If you sell products or services online, it’s vital you learn how to accept e-commerce payments. You will find that many options are on the table when you look for them, but they are not all the same.

The payment methods you accept will depend on your target customers and the goals you would like to achieve. Even if your shop or office has a physical location, accepting payments online is essential if you don’t want to fall behind in the modern world. This guide provides an overview of e-commerce payment methods and what they can do for your business. By the time you get to the end, you should have a good idea of where to start for the best possible results.

Payment Gateways

This section explains payment gateways and why they matter to your business. When someone places an order online, you need a way to get the payment from the customer’s account to yours. Your payment gateway does this job and notifies you once the payment goes through successfully. If you sell digital products, your payment gateway can automatically send the download link to your customer after receiving the funds.

You might not think you can set up a payment gateway online if you are not tech-savvy. The good news is that setting up a payment gateway is not difficult, and you should be able to do it in a few minutes. Once you set up your account, you get a line of code to paste into your website. You are then ready to begin accepting your first online payments.

Merchant Accounts

Your merchant account is where the payment gateway sends your money after processing it. If you run a sole proprietorship, your normal bank account can serve as your merchant account. If you have a limited liability company, make sure you have separate accounts for your personal and business funds. You will sometimes discover that payment gateways take a few days to process the funds and send them to your account.

This delay often protects the payment processor from complaints of fraud by giving the customer time to dispute unauthorized charges. In some cases, finance companies offer payment gateways and merchant accounts as a bundle, reducing the delay between when a customer pays and when you get the funds.

Credit Card Processing

If you want to survive for long on the web, accepting credit card payments is essential. Although many payment methods exist, credit cards are the most common as far as e-commerce is concerned. Ensure that the finance company you choose accepts all major credit card companies, such as MasterCard and Visa.

Many payment gateways charge a small fee for processing credit card payments, and you want to keep that in mind when calculating your profit potential. Accepting credit cards not only attracts many more customers, but it also puts their minds at ease. Most credit card companies are willing to refund disputed charges to protect their customers from fraud. When people are confident that their personal information is safe, they are much more willing to move forward.

Authorizing Versus Charging

When it comes to accepting debit and credit card payments, your payment gateway will do one of two things. It either charges the account on the spot or places an authorization hold on the account. An authorization hold ensures that the customer has enough money or credit to complete the transaction. A lot of companies prefer transferring funds to their merchant account at set intervals, making it a little easier to track their profit.

When the payment gateway places a hold on a customer’s account, the money is unavailable to the customer. If you wait too long to transfer the money, the bank might mark the transaction as expired and return the funds to the customer’s account. Charging a card takes the money from the customer’s account and puts it in your merchant account right away. Decide what option makes the most sense for your business.

Combining Online and Offline Sales

If you have separate accounts for online and offline transactions, you are giving yourself more work than needed. That approach makes you add up funds from different accounts when calculating your budget and profit. You defeat that problem by getting a POS card reader to use at your real-world location. You can connect the card reader to your online payment gateway for easy use, and you will be glad you did. You no longer need to buy or use complicated equipment to accept credit card payments in person. Order yours right away.

PayPal Payments

A lot of people feel safer using PayPal than giving their credit card number to different websites. If you want to attract as many customers as possible, setting up a PayPal account is worth the effort. Since PayPal acts as a payment gateway and merchant account, you usually have access to your funds right away.

You might not like the idea of keeping money in your PayPal account. The good news is that you can link your merchant account to your PayPal account and transfer funds back and forth. To start accepting PayPal payments, you create an account and add a button to your payment page.

SSL Certificates

People are beginning to realize that the information they send over the internet is not as safe as they once thought. For example, the information you enter on the web is visible to anyone who has the right software. Adding a secure sockets layer certificate to your website scrambles the data so that only your payment gateway can read it.

If someone tries intercepting credit card numbers and other sensitive information, they will only see an unusable code. Using an SSL certificate on your website inspires people to trust you a little more, and they will be more willing to take action. If you don’t already have one, add an SSL certificate to your website today.

Final Thoughts

Getting the most from your online business requires you to take advantage of the latest payment gateways. Learning to accept e-commerce payments moves your business a few steps closer to your long-term goals, and you will smile as your profit goes up. While not accepting the most common payment methods hurts your business, using the right payment processor works wonders for your bottom line.

In addition to making things easier for your customers, you also make the process as safe as possible. With these benefits in mind, you should have no trouble seeing why accepting popular payment methods is important for your business. Implement these tips right away so that you can enjoy the rewards today.

About the author

Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman is the editor at MarkupTrend. He is also a technical writer and digital marketing expert. He handles all marketing, advertisement related activities at MarkupTrend along with his team.

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