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The Credit Card Question
By: Terri Wells
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    Table of Contents:
  • The Credit Card Question
  • Types of Merchant Accounts
  • How Does it Work?
  • Fees and Other Questions

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    The Credit Card Question

    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Practically every online business accepts credit cards, and so should yours. But you should be prepared to shop around and ask questions before settling on a provider for your credit card merchant account. This article lets you know what to expect.

    Maybe you havenít been in business long enough to have to confront this issue yet, especially if you started small. Sooner or later, though, you will have to face the fact that customers prefer to make purchases using their credit cards. Whatís more, when they can use their credit card, customers tend to buy more. To someone who sells anything online, be it web hosting services or collectibles through eBay, the implication is plain: you need to be able to accept credit cards.

    Maybe youíre still fighting it. To be able to accept credit cards, you know that you need to get a merchant account. Maybe you think it will be too expensive, or too complicated, or that you wonít qualify. While it is a good idea to shop around for an account, and there are certain questions you need to ask, itís a relatively easy process Ė certainly much easier than running a business!

    Still not convinced? Let me give you a few points to think about. The average customer wonít take you seriously as a business unless you accept credit cards. Even arts and crafts vendors at malls take credit cards; youíre trying to sell goods and services over the Internet! Most people who buy anything online do it with a credit card; they wonít be inclined to change their habits just for you.

    You may have conducted some business via Western Union or PayPal. Those methods arenít enough. Too many people are unfamiliar with Western Union. As to PayPal, there are still too many horror stories circulating about it. What it comes down to is a matter of trust. If you can accept credit cards, this means you have a merchant account, which means your name, address, and social security number are on file with a bank somewhere Ė so youíre not a fly-by-night. From your customerís point of view, youíre less likely to be a crook.

    For argumentís sake, letís say that you have been conducting business via cash, check, and PayPal up to this point. When should you get a real merchant account? Look at your PayPal receipts. When your monthly sales volume reaches $1,000 or more, itís time to get real. You might even consider making the move before that point if your sales are showing a consistent upward trend.

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