Web sites that offer services and products need a way for their customers to purchase the service or product. Several steps must be taken before a web site can process payments. The first thing a web site owner needs to look at is volume. Before shopping for a credit card merchant, you must know or be able to project the business volume. The card merchant will want to know this information.
Self-processing is time consuming and complicated as well as an accounting nightmare. Third party credit card processors will take care of all the processing of credit card payments. There is a fee of course for transactions, and this will vary quit a bit—be sure to shop around for the best rates and customer services to serve your needs.
Merchandising Your Blog
Individuals who have a blog can sell items or services on their blog; the blog is their web site it is their business. Point of sale (or POS) is the location where the transaction occurs. The web site would be the POS. Bloggers that want to sell t-shirts can do so, with a credit card merchant account.
Be prepared to provide some personal and financial data to the card merchant. Credit card merchants may want to see the page views daily. Blog content is important, and Adsense accounts are a great indication of the blog”s potential. The merchant may want to see the affiliate sales, as well. Bloggers that provide good content and just happen to sell items will do well.
Bloggers should avoid the sales pitch similar to house parties in the past. People would be invited to a great dinner only to find out that the hosts were trying to sell them something. Usually, they were plastic food containers. Provide fresh content that is useful to the reader and they will be glad to buy a tee shirt. Customers that feel they have been mislead will not purchase anything, and may convince others not too either. Get customers to the blog or web site by using good content.
Basics to Set Up
To set up a merchant account for a small business, first open up a business checking account. Some merchants will deposit funds in a personal checking account, but separating your company funds from your own is just better business all around (and in some cases it may be illegal to do otherwise).
Businesses that physically handle a customer”s credit card will need, in essence, better credit—while online merchants do not have the underwriting requirements of a brick and mortar business. Financial history can play a role, but for the most part, small business owners using E-commerce will be able to secure a merchant account. Businesses applying for a merchant account will need to prove they are who they say they are. There may be different documentation required depending on the card merchant.
Remember appearances do count. Customers browsing the website want to be assured when they are ready to purchase online. They expect to see certain things, like “shopping carts” and “checkout now” buttons, as well as secured processing symbols. Customers want to see those familiar logos, so you want to boost the consumer”s confidence with the first few clicks inside the website.
Merchant accounts say something about the business; that it is reputable and ready to service the consumer. Online businesses or web site owners that decide they have a service or product to sell can easily set up a merchant account.