Your first step is to acquire an Internet Merchant Account.
Merchant Account Services make it possible for businesses to process and accept credit cards. Today, credit cards are a customer’s method of choice when purchasing products or services. It is crucial for the success of your new business to acquire a merchant account that acts as a credit card processor, whether it is online or offline.
What is an Internet Merchant Account?
An Internet merchant account is an account with a bank that processes credit cards online. This bank obtains the funds from the customer’s credit card company and transfers them into your business account. Merchant accounts are often referred to as payment processors.
Offline accounts require credit card machines that swipe the customer’s credit card (or to key in the numbers) to safely transfer the information to the credit card processor and/or merchant account. In some cases you may also use a payment gateway offline and you can process the customer’s information at your convenience.
For online merchant accounts the customer’s credit card information must also travel through an online gateway to ensure it is passed on securely. Fortunately, most merchant accounts work as online payment gateways as well.
What is an Online Payment Gateway?
An online payment gateway is the messenger between you and your supporting bank. Before funds are moved from the customer to your account, an online gateway ensures safe credit card processing by encrypting the customer’s credit card information as it is delivered to your merchant account.
A payment gateway protects you from fraud and keeps the customer’s information and identity out of harm’s way. It also provides you and your customer with instant confirmation that money was received.
Make sure that your payment processor is PCI Compliant. This means that it is set up to meet the demands of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The PCI DSS standard was created by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council to reduce fraud and strengthen the protection of your customers’ data.
Your customers will feel better about using their credit cards with your business if you can tell them that your credit card processor is PCI Compliant, though they may not know exactly what that means.
Whether online or offline, you need a merchant account if you want to be successful with your new business.