When you first get into online business, it is imperative that you think ahead and be ahead of the curve. For this reason alone, you should start out by accepting credit card payments. The vast majority of people who might buy your products are likely to have a credit card. It is much more likely than them having a PayPal account.
I am certainly not saying that offering PayPal as a form of payment is a bad thing. But I read elsewhere that only about 1 in 10 people who own a credit card have a PayPal account. Even less use their PayPal account regularly. Therefore, you might be cutting your potential business by 90% just so that you can avoid paying for merchant services. You certainly do not want to cut your own throat before you ever get started.
Below are some tips for finding a good merchant services provider.
1: Know the kinds of fees you will be expected to pay
Merchant account fees can vary widely. One of the initial tactics some will use will be to encourage you to use their services with low upfront cost. Little do you know until you read the fine print that you are going to be charged a hefty percentage for each payment that is processed. When selling expensive products, they could be tapping into twenty or thirty dollars of your profits. Try to find one that has lower fees and not too expensive on their setup costs.
2: Check out the Customer Service
Before you ever sign anything or before they ever have the opportunity to charge you a dime, you should test out their customer service. You can simply do this by asking them a couple of questions about their services. Keep in mind that quickest is not always the best. A lot of companies online will now have automated systems setup to answer questions. This is not always the worst thing, but I have always felt more comfortable talking to someone directly.
You know that if it takes several days for them to get back to you that they will likely be the same way when you decide to use their service. People buying from a company they have never dealt with before are already going to be somewhat skeptical. If it takes a few days for you to get a response back from your merchant, and then another day or two to get back to your potential customers about something, this is detrimental to your business. You need them to be prompt and handle the questions professionally.
3: Price is not always the single most important aspect
When looking at a merchant service provider, there are many other factors than price to take into account. You may be shopping around for a website and it is important that it will be easy for you to setup their credit card processing system with your shopping cart. Some merchant accounts may require that you manually run the credit card as if you were an actual retail store and this is not what you want either. Instead, you want someone who has plenty of features and will make it easy on both you and your customers to go through the ordering process.
4: Find one that fits your needs
Not all merchant accounts offer the exact same features. Some work well and have modules setup for specific shopping carts. You want to be thorough and find one that will actually work with you to get everything setup properly. If you are having to twist their arm and are confused on whether it will work or not for you, I would perhaps avoid this company. They want your business, but you want them to be familiar with the types of things you need. Whether it is their ability to work with a certain shopping cart or some other specific situation, it may be best to go with merchant accounts that directly advertise that they allow for the features and capabilities that you need.
5: Read others reviews
When in doubt and trying to narrow down your decision, read what others have had to say. A lot of times, a bad reputation is a good sign that you want to steer clear of that company. Unfortunately, many people get sucked into the too good to be true situations. They see extra low fees and jump at it. You may be contemplating falling into the same trap. Always read reviews and if you see more negative ones than positive ones, then I would recommend looking elsewhere.
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