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Processing Credit Cards

Processing credit cards for business transactions has never been easier. With merchant account service providers and payment gateway systems you can start accepting and processing credit cards right away, keep reading to find out how.

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The most popular method of accepting credit cards for businesses on the web is real-time processing. This type of service will process and charge your customer's credit card information automatically by working with the ordering system you have chosen (Shopping Cart, Order Forms, etc.). Since the whole process is automatic, this is the most effortless method available.

You will need to get setup with a gateway processor such as Authorize.net or other gateway processing system. This is what does the actually processing and checking the availability of the funds on the credit card that is submitted. Some merchant accounts have their own gateway processing system, but the majority of the merchant providers available are resellers for gateway processors such as Authorize.net and many others. Most gateway processing systems allow you to use your own ordering system along with a virtual terminal that is included within their system. This will allow you have your orders processed automatically on your web site, but you are still able to process them manually through the virtual terminal, for orders that come in over the phone.

There are some merchant providers that are actually owned by a bank, which they have their own gateway system. Meaning you will only have to go through one company for all of your needs. Card Service International is an example of a company that is setup this way, but you will most likely not see much of a difference either way you go.

Pricing for such service can cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars and up. This fee is almost impossible to avoid, but there are many companies that sell this service at a very competitive rate. Most Merchant Providers offer a leasing option where you pay a fixed amount each month, for so many years. For example, if a company sold the real-time service at $195 up front, then they might sell it on a 36 month lease at $19.95 per month. On this type of lease, it would cost you over $700 by the time you had it paid off. To save money, it is best to pay it off upfront, and not go with the leasing option.
How can I tell if the credit card information is valid or not?

Many payment processing services offer a feature called AVS, or Address Verification System.This is a very nice feature which allows you to check the billing information that was provided to the information on the credit card that was submitted. This helps to fight against charge backs and fraudulent orders. Depending on which merchant provider you choose, there might be an extra fee per transaction for this service. It is recommend that this feature be used.

What's a credit card terminal?

A terminal is a machine that allows you to swipe the credit cards through it, or manually enter the credit card number through the keypad. It is very easy to operate, and not very much effort is required on your part. This method is recommend for companies that have the actual credit cards presented in person by the shopper.

As an example, the machines at stores such as Wal-Mart, are called terminals. You can purchase a terminal on the web for around a couple hundred dollars. It depends what kind of options and features you require. Most Merchant Providers sell terminal machines.

Related Article: How to Accept Credit Cards >>

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