In the past three days, we have gotten some great feedback on our online shopping cart series. We have covered the tools and tricks of an online shopping cart, the pros and cons of online stores, and the processes of an online shopping cart system. However, I’d like to expand today’s topic and talk about the ways to accept a payment within your online store.
- Electronic Cash (a.k.a. digital cash) — In order to utilize electronic cash, both the customer and the business need to have an account with the same bank/service. In general, the customer would transfer real funds to be converted (by the service) into digital credits. Those credits act as cash during a transaction and are electronically moved to the business’ account and subsequently to the business’ bank and into real funds.
- Electronic Checks — Even though electronic, these form of checks are similar to the checks that a customer writes to an other company. The client fills out the pertinent check information which gets sent to the business. Following the transfer of information, the business converts the information into a paper check.
- eCharge — This is an interesting alternative for business and consumers. This allows clientele to apply their product payment to their telephone bill. Truly a great way to help those customers that are not comfortable with submitting their credit card information.
- Non-E-Payments (a.k.a. traditional payments) — While the eCharge is an innovative way to take payment for products in the situation that customers are a little cautious with their credit card or check information, remember that you always want to have the option of traditional payment. Provide contact information and processes for this form of payment to not exclude any potential sales.
- Credit and Debit Cards — Definitely the most popular forms of online payment. This is also a payment option that requires you to have an internet merchant account (explained below), or go through a payment gateway for the transaction.
Now that we have talked about the various methods of how you can accept payment, we need to clarify internet merchant accounts and the charges that are affiliated with them. Here is a top 10 list of merchant account providers as well as a brief description of the account and charges:
- CCBill — This service is great as there are no setup fees, and the transaction fees vary based on the volume per accounting period. According to their website, the charges never amount to more than 13.5% for hosting clients or 14.5% for non-hosting clients.
- CCNow — Solely for businesses that ship physical products there are no setup fees. There is a flat rate of 9% per transaction between January and October, and 8% for November and December.
- Google Checkout — One of the up and coming third party merchant systems primarily used for products even though it can be used for services as well. The fees are relatively nominal at a range of 1.9% to 2.9% + $.30 per transaction. The range is determined based on the volume of sales for that month; the more you have purchased the less percentage you pay.
- PayPal — Similar setup to Google Checkout with the same (exact) fees for transactions. This has been voted as one of the best merchant account providers available.
- ProPay — One of the newest kids on the block in comparison to the rest. It is rumored to rival PayPal with the ease of setup and maintenance. With regard to fees, there is a #34.95 annual fee along with a 3.5% + $.35 transaction fee. The major downfall with this account provider is that you have to pay for an upgraded account to accept American Express and/or Discover cards.
So, in conclusion, when you decide to build your online store you need to understand that there are various ways to accept payment for your products and/or services. The best suggestion that we can provide is to ease the buying process for your clientele by offering as many types of payment options. This means that you should include electronic (or digital) cash transactions, electronic checks, an innovative payment option that lets you charge the customer’s telephone account (eCharge), traditional payment sources, and credit/debit cards. Of course with these options, you also have to select an internet merchant account provider that best fits your company. If this seems like a lot to take in all at once please don’t hesitate to contact IMPACT today and we will help you explore the options of an online store.