Since 2009, many countries worldwide have seen an increase in credit card usage. For example, there are at least 97.4 million credit cards in circulation in the UK alone. With credit card usage on the rise, business owners are wise to accept payment via cards online. Recent statistics have shown that business owners who accept credit cards can double or even triple their sales; 83% of small businesses that accept credit cards saw increased sales.
Having to pay a merchant fee then is more acceptable when owners realize the additional revenue they can make by offering customers this added convenience.
This article will address five steps involved in accepting credit cards online.
1. Set up a Merchant Account
The process begins with choosing the method of accepting payments. Business owners can open a merchant account by applying with a bank or through a third party merchant. These payment gateways assist in the process of businesses accepting credit card payments. In exchange, businesses pay fees and percentages to the banks or third party merchants. You need to consider the following factors when setting up a merchant account.
- Set up fees
- Transaction fees
- Method of processing issues with fraud cases
Business owners benefit from utilizing a merchant service provider because this entity handles the fulfillment of credit card acceptance. Merchant account management and fraud protection are the two main tools that such providers give to business clients.
2. Requirements for Opening a Merchant Account
A merchant account must be set up in the country where the company is registered. When opening a merchant account, it is important that the following is taken into consideration.
- Geographical area of the business – For example, international merchants will need to cover major currencies or local merchant accounts.
- Security features (AVS, CVV2) – These codes are designed to provide the merchant with additional information in order to raise the “comfort level” of the merchant before having the products shipped to their customers.
Additionally, the business owner’s live website should include the following details.
- Minimum monthly volume, for example, EUR 10,000. The numbers listed should be realistic.
If you have trouble opening a merchant account, you can always seek expert advice; Starting Business offer proffesional E-ommerce solutions on how to start and grow your online business.
3. Incorporate the Payment Gateway
The third step involves incorporating your payment gateway into your website and integrating it with your shopping cart feature. Your customers need a system set up whereby they can purchase from your website and have their credit card information transmitted securely to the merchant account provider. This is done through the payment gateway when it is connected to your shopping cart or processing system.
- Sample code
- Most website platforms provide tutorials or help pages with instructions on how to set up a shopping cart.
4. Integrate an Easy Shopping Experience
Now that your processing system is in place, you need to integrate an easy shopping experience into your website for your customers. If the shopping experience is convoluted and not user-friendly, you are going to lose sales and most likely those customers won’t return to your website. You need to let your customers know that you are now accepting credit cards online.
5. Implement a Viable Accounting System
Hopefully, you already have a viable accounting system in place for your current business where you can integrate revenue from the online purchases with no problem. However, if you don’t have one, seek a system that will assist you in tracking online purchases where the merchant account records can be imported directly into the accounting software. When you are looking for a merchant account provider, consider one that offers the feature of downloadable reports which make it easy for you to utilize for accounting purposes.
Accepting credit cards online is a simple process if you follow the basic steps outlined in this article. The process begins with obtaining a merchant account and then creating the gateway for payment. After that, you need to incorporate the gateway for payment into your website and create an exceptional customer shopping experience. The final step involves making certain you have the proper accounting software for your specific business needs.