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Credit Card Processing: A Quick Guide

Accepting and processing credit cards can help you expand your business to more customers - especially if you want to expand your business online. People typically buy more when paying with a credit card, increasing your average sale per customer.

For more benefits of accepting credit cards, see the Benefits of Merchant Services Buyer's Guide.

What Merchant Services Features are Important

Offering the ability to accept credit cards as a form of payment on your e-commerce website is becoming a necessity if you are an online business owner. Customers want to be able to learn about your product, view images, read customer feedback and then enter a credit card number so they can experience the item for themselves. Credit card processing is a cost worthy investment to your business, especially since so many consumers have looked to the Internet to do a majority of their shopping.

Make sure that the credit card merchant account provider you are working with can ensure that your funds be deposited into your account in a timely manner. You might also want to compare vendors and their merchant services to find the most cost effective option for your processing needs. Signing up for a merchant account is a simple task, however finding the right vendor to go with will entail a few hours of research on your end to find the most reputable candidate.

Research to Conduct before Creating a Merchant Account

The ability to accept credit cards over the Internet is becoming a given for every online business owner looking to sell products and services to their customers. Finding the best credit card processing company requires a little bit of extra work from your end. Start off by shopping around for different merchant services, determine your business’ needs and compare companies that offer similar services. Once you decide on a handful of vendors to learn more about, get any fees in writing and sum of the total costs from each qualified candidate.

Ask each vendor how long it will take for you to receive your funds. This answer might assist you in deciding on which merchant account vendor to choose from. If you have the resources readily available, have a business attorney look over any contracts that are given to you before signing on the dotted line. This unbiased expert advice will also help you to best determine which credit card merchant account vendor to go with.

Questions to Ask Credit Card Processing Companies:

  • How much do you charge per month/per transaction?
  • What is your minimum transaction fee?
  • What is the maximum I can charge on one card?
  • How many days will it take for my account to be credited after a transaction is made?
  • Are there set-up and/or cancellation fees?
  • What types of fraud protection do you offer?
  • What types of cards does your service support?
  • Do you have a 24 hour a day contact I can reach if I have problems with my credit card processing service?

Things to Know About Credit Cards

You still are unsure about some important details?
  • Compare credit card processing price quotes becuase specialist companies charge monthly fees as well as fees per transaction. There may be other fees associated with an account as well (depending on what types of fraud protection or account maintenance options you choose) so do some preliminary research before you begin speaking with companies.
  • Fraud protection is important! Make sure your company offers CW2 (three digit code on the back of cards) and SSL (secure socket layer) options if you are going to be accepting cards online and you review the guidelines from Electronic Transaction Association.
  • Its important to ask about what types of help and support your company offers. Most will offer 24 hour a day help over the phone.
If you're interested in comparing credit card processing quotes, you  may also want to look at POS systems and retail equipment.