If you want to be able to take payment by credit card for your home business, just like the “big boys” do in the traditional business world, you will need to access the services of Internet merchant accounts. These services will not only allow you to accept credit card payment online, an essential part of any successful Internet business, they can offer you a number of other benefits as well.
Did You Know?
In the regular retail market, approximately 75% of all transactions are now plastic based – credit, debit, and gift cards. Online, that number is nearly 100%. While it is true that a decent number of businesses also make use of third party payment systems, most simply take plastic.
How Does it Work?
When you sign up with a merchant account provider, make sure they have extensive experience with online accounts. You don’t want to be the guinea pig for a company just taking their services online.
Security is the buzzword. By its very nature, Internet sales are potentially less secure than traditional retail sales. This is because all of your customer’s information must travel through the Internet for payment to be completed, and that means it is possible for a hacker to interrupt the stream of data.
The way merchant account firms prevent this from happening is through encryption. All the data your customer sends when they pay for a product is encrypted both on its way to the payment gateway and back. A great deal actually happens when someone clicks “pay now,” but the details aren’t important as long as good security protocols are in place.
No One Knows Your Size
In some ways, setting up your Internet merchant accounts provides you with a certain degree of anonymity. Your company can be a one-person show, but online you appear identical to all of the other companies. This allows you to compete with larger businesses on equal footing – after all, you are offering the same services. Additionally, because your company is small, you won’t have as much overhead, potentially allowing you to offer the same products for less.
What to Look For
Aside from choosing a credit card processing provider with a great deal of familiarity with Internet based businesses, you want to make sure that the fees are comparable to those charged by other providers. You also need to make sure that customer service is available at all hours of the day and night. Since the Internet is open for business 24 hours a day, your site has to be open then too. If your customers can’t pay for their products, they will just move on. Finally, ask about other benefits the company offers.
Do they help you to build a website? Connect you with reliable drop shippers? Offer small business loans to help you expand and upgrade? All of these may help you at some time or another.
For a home based business, setting up Internet merchant accounts makes good sense and helps the company grow.