Charge It! Options to Credit Card TerminalsProcessing credit card orders online is a complicated process. First, you need a secure server and some form of shopping cart software to accept customers' credit card information. Next, you need an Internet merchant account with a bank that can accept charges from your Web site and credit them to your account.But simply having a merchant account doesn't mean that you are set up to take orders online. Just as in the physical world of retailing, virtual retailing also requires a middleman to help the flow of commerce, so you also need a credit card clearing service (sometimes referred to as a transaction processing service).,which, along with Cyber Cash, is one of the leading clearance service providers. " We enable real-time credit card authorization. We are a gateway to the credit card processing network." Ideally, you should find a clearing service at the same time you are looking for a bankto handle your Internet merchant credit account. However, the situation can become acatch-22: The bank will ask you which clearing service you will be using, and the service will need to know which bank has given you a merchant account. The solution? Isaacs suggests that businesses contact a clearing service first,find out which bank(s) it does business with, and then start the process with anappropriate bank. This can take from as little as a week to as long as a month. If a merchantcollects all the necessary financial information for the Internet merchant account andsubmits it to the bank up front, this will speed the process along. However, Isaacs pointsout that a merchant has to have at least begun the process of getting a merchant accountbefore Segue can work with him or her. The following are some guidelines to keep in mind when you are choosing a credit cardclearing service: How will the clearing service integrate into your online storefront?Some sites may want to integrate it themselves with a simple CGI or Perl script thatlinks the order form and clearing service. Some shopping cart programs already have thisintegration built in, so be sure to check with the software manufacturer for availability. What is included in the setup fee and standard service? In addition tojust transferring the transaction information between your site and your bank, someclearing services may offer additional services, such as batch settlement, apassword-protected management feature that enables you to review all transactions andimport the information into a spreadsheet. Some clearing services also offer a" virtual terminal," which allows you to issue credits and perform otheradministrative functions such as those available on a regular swipe terminal. How much is this going to cost, and what is the fee structure? " Peopleexpect everything to be free, which is unrealistic. There's a cost to doingbusiness, even on the Internet," says Isaacs. In addition to setup costs, somecompanies charge a flat fee for the service, plus an additional per-transaction fee. Seguecharges a flat fee for the number of transactions completed, based on volume: $49 foras many as 250 transactions per month, $79 for 251 to 500 transactions, and so on. Will you be able to upgrade your service as your online business grows?Make sure you are not locked into a contract or service that penalizes you for exceeding atransaction limit. A service that makes it easy for you to scale up is preferable. What is the performance and reliability of the service? Performance isdetermined by the time it takes to complete transactions. Reliability refers to the numberof transactions that go through compared with those that fail. See what the service claimsfor performance and reliability, then talk to some of the firm's customers to check if theservice lives up to its claims. What kind of support will you receive? Does your service provider offeryou direct customer support, or is it merely acting as a reseller for others? Someservices essentially act as resellers for banks. If any problems occur, the bank acts asthe first line of support -- not the clearing service.
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There are some good reasons for using a merchant credit card terminal. But before you dive in and grab one, make sure you really need one. And if you decide you really do, then shop around for the right one to best suit your needs. There are plenty of them available on the market today, but they aren’t all the same. It’s worth your time to gain a little knowledge about the differences.
With most terminals, the best situations are when you’re doing business with your customer in person. They swipe their card, sign their receipt, and the transaction is finished. But in these situations you have someone who is using a credit card that is ‘right there’ in their hands and physically at the point of transaction. They can either ‘swipe’ the card, or punch in the numbers on the keypad.
Terminals work fine by phone also, just by punching in the numbers and completing the transaction that way. If you are going to open a merchant account, then the odds are you’re going to need a terminal to operate your business. Some people have more than one account. In this case, you want to find a terminal that can handle this situation, and they do exist. Many of them are designed to handle up to nine separate merchant accounts.
Credit Card Business Services
Clover Mini Credit Card Terminal