5 Tips for Setting Up Your Online Merchant Account
With the right guidance, setting up your online merchant account doesn’t need to be a headache. The five tips I’m about to give you should be just want you need to set up your merchant account as efficiently, and painlessly, as possible.
1). Give yourself time to set up your Online Merchant Account
First and foremost, make sure you’ve allotted yourself enough time to get everything set up. If you’re going to accept credit cards online, you’ll need a merchant account, a payment gateway and usually a shopping cart– both of which should be accounted for when you’re allowing for time to set up the account.
Setting up your merchant account typically takes the longest. It can take as little as one day, but it can also take as long as two weeks. It all depends on your type of business, and the product or service you’re offering. Moreover, connecting your merchant account, gateway and a shopping cart will also require a substantial window of time, whether you’re a newbie or an experienced tech geek.
2). Know what your online merchant account payment gateway is offering.
With most payment gateways, you’ll be offered the basics (the ability to run transactions) but many of them can provide you with additional features* such as recurring billing and email invoicing. It’s important to not only know which features you’ll be getting, but also to be informed as to what you’ll be charged for. Some gateways include recurring billing as a basic feature and some do not. Be sure to look at the true cost, and whether it reflects the features you’ll be using.
*Note: if you’re setting up a “high risk” merchant account, it’s important that your gateway is set up with load balancing.
3). Make sure your online merchant account provider knows your industry.
Every processor should be able to get you an account, but a processor that specializes in your industry will help to ensure it’s done right. For instance, a Joe Shmoe processor might be able to set up your merchant account quickly, but at the potential cost of suspending your account, withholding funds, or terminating your account as soon as you get that inevitable first refund or chargeback. An experienced processor familiar with your industry will have already anticipated those issues associated with it, and will work with you accordingly, so you don’t find yourself paddling up crap’s creek.
4.) Like your processor.
With the rapid expansion of online resources, it’s become incredibly appealing for companies to outsource many aspects of their business. While the result may be cost effective for that company, an unfortunate consequence to their consumer is often subpar customer service.
Now, don’t get me wrong – outsourcing can be awesome! But if you can’t get a real, living person on the phone that you can effectively communicate with, then it can cost you the well-being of your business, as well as some serious frustration. Before you dive in with a processor, make sure at the get-go that they’re responsive and helpful in answering any and all of your questions. They should be actively working to ensure you feel comfortable, so that you can commit to them with peace of mind.
5.) Be aware of your rates.
Be aware that there will always be a higher rate that applies to online transactions, as well as potential for hidden fees.
Unfortunately, there’s no way around the fact that online merchant accounts pay higher fees than retail merchants. It’s easier for people to commit fraudulent acts online, so to compensate, credit card companies spread that risk out across all online businesses accepting cards. Oftentimes, merchant account providers will present you with a retail rate of 1.59% that will NOT be applicable to any online transactions. Keep this in mind so you can protect yourself from any detrimental financial surprises.
Topic: Online Merchant Account