If you want to do business online, you need to find an easy and straightforward way of processing credit cards and other types of payment so that people can actually pay for the products or services they want to buy from you. Here are the best ways to do that.
1. Merchant Accounts
Set up a merchant account with your bank (or the bank that will offer you the best rates). This, unfortunately, can be a time-consuming process. There are credit and background checks involved; you need to tell your bank what you’re selling and how much of it you think you will sell.
On the other hand, once the fees have been deducted, the money you make from your sales will be deposited directly into your account. You don’t have to wait for a third party to process it.
PayPal is probably the easiest online payment merchant to work with. It is definitely the most popular, and that means that it is one of the most trusted. The great thing about PayPal is that you can take payments from anybody. You don’t have to go through any sort of background or credit checks. You can start accepting payments within minutes of setting up the account.
PayPal also offers a debit card that is linked directly to your account so that you can use the money you earn as soon as it is paid to you. You don’t have to wait for it to be transferred to your bank (unless you want to).
3. Sell Through a Third Party
This is a fancy way of saying that you should sell your products through a service like Amazon. The store takes on the responsibility of processing the payments. You just wait for the money to be sent to you.
This is a good choice because when you sell through a third party, you get to have that third party’s reputation backing up your products. You’ll also benefit from whatever traffic they bring in for products that relate to yours so you stand to sell more of your own stuff. At the same time, actually getting your money can take a while, and they don’t accept all products into their ranks.
4. ACH Payment Processing (eCheck)
ACH Payment processing allows you to accept money directly from someone’s bank account without requiring a credit card. You simply need the information on the check that they would have written to you. The process is overseen by the National Automated Clearing House Association, and they will allow you to use the money you bring in for a variety of purposes (including direct deposits into your bank account).
The easiest way to take these kinds of payments is to set up the account with your own bank—it saves the time of having to be approved for and open an account somewhere else.
5. Mobile Payment Processors
Even if your business isn’t web-based, you can accept payments online thanks to mobile payment merchants. The best example of this is Square, which has become incredibly popular over the last couple of years. You register for an account with a mobile payment processor, get the card reader and plug it in to your smart phone or computer, and viola! You can accept payments.
The best thing about accepting payments this way is that many of the different mobile payment processors will also allow you to accept checks—you just scan in the check and you’re done! Some will even have code in place that will allow you to track cash transactions.