Are a Lot of Payment Options Necessary For Your Online Site?

Is it possible for your website shopping cart to get by offering only Paypal as a payment method, or should you offer the full suite of credit cards individually? This question comes up a lot from small businesses with an online store. The answer is actually simple.

Is your main method of getting sales through your online store? If it is, then it is worthwhile to invest in your own Internet merchant account and offer payment via Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express (and JCB if you are in Europe).

Many online shoppers do not have a Paypal account and do not realize that it is not actually necessary to sign up for a Paypal account to make a payment through Paypal. So if they see Paypal as your only payment option, you are going to lose sales if the customer does not feel inclined to sign up with Paypal.

Additionally, your customer has to leave your site to go to the Paypal payment page, so there goes your visitor retention. (Although if you configure your Paypal account properly, you can have the customer returned to your site’s “Thank You” page after they submit their credit card information and the sale is processed.)

Paypal is not the cheapest way to accept credit cards, rates average up to 4% per transaction, compared to an average of 2.09% with your own merchant account configured properly for online sales.

Utilizing Paypal also conveys an “amateurish” image to potential customers. You may be a small business, even a home-based small business, but do you want your customers to sense that?

The fact is, 98% of those small businesses utilizing Paypal could probably qualify for their own merchant account. But they don’t know that.

Paypal offers a utility to “build” payment buttons for your online inventory – “Buy Now”, “Add To Shopping Cart”, etc. The fact is, most merchant service providers offer that capability for customers who need to process sales online.

If you offer eBay merchandise, you will definitely want to include Paypal as a payment option. eBay now owns Paypal and it is the de facto payment method for eBay sales. Paypal offers outstanding buyer protection to customers who purchase items on eBay auctions or through eBay stores.

Another consideration will be whether you sell internationally, because Paypal has a long list of countries it will not permit purchases to be made from. If you want to make sales from customers in those Paypal-banned countries, you will have to offer the ability to pay by credit card with your own merchant account. For that matter, you will need a merchant account from a merchant services provider that permits you to accept transactions in all the countries you plan on selling in or to. Some merchant accounts only permit US-based customers, for example. Canada itself only recently began permitting Visa and Mastercard to provide PIN-based debit card transactions with Canadian borders.

It is obviously “key” for you to find and work with an experienced account representative of a merchant services provider experienced in ecommerce.

James Hussher is a national Account Executive for a major bankcard processor, a registered merchant services provider (MSP) for Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase banks. Contact James at [], a site James maintains to inform his credit card merchant clients.

Wherever you are in the USA, I offer a free analysis of your current merchant account statement. I will provide a report showing you exactly how much you are paying to accept cards in each tier, plus monthly fees; I will also propose the rates we can give you, for a clear side-by-side comparison.