Processing credit card payments online can seem like a daunting task. But really it’s very simple! Yet, it is still a top question for online retailers. Worldwide Brands recently hosted two webinars in which we explored a variety of questions about merchant accounts and payment processing with Paul Levine, President of Superior Bankcard Service, an Intuit Company. Clearly people want to know what’s the minimum they need to get started. Then they want to know how to negotiate the best deal. There are also many questions about how to get the merchant account set up. Here are 3 of the common questions out of the webinar to help you understand payment processing: (Click here to watch the free webinars) Question 1: What does a Merchant Provider do? A merchant provider facilitates a transaction between a cardholder (aka customer) and a merchant. A secure facility is needed that allows funds to transfer from the cardholder to the merchant and all the people in-between need to be paid from the fee the Merchant pays. Let’s look at a typical internet transaction. The customer shops on a site and makes a purchase decision. When they select “Checkout” a secure page is displayed called a “Shopping Cart” where the customer can enter their payment information. After entering their information and hitting “submit” the shopping cart interfaces with a Payment Gateway which in turn interfaces with a credit card processor. The credit card processor has links to all the banks, determines which bank the card belongs to and sends the request to the bank and the subsequent Approval or Decline is routed back through the system. The Merchant Provider is the one that handles this “payment process”. The process takes seconds and happens in the background. Setting up a merchant processing account is easy to do. (There are more tips about this in the webinar. Watch it for free here) Question 2: What are the important attributes for evaluating a merchant account? Here are a few tips on what to look for when you’re evaluating a merchant account:

  • No Termination Fees
  • No Start Up Fees
  • Month-to-month contract only [The Processor has to earn your business through quality service to keep you.]
  • Competitive ‘per transaction’ rates
(There are more tips about this in the webinar. Watch it for free here) Question 3: How to avoid chargebacks? A chargeback is essentially when a cardholder disputes a transaction on their credit card statement. Some common reasons for chargebacks are “not as described” or “shipped too slow”. To avoid this:
  • Make sure to set the expectations with your customers very clearly (Describe the product with lots of detail and explain the shipping process in detail.) TIP: Purchase a sample of the product that you are selling and create your own descriptions in combination with your suppliers descriptions to set that expectation for your customer.
  • Have a good return policy on your website that is easy to find.
  • Deliver the goods with a signed courier so that you have delivery confirmation that you can provider TIP: Talk with your supplier to know exactly what their shipping policies are so that you don’t overstate the delivery time to your customer.
(There are more tips about this in the webinar. Watch it for free here)
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