There is little question that internet technology has changed the business landscape. Businesses can no longer survive with only a brick and mortar location. The fact is, every year more and more people make a larger percentage of their purchases online. In order for businesses to have any relevance in the modern business world, they must have an online presence, which includes the ability to sell their products or services online. There are many attributes that make up an e-commerce business, but one thing remains constant: the ability to accept credit card payments. Merchant services allow e-commerce businesses to do just that, making them a vital component of any e-commerce business.
The Shopping Cart
One of the most important factors in having a successful business is providing customers with easy shopping solutions. The easier it is for them to buy, the more likely it is that they will make a purchase. The shopping cart feature provided by most merchant account providers allows customers to add multiple items to their cart as they continue browsing e-commerce sites. Most merchant account providers offer this valuable feature for their e-commerce clients, allowing them to increase sales and site functionality.
The Importance of Merchant Accounts
As with any physical store, e-commerce businesses need the ability to provide customers with multiple payment methods. Credit cards are by far the most common and preferred e-commerce payment method. In fact, 87 percent of online shoppers regularly use credit cards for their purchases. This means e-commerce businesses need a merchant facility to accept credit card payments. Not having a merchant account set up to accept credit card payments can result in a huge loss in revenues. After all, competitors are simply a click of the mouse away. The bottom line is, any e-commerce business needs to utilize merchant services and accept credit card payments.
What a Merchant Account Entails
A merchant account is simply an agreement between a business and a financial institution that provides the business with the ability to accept credit card payments from its customers. The merchant account provider verifies a customer’s credit card details and ensures that they have sufficient funds to cover the selected purchases. The merchant company then authorizes the purchases from the customer’s credit card company and the funds are transferred to the business’s account. The process may have several steps, but it is done quite fast. This not only streamlines e-commerce, but it makes the shopping experience extremely convenient.
Selecting an E-Commerce Merchant Account
There are numerous companies offering their merchant services to e-commerce businesses. Some quick research will provide e-commerce site owners with a list of legitimate and well-respected merchant account providers. Before selecting a merchant account provider, it is important to carefully read the agreement and gain an understanding of the various fees involved. Although there are fees involved with providing customers with credit card payment options, the benefits still far outweigh the costs.
Costs should not be the only factor to consider when choosing a merchant account provider. E-commerce businesses should also consider the ability to add a shopping cart to their site, ability for customers to make purchases without leaving the site, and the ability to accept payments internationally and in many currencies. One of the benefits of having an e-commerce site is being able to sell to people all over the world at any hour of the day.
Having a merchant account is vital to any e-commerce business. The ability to easily accept credit card payments from all over the world can dramatically increase sales. There are numerous merchant account providers to choose from, but e-commerce business owners should do their due diligence and select one that will best suit their business needs.
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