How to Accept Credit Cards on a Website

By Ty Arthur

  • Overview

    If you plan on joining the growing number of businesses that sell their products and services online, you will need to have a way to accept credit-card and debit-card payments if you want to be competitive. Accepting credit-card payments on a website is very similar to accepting such payments in a brick-and-mortar store, except that an online checkout system replaces a physical card reader.
    How to Accept Credit Cards on a Website
    • Step 1

      Consider the volume of sales you expect to experience each month and the average price of each item or service your website will be selling. Merchant vendors that offer credit-card services will lower their prices for larger volumes and may charge a "per transaction" fee that can make it much harder to earn a profit on low-priced items.
    • Step 2

      Compare the various merchant vendors that will enable you to accept credit-card payments online, such as Chase Online, CC Bill, Paypal, PayQuake, or Website Palace (see Resources). Check their startup fees, monthly fees, transaction fees and volume discounts.


    • Step 3

      Pick the vendor that has the best options for your expected sales volume, then call up its merchant-account application. Fill out the application by entering your business name, physical address, website domain name, business Tax ID and sales figures. Send the application and wait for the response.
    • Step 4

      Navigate to the vendor's website, log in to your account and download their shopping-cart checkout code, if they provide their own. If they don't, find a separate company that offers code, such as eCart Software (see Resources), so your website can have a "shopping cart" and "checkout" system.
    • Step 5

      Paste the code into your website to begin accepting credit-card payments online.
    • Skill: Moderate
    • Tip: Make sure you choose a vendor that offers 24-hour phone or e-mail support, so you can quickly resolve any issues your customers may have, either with payments not going through or being charged incorrect amounts.
    • Tip: Before applying, contact the vendor to see if you can change your volume discount at a later date, in case you end up making significantly more or less sales than you originally anticipated.
    • Warning:
    • Carefully read the terms of service for any online merchant-account company, as some do not allow payments for "intangible" objects like streaming video, software sent via e-mail or image files.

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