For an online business, merchant accounts are a basic necessity. The ability to process customer credit card information on the web can dramatically increase your online sales! For major businesses, the best bet is to get an online merchant account with the major bank you use for business banking.
However, those are subject to business credit review and usually can cost more per online transaction than with other forms of online merchant accounts. For home-based and small online businesses, such as our own, we recommend the use of an online merchant account.
Electronic Transfer has some of the lowest rates of any online merchant account on the Internet. With a transaction fee of only $.30 and a 2.25% discount fee, Electronic Transfer charges no startup fees of any kind. While most merchant accounts have application fees or a site inspection fee attached to them, you won't have to pay those costs to get started with Electronic Transfer, Inc.
Electronic Transfer also provides a free shopping cart with each account, the ability to setup recurring billing, and the ability to accept Internet checks. And 98% of applicants are approved, including home-based businesses. Even if you have questionable credit or you have been turned down elsewhere, ETI can help you get an online merchant account.
PayPal is often overlooked as an online merchant account, but they offer a very affordable means for accepting credit cards with no startup costs & no monthly fees. PayPal also has low transaction fees as compared to the average online merchant account. All you have to do is setup your free PayPal business or premier account.
Just add one of PayPal's Website Payment buttons to your website. Your customer clicks on the button and then pays you with a credit card or bank checking account in one simple step. The payment is sent directly to your business or premier account, and your customer is returned to your website -- it's that easy!
Obviously, the first and best choice for getting a merchant account is the bank you use. All major banks offer merchant accounts to their business customers, but you may find getting approved for one a little bit more difficult than you might expect. In addition, banks will typically charge more for merchant accounts then pure merchant account providers. For example, the average bank charges from 2.5% to 4% of total sales and from $.35 to $.60 per transaction. They also will charge a monthly statement fee of at least $10 and a minimum monthly fee of usually $25.00.
And, of course, there is the issue of standard banking functions. With your bank, it is easier and less costly to do things like online, setup automatic payments, and the like. Since those functions are outside of an online merchant account's core business, they tend to charge a little more and don't offer all the same functions that a bank does.
Basically, businesses that are well-established and have good credit with their major bank are probably better off with an online merchant account from their bank. New businesses, Internet-only businesses, businesses with lower sales volumes, and businesses with bad credit will be better served applying with a online merchant account provider.
Whichever way you choose to use a merchant account when doing business online, make sure you have a company like LifeLock monitor your business credit against potential danger.