of network, equipment, etc and may be between 10 cents to $1 per transaction. Also taken off the top, the deduction is done before depositing into your account.
- Additional Fees: Providers may differ in the additional fees they charge for your account. Monthly statement fees, minimum traffic fees, charge back fees are typically included. This is why you need to be aware of the terms before signing up with a provider.
Linking your Credit Card Processor with your Merchant Account!
Opting for an online credit card processor will require details to link transactions to your merchant account. An E-Commerce merchant account number that comes with the account has to be given to the processor. With every transaction that follows, the money minus commission, is delivered to your account. Many merchant providers can guide you in acquiring this facility. A broad understanding of the entire process will enable you to select the right provider to partner your path to success.
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