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Why do you need credit card payments?

Once you have your shop running accepting checks, money orders, cash on delivery etc. you will quickly discover that you are not selling near as much as you expected.

Why?

The point is that the Internet shoppers are instant-gratification junkies. They don't want to mess around sending you checks or money orders in the mail. They want it NOW, and if you can't make that sale right at that moment when they are interested, they WILL go somewhere else. You have to have a way to accept their purchases with their favorite credit cards. If they don't see those all-powerful Visa and MasterCard logos up there on your site, they'll dismiss you as a small-time operation, and go elsewhere. There are other options you can use out there, I know. PayPal will allow you to accept someone's credit card without your having a Merchant Account. PayPal is a service that you sign up for, and then you allow your customers to make "PayPal payments" on your site to buy products. PayPal takes a small percentage of your sale, just like a Merchant Account. However, your CUSTOMER must ALSO be signed up with PayPal in order to buy something from your site this way. When the customer visits your site, and clicks on the PayPal logo, they are invited to sign up for free at PayPal, then go back to your site and make the purchase. There are two issues there. The customer must give PayPal their credit card number and information. Some people don't like to give those numbers to any service that is going to keep that information on file. It makes them nervous. Remember that the customer wants it NOW. If they find that the only way they can buy from you is to go through a third party service and give away their credit card information, they may decide to shop elsewhere. I'm not saying that PayPal or services like it are a bad thing. In fact, we give you a possibility to integrate it into your shopping cart.There are many people who PREFER to pay that way. However, the vast majority of your customers will want to see those Visa, Eurocard or MasterCard logos. It's just a fact. The smart site owners accept Visa and MasterCard, AND offer the PayPal (or other similar) option to their customers. And for this you need a Merchant Account. It is not the same thing as a business account It is, however, a very valuable thing to your busines.

So, what exactly IS a Merchant Account? It's also called a "Payment Gateway". It processes your customer's credit card information, verifies its authenticity, and checks with the customer's bank to be sure the funds are there. Then it places an "authorization" against the customer's account for the amount of the purchase from your site. That means that the customer's credit card account is reduced by that amount, pending the completion of your sale. This is so the customer cannot spend that same money somewhere else ten minutes later, and leave you hanging. The authorization created by the system generally lasts 3 to 5 days, giving you time to accept the person's order. If you don't accept the order in that time, that amount will be returned to the customer's credit card account, and they can spend it elsewhere. The "gateway" (merchant account) will also use a system called "AVS" (Address Verification System). It'll check the address that the customer gives you on the order, against the address the customer's bank has on file for that credit card. The system will throw up a red flag for you if they don't match.There are many companies out there selling Merchant Accounts. They can range from a low-cost account (about $200.00) to a mid-range account costing around $1700. (Don't panic! The providers of the mid-range accounts break them up into low monthly payments that you can easily cover with the income from your business!). There are also "high-end" accounts out there; they cost upwards of three thousand dollars. You do NOT need them; they really do not provide any more service than the mid-range accounts. Both the low-cost and mid-range accounts have their good points, and you should consider them both before deciding which way to go.

The mechanism of acquiring of a Merchant Account differs from country to country. We do not provide it ourselves but we do provide information where to find some of them. What is more we provide you a possibility to automatically incorporate some of those accounts (Authorize.net, InternetSecure, Ogone, Verisign/Cybercash and the list is constantly growing) into your Shopping Cart. To use these possibilities you must sign up for our ProAccount facility.

 

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