Find out everything you need to know about eCommerce credit card processing to enable your business to fully accept card payments
Let’s start with a basic fact: people like using credit cards. They have preferred using them for a while now, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only solidified this consumer preference.
So what does your eCommerce business need to know about accepting them? What steps must you take? And how can you save money in the process? Let PPS show you how.
Why you need a merchant account
As we described in our how credit card processing works article, different parties are involved whenever a credit card payment is made. You can’t expect the credit card payment to go straight into your bank account.
Rather, it first needs to go through a series of secure steps of approval from the payment processor, card network, issuing bank, then finally to the merchant bank account–which is one reason why you need to pair up with a credit card processor. They will provide you with a merchant account, which is a key service for accepting credit cards.
When applying for a merchant account from a credit card processor, they will likely require the following information on your application:
- Banking information
- Tax return
- Payment model
- Business activities
Once you’re approved (and likely after your credit check), your merchant account is ready to enable your business to start accepting credit card payments. If you have both a physical location and an online eCommerce store, your merchant account can allow you to accept both point-of-sale card payments (in person) along with card-not-present (online) payments.
So what should you look for from a credit card processor?
Get the right third-party payment processor to save big bucks
Again, any eCommerce business will need to sign up with a payment processor to accept credit card payments. However, not all of them charge the same rates. Let’s understand why that is.
Third party payment processors
While third-party processors/service providers like Square and Stripe have become common-place for side-hustle businesses, they don’t make financial sense for any business making more than $3,000 a month from credit card payments. Why not?
It all comes down to their pricing structure. Payment processing companies like Square, Stripe, and Paypal use a flat-rate payment structure that gets much more expensive the more an eCommerce business makes.
The right pricing structure
Now that you know to avoid flat rate structures, what should you look for instead?
Here’s the answer: you want to pair with a processor that offers an Interchange Plus pricing structure–which is literally just the cost of processing the transaction, ‘plus’ the fee from the payment processor.
With a payment processor that provides Interchange Plus pricing, you can expect to save hundreds to thousands of dollars per month on processing fees.
(Tip: Progressive Payment Solutions offers Interchange Plus, along with no hidden fees).
Now that you know what you need, it’s time to find out what you should avoid when it comes to eCommerce and payments.
You can only make one first impression with your interface
The reason you need a clean, simple interface for your customers is the same reason people like using credit cards in the first place: ease of use. In other words, make things easy for customers as they check out.
Why is this so important?
The last thing you want to happen is to make the customer feel confused, uneasy, or hesitant when it comes time to pay for goods or services. This can cause them to abandon the transaction and go with someone else.
That’s why you need a customer interface that makes a positive first impression: clean, simple, and easy to use. Focus more on user experience and less on brand logos and colors; afterall, they’re ready to make the purchase at this point in the customer journey. Why keep selling yourself?
Instead, keep a pleasant taste in their mouth with the checkout process and they’ll be back for more.
eCommerce platforms aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be
Brand recognition is amazing. We trust who we know, and trust leads to business.
However, certain eCommerce platforms we know and trust may be great for growing a business–that is, until you start making it your primary source of traffic for your business. That’s where the reality of choosing the wrong pricing structure really starts to take a bite out of your bottom line.
Shopify is just one example of eCommerce platforms that we feel are too expensive once you accept more than a few thousand dollars per month in credit card payments. Their plans offer a flat rate structure that combines a monthly fee from Shopify on top of each charge, which can potentially cost you thousands of dollars per month–costs that you shouldn’t have to pay. For more info on the subject, check out our blog all about why Shopify’s system can be bad for your business.
So if you’re looking to scale your eCommerce business, it’s a wise choice to look for platforms that allow you to incorporate a third party payment processor to avoid using an expensive flat rate pricing system.
Save money via ACH payment options
The fact is, credit card payments always come with fees. However, other payment options are much lower–or don’t have fees at all. ACH payments are one example.
ACH payments (Automated Clearing House payments) simplify the complex web of parties involved with credit card payments. They simply enable one bank account to send funds to another by securely allowing the customer to enter their bank account and routing number. While slower than credit card transactions, they are far less expensive–and often free, depending on the bank.
ACH payments are a great option for recurring payments, such as subscription services. Offering them can open up your business to even more customers who are payment-option conscious.
No doubt about it: the speed, variety, selection, and speed offered by eCommerce businesses means they’re here to stay. That also means every eCommerce business will need to accept credit cards, and thus need both a merchant account and a third-party credit card processor.
If you need the lowest credit card processing rates in the industry and attentive, US-based customer service, contact PPS today. We’ll show you how you can save money while we help you make the best decisions to move your eCommerce business forward.