James Osterman
Jim Osterman is a Web content developer with CardAccept offers a host of credit card processing solutions for Web-based companies wanting to accept credit cards on the Web sites.
James Osterman has written 2 articles for SB Informer.
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Don't Allow the Business of Credit Card Processing Intimidate You

James Osterman

February 14, 2008

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Many Web-based business owners are hesitant to make the move to accept credit cards because they are afraid the fees and the process can seem intimidating.

And while fees certainly have to be considered, they are not the only benchmark a ‘net-merchant should go by. However, as far as the intimidation factor is concerned, well, keep in mind the old adage: “Information is power.”

That means it’s time to break the decision process down into manageable pieces, then learn all you can one item at a time. Or you can look at it another way – how do you behave as a consumer making a major purchase? Do you ever walk into the first store, spy the first item and buy it? Of course not!

You ask questions; gather information so you can learn all you can to make an informed decision. The process of finding a great merchant services partner is not all that different.

First, what kind of company do you want to do business with? Your bank will probably offer credit card processing services, and if you have a great relationship they should be considered. However, your bank may not have the industry-driven expertise to put together the most cost-effective package of services for your specific business.

And when you start looking at companies that specialize in offering merchant account services don’t get flustered by the number of vendors out there, because there are some quick ways to eliminate some from contention.

First, drop any company from consideration that charges a roster of fees just to establish your service. The top players in the credit card merchant account field don’t go into your wallet for things like processing your application, setting you up with software for various functions or giving you access to the technical support personnel.

At this point that long list of potential processing partners will have shrunk. You next step will be talking to 3-6 companies. Pay attention to those who get to know your business. Someone who has Web site selling rare and expensive antique porcelain dolls will not have the same needs as someone selling reconditioned cel phones. As such, any company’s service representative should be sensitive to your needs and put together a package that will cater to those needs.

There are other factors that also need consideration. What plan do they have in place if their network crashes? Do they have a backup plan that can be accessed quickly? Is there someone picking up the help line 24/7?

On the product side of the equation, can they offer you the ability to give potential customer convenience products like a Web shopping cart? Will they also have you set up to accept checks by internet, phone or fax?

And, of course, there’s the price issue. Great providers, while not levying a lot of upfront fees, do charge for transactions, payment gateways and other elements directly related to doing business. If you are expecting a lot of low-end transactions, the company with the lowest transaction fee should be considered. For sites with expensive items, a lower discount rate might be the way to go.

If this sounds like a lot of hoops to jump through, consider who benefits at the end of the day – you.


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