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Making the right choice for an online payment service

virtual merchant

Online payments services make it possible for consumers and businesses to exchange money via the internet electronically. This means that online payment solutions make it possible for businesses to receive payments virtually from customers with an email account. This is one of the reasons why these payment solutions have become very popular with businesses and customers.

The online payment solutions are not meant to supplement or replace a decision to accept debit and credit cards. It is easier and faster to open an online payment account as compared to setting up a merchant account (needed to accept debit and credit cards). The online services only charge a small fee as compared to the traditional merchant accounts and this can have a big impact on a business that process many transactions. The online payment services are also user friendly and can make the payment process easier for the consumer as they store card information or bill customers at a later date.

online payment

There are 3 common pricing models that are used by online payment and credit card processing companies. These are a tiered pricing, flat rate and the interchangeable plus which is also known as the cost plus pricing. The flat rate model was made popular by processors like PayPal. This model is suitable for merchants who process small volumes on a monthly basis. Though you pay more for each transaction, it is not only easy to understand but there are no ancillary fees to be paid.

online payment service

Tiered pricing usually feature 3 levels known as qualified, non qualified and mid-qualified tiers. The processors will bundle the amount it will cost them to process a transaction and provide you with these tiers. Like it is the case with the flat-rate pricing, this method is easy to understand but may cost more. If your business processes around $2,000 or more every month, I would recommend the interchangeable plus. Interchangeable here refers to the entire cost that the card such as MasterCard, Visa charges the processor when processing your transaction.

virtual merchant

You should understand that there are tens or perhaps hundreds of ancillary fees that are charged by a merchant account. This is why you should ask the right questions when negotiating a price with a provider. Some of the things that you should find out include:

  • Are they charging you an annual fee?

  • Is there a minimum monthly penalty?

  • If you are signing a contract, what is the fee for early termination?

  • What monthly service fee do they charge?

  • What about the batch fee, statement fee, or the American Express transaction fee?

  • Do they charge any application or set up fee?

  • Will your fees be debited daily or monthly?

  • Do they have an Amex One Point?

  • What kind of online reporting will they provide you with?

  • Will you be charged any fees to change your current payment processing gateway or existing equipment?

customer services

It is important to understand the type of customer services that are available to you. A reputable processor provides you customer and technical at no additional charge. But you must be sure that the rep that is setting you up is available to show you the right way to go when necessary. If you will be taking the swiped credit card transaction through the credit-card terminal, it is important to ensure that you are up to date with EuroPay MasterCard Visa(EMV) also known as chip technology. There are providers who will provide this for free so that you can be prepared for this new technology by 2015. Find out about the cost and whether there is an option for free equipment for a contract term that is reasonable.

contract services

It is also important to understand you current contract terms. If you are being overcharged by your processor, you can choose another choice for a processor whom you can trust. Find out if the new processor can help you to pay for your early termination fee. There are processors who will split this with you when you sign a contract with them as they will be sure that they will recoup their investment.