If you want your online business to be
a success you have to accept credit cards. In order to accept credit
cards online you need to have a merchant account.
The exception to this rule is if
you use third
party credit card processors that will process payments on your
behalf. This is a good alternative for low volume merchants but they
do have their downsides.
Basic advantages of merchant
accounts over third party processors:
Lower credit card processing
fees - 2.2% to 2.5%, compared to the 5% to 20% charged by third
paid faster - your own merchant account will allow you to
receive funds transferred directly into your checking account within
2-3 business days.
reserve fee - contrary to third party credit card processors,
merchant account providers usually don't reserve a percentage of
your sales as security, to protect themselves against chargeback
claims from your customers.
a better business image - when customers receive their credit
card statement, your company information is displayed.
The easiest way to get merchant
account is to apply through a Merchant Account Provider, a
company that helps set you up with the proper merchant account, and
provides the software and hardware you'll need in order to perform
credit card transactions on your web site.
There are a huge number of merchant
account providers and their services are all a little different.Basically, merchant account
providers will open an account for you at a financial institution (a
bank with whom they're partnered) that can handle Internet
transactions, and approves your credit history.
Although many merchant service
providers advertise the best and lowest rates, your discount rate
depends on several factors that every merchant service provider is
subject to. These factors include monthly transaction volume,
transaction method and what type of business you have. Merchant
Express has the lowest discount rate for internet
There are also optional fees
related to transactions' screening for fraud. Electronic
Transfer is one of the few merchant account providers that
bundle it for free.
Many merchant account providers do
not accommodate international businesses. If you live outside the
US, in order to obtain international merchant account you can
go with third
party credit card processors or work with a merchant account
provider that specifically deals with foreign firms.
Fees for international merchant
accounts will be higher than if you were a US based business.The most reputable companies that
has relationships with international banks and processors and can
provide you with an international merchant account are CreditCardCommerce.com
Below I list top internet merchant
account providers, including those dealing with international
One of the most popular credit card
merchant account providers on the Internet. Over 75,000 merchants
have already applied to accept credit cards with them.As well as setting you up to accept
credit cards on your website, Charge offers e-check services and a
free shopping cart. Web hosting and design services are also
Charge's Internet merchant
accounts, real-time credit card processing and virtual terminal
solution enables both automated credit card processing for website
orders and manual processing of email, phone, mail, fax and
Both you and your customer receive
email confirmation of the order. The funds from the transaction are
transferred to your bank account within 2 to 3 business days.
Start Up Fee or Lease: $195 one-time payment or $49.95 per
month lease for 8 months.
Discount Rate: 2.29%.
Transaction Fee: $0.30.
Monthly Statement Fee: $10.
Monthly Gateway Fee: $15.
For international merchant
accounts Charge.com has a $49.00 set-up fee and charges 45 cents
per transaction, plus 5.5% of the transaction.