When you open an online business, you need to find a convenient way to accept payments
from clients. Today many people use their credit cards to pay their utility bills, to shop, pay
medical bills and buy food. Credit cards are a staple in managing personal finances today
and this is why you need to accept credit card payments on your websites. Relying on
online payment methods only such as PayPal will limit many of your clients and this leads
to a loss in sales.
The following are the two main reasons why you should have credit card payments:
Impulse buyers: Many of the guests on your site will end up there through links from other
websites. You do not want to waste all your marketing efforts on attracting clients yet there
is no convenient way to purchase the products on your site. But once they see the “all cards
accepted here” sign, you may get impulse buyers making purchases by the hour.
International customers: accepting credit card payments online is the easiest way to get
international customers to buy your products and services. Globally accepted cards such as
visa and MasterCard make it extremely convenient for people in other parts of the world to
Ways of accepting credit card payments
There are two ways you can accept credit card payments.
- You can open your own merchant account with a bank in order to receive payments
from credit card transactions. The cost of setting up a merchant account with the
bank depends on which country you live.
- Setting up merchant accounts can be quite costly. If you are just starting up your
business, chances are you don’t have enough capital to set up this account. You can
choose to accept payments through a third party merchant account. The merchant
processor will accept payments from the credit card company and send the funds to
your minus the transaction fees. They are known as payment gateways and often
have cheaper credit card machine rates.
The Virtual payment terminal
The virtual payment terminal is where all the customer’s credit card information is
collected and processed for payments. The virtual terminal is quite similar to the physical
credit card processing machines that you use to swipe cards in your business. The virtual
terminal is a software application provided by the merchant processor. There are two ways
to use the payment terminal
- Customer form: You can create a form for customers to fill, entering their credit card
information to make purchases online. Once they add their shopping items to cart,
the can proceed to payments where they will log their card details in a form and
accept the payment.
- Merchant form: In case you receive orders through mail or telephone, you can
manually enter the customer’s information on the virtual form.
Using a virtual terminal is more than just accepting payments, you can also create a log of
customer details and virtual wallets for future payments and you can also generate billing
reports from the virtual terminal for your business records.