Let's look at the two options a little more closely:
You will need to obtain an online merchant account, along with the actual credit card processing service. For the latter, you will lease or purchase processing software from your processing service, which will then be installed on your computer. The software is configured with your online merchant account number.
When a customer buys a product or service from you, whether in person, by phone or through the mail, you manually enter the transaction data yourself in a window on your computer, utilizing the software program. Next, you transmit the data to your processing service's computer, through your computer's dial-up modem. The transmission will contain your online merchant account number. Then, usually within a few seconds, you will receive an authorization number.
You may wish to submit a number of customer orders together in one batch, to save your having to input data several times daily.
Within a few days, the sales proceeds will be transferred to your online merchant account and then to your business checking account.
Real-time processing allows credit card purchases to be approved or declined virtually immediately, while the customer is still visiting your website - and without your having to input any data manually.
What is known as a payment gateway, usually maintained by your online merchant account service, permits your website to enjoy real-time credit card acceptance by providing almost instantaneous verification of your customer's credit card data, transmitted over the Web securely because of the SSL protocol.
You can use either an online order form or a shopping card function, the latter being advisable if you are offering many different products via your online merchant account and will be adding to and deleting from your product offerings on a regular basis. Many online merchant account providers will also offer you shopping cart capabilities at little or no cost. Please see Shopping Carts for Online Merchant Accounts to see what shopping cart options are available.
Most real-time systems will also provide you with access to a virtual terminal on your computer, which will allow you, should the need arise, to manually enter orders taken over the telephone or by mail.
NEXT: Click here to learn about the various Fees and Charges you may incur with your online merchant account.
Sidenote: If you are going to obtain an online merchant account and attempt to sell products and services via a website, there are a number of other issues that should be addressed to help ensure your website is successful, namely:
building your website in a manner that maximizes the chances of success
writing the "content" that your visitors will read on your website in a fashion that will help to sell your products or services
setting your product or service pricing optimally, to provide you with the largest possible profit margins
If you are interested in learning more about one or more of these issues, The Merchant Account Advisor highly recommends the following three products as the best resources available if you want to SELL on the Web - and not just BE on the Web. Why not check them out....and the FREE TRIAL DOWNLOADS...
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