Online Payment Processors

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    Is an online payment processor necessary? For most businesses, yes! The American e-commerce industry is growing stronger than ever.

    In fact, statistics say that the number of digital shoppers in the country—considered as those who have shopped online at least once—is estimated to skyrocket to 230.5 million. If you don't have a payment processor yet, you'll get left behind.

    Fortunately, integrating new payment methods into brick-and-mortar and online businesses is easier than ever. There are dozens of payment processors on the market. Both big and small business owners are guaranteed to have an array of options.

    Now, the freedom to select whatever payment processor you want can be exciting. However, for first-time small business owners and merchant clients, having too many options is also very confusing. Where do you even start?

    When looking for a third-party payment processor, don't just go by rates or popularity. Assess the features and offers of all your options to determine what payment processing services would best suit your customers' credit and debit card payment processing needs.

    What Is An Online Payment Processor?

    A payment processor is essentially the institution or brand that handles your business' debit card and credit card processing needs.

    If you run a brick-and-mortar business, your point of sale equipment—usually a card reader—will process credit card payments at the checkout counter. Accepting payments via phone calls is also an option if the business has a virtual terminal. This is best for businesses that do not need a payment gateway but are looking for a way to accept credit card and debit card payments remotely.

    Meanwhile, those who have a store online will need a point of sale software that can accept payments via online channels. Essentially, rather than having your customers swipe their debit cards/credit cards at the counter, they'll input their card information in a payment gateway page. The equipment used for this process can be anything from a mobile app to a full-scale POS system.

    Choosing Your Online Payment Processing Service Provider

    There are many payment options to help businesses accept credit card payment methods, but not every one of them is a viable option. Not sure how to get started looking for a payment processor? Here's a simple step-by-step guide to help you get started:

    Step 1: Browse the Best, Most Popular Options

    We're not saying that the popularity of a payment processor directly equates to a brand's quality, but it's a good factor to consider. Good credit card processing systems are more popular. If very few businesses use a specific payment processor to accept payments, you might want to stay away from them.

    Step 2: Assess Your Needs

    There's a wide range of payment methods on the market, but not every business owner necessarily needs to sign up for all of them. In the same manner, you need to assess your needs as a merchant. List your expectations when it comes to credit card processing services.

    Step 3: Narrow Down Your Options

    Now that you know what merchant services you're looking for, it's time to narrow down your options. Filter out the credit card processing brands that don't match the criteria.

    Step 4: Talk to an Agent

    It's time to make some calls. Ask your prospective payment processor services brands what credit cards they accept, how recurring billing payments are charged, how their payment gateway page fairs against competitors, and of course, if they process online payment methods.

    Don't forget to consult about their pricing model. Generally, look for a payment processor that charges a flat rate, follows an interchange-plus pricing model, and has no PCI-compliance/monthly fee. Tiered pricing rates are often volatile and unpredictable.

    Step 5: Make a Decision

    Finally, it's time to make a decision. Consult with your fellow business owners and gather real-life testimonials on what they feel the best virtual terminal, payment processor, or mobile app is for accepting payments via online channels.

    Not sure whether your business is ready to accept credit cards yet? Consult with Processing Card! Send us your details so we can help assess whether your business would benefit from payment processing/merchant services or not.

    Top 5 Credit Card Processing Brands to Help You Process Online Payments

    We've narrowed the best companies and institutions that provide online credit card processing services to both big and small business owners. Note that this list is not ranked in order of importance. Each of these merchant services providers offer varying credit card processing features and have their unique strengths/weaknesses.

    1. Square

    Square is arguably one of the best payment processing and merchant services providers in the country today. Firstly, their point of sale equipment is suitable for a wide range of businesses. Whether you run a store online or a brick-and-mortar business, Square can help you accept payments online and in-store.

    Secondly, they have a predictable flat-rate pricing model. Their competitive interchange plus pricing rates only subject merchant clients to a meager transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 for online payments.

    Lastly, they don't hidden fees. You can get all their credit and debit payment processing services without having to pay monthly fees or PCI-compliance fees. There are also no early termination fees so businesses can cancel their credit card processing account at any time.

    Perhaps the only downside to Square is that their payment processing and merchant services are only available to low-risk businesses. A business owner who comes from a high-risk industry prone to fraudulent transactions, multiple chargebacks, or financial failure won't be able to sign up for an account.

    2. PayPal

    For a simple setup, competitive transaction fees, and offshore credit card processing, check out PayPal. It's a very simple and easy to use payment processing system that lets merchant account holders process online credit and debit payments globally. In fact, PayPal allows you to accept online payments in 26 different currencies from more than 200 countries.

    However, bear in mind that PayPal has can be very strict with processing debit/credit card payments to avoid fraudulent transactions. Larger businesses that process high-volume transactions daily might experience some issues. As a general rule, PayPal is ideal for low-risk merchant accounts that have moderate- to low-volume online credit card processing needs.

    3. Stripe

    Stripe is an all-encompassing payment processing system. It's ideal for businesses who want to process a wide range of card payments online. In fact, Stripe allows you to accept not just credit and debit card payments online, but also those made via mobile wallets like Apple Pay and even cryptocurrency wallets.

    Plus they follow a competitive interchange-plus pricing model. The business owner will only have to shell out a transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 for online payments. While not as widespread as other payment processing options like PayPal, Stripe is also very versatile and can accept payments from more than 130 different countries.

    4. Due

    Due is the ideal payment processing and merchant services provider for businesses and freelancers who need to send out a high volume of invoices per month—or even every day.

    What sets them apart from other payment processors and merchant account service providers is how easy and simple it is to send an invoice. In fact, you can set up an account for their payments platform and begin to bill customers in just a matter of minutes.

    They also have a competitive interchange-plus pricing plan that starts at around 2.8%. Note that Due allows merchant clients to modify their transaction fees depending on whether they process high or low volume online credit card payments per month. Customized interchange plus and tiered pricing is available to businesses that need to process more than $250,000 worth of monthly payments online.

    Due's simplicity is its biggest strength, but at the same time, also its biggest weakness. This payment processing system has limited integration options and does not offer a mobile app version of its credit card processing system. It simply lets you send invoices and accept credit cards.

    5. BitPay

    Statistics show that there are now more than 100 million funded Bitcoin wallets online, and around 11% of Americans now invest and trade Bitcoin. If you've been considering accepting payments via cryptocurrency, now's a good time to get started.

    Credit cards are popular among consumers that purchase fast-paced consumer goods, but Bitcoin payments are among the most preferred payment options when transacting high-value commodities—especially in the tech industry.

    Businesses that want to accept payments via mobile and cryptocurrency wallets can try out BitPay. It is currently the leading Bitcoin payment processing service provider on the market right now and claims to handle more than $30 million worth of cryptocurrency transactions from 38 different countries per month.

    Also, BitPay has a very simple, predictable transaction fee of 1%. There's no need to compute complicated interchange-plus pricing and tiered pricing rates. Just shell out 1% of the total transaction. The business owner can even pass on the payment processing fee to their customers.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Online Payment Processing

    What is merchant payment processing?

    A business owner can sign up for merchant services so they accept payments via debit/credit cards (American Express, Visa), mobile wallets (Apple Pay), and cryptocurrency wallets. Cleared funds will be transferred to the merchant's preferred bank account.

    What is the best online payment processor?

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to credit card processing. You need to find a brand that suits the specific needs and demands of your business. Do not limit yourself to popular options.

    How do I accept online payments without a merchant account?

    Yes, online credit card processing is possible even for businesses without merchant accounts. Essentially, the business owner will need a third party brand to handle the online debit card/credit card processing. They should provide you with an online shopping cart, payment gateway, and a virtual terminal.

    Once the funds are cleared, they'll be credited to your bank account. However, don't expect the money to reflect on your bank account in real-time because they'll have to go through a clearing process first.

    Additional Resources

    Popular credit card brands in America

    Make sure your credit card processing service provider can accommodate the most popular and widely used credit card brands in the country. You don't need a limited credit card processor.

    Still on the fence on which online payment processing options your business needs? We help businesses understand the importance of payment processing and determine what kind of payment processor would suit their specific needs. Talk to Processing Card today!

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