How to Choose the Ideal Online Payment Service for Your Needs

You’ve built a website showcasing the goods or services you have for sale.

You’ve priced your wares accordingly and either stocked your inventory or made shipping arrangements for purchased products.

And you’ve spent numerous hours marketing your e-commerce site to potential customers.

Now all you need to do is to provide a way for people to give you money.

That means selecting an online payment system that takes customer credit card information, processes the transactions, and sends money to your bank account.

But there are lots of different choices in online payment service providers these days – so how do you know which one is right for you?

Here are some suggestions for picking an online payment service for your e-commerce needs:

  • Get a handle on the costs.
    In addition to any setup or activation fees for your account, you’ll be charged each time the credit card merchant processes a credit card transaction. The discount rate is the percentage of each transaction amount that you will pay.

    You may also be assessed a transaction fee, which is a flat rate that’s charged each time the online payment service processes a credit card.

    Also, you will likely be penalized if you incur a charge-back, which occurs when a customer disputes a charge from your e-commerce site on his or her statement.

  • Inspect the user interface and the back-end software that goes with the service.
    When choosing an online payment service, figure out exactly what a potential customer will have to do in order to purchase your product. Is there an easy-to-understand “shopping cart” system? Will they have to re-enter all of their credit card information each time?

    Also, most credit card merchant providers for e-commerce sites come with software than can be connected to your accounting functions. So be sure to examine this to see if it’s compatible with your current bookkeeping software – and easy for you to use and comprehend.

  • Look at the security features.
    Any online payment service worth its salt will have strong security protections in place for your website and your customers’ sensitive data. Make sure that the credit card merchant’s security protocols meet current accepted standards set by the industry. This reduces the chances of your site or database being successfully hacked by a cyber-thief.

    online payment service

    It’s also important that these security designations be readily apparent to anyone who visits your website – because if they don’t think your e-commerce site is secure, they won’t buy anything from you.

  • Determine what type of support the provider offers.
    Unless you’re a computer genius, you may run into problems with your e-commerce online payment system that you are unable to solve on your own. That’s why it’s vital that you know the availability of the help desk, hotline, or other support platforms as well as how to contact them.

    Some credit card merchants offer 24-hour phone operators, while others may only take inquiries during business hours. The last thing you need is for your online payment system to crash and for you to lose business because there’s no help available to fix your issue.

  • Test-drive the service before you go live.
    When the setup and installation process has been completed, it is essential that you test the online payment service to make sure it works properly before you allow it to start taking customer orders. You do this by “buying” one of your products or authorizing a small charge on your personal credit card, then checking to see if the order was placed and the money was deposited into your account.
    Only after the online payment service passes your tests should you throw open the “virtual doors” to your e-commerce site.
Chris Martin is a freelance writer who writes about topics ranging from information technology to consumer finance to home improvement.

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