How to Accept Online Payments Without a Merchant AccountWritten by Merle
If you operate a small business from your home and have been thinking of moving it online to take advantage of a "global audience," this article is for you.
A lot of people I talk to are hesitant to start selling online due to "red tape" of getting a merchant account, a secured server certificate, and if needed, shopping cart software. That is not to mention huge expense of paying someone to put it all together for you.
Well, listen up: Forget all of that. I'm here to tell you that you can test waters of online selling without going to a lot of trouble and expense.
There are many third party credit card and online check providers who are willing to help you get your e-commerce business up and running in no time. Some of them may only work with sites selling tangible goods and others for intangibles, like services. Before choosing one make sure you thoroughly check them out and pick one that suits your needs.
So what do they do? Well, they provide a secured website you can link to, where they process your customers' credit card orders. For all of this convenience they take a small piece of pie, usually ranging from 7 to 15%.
Let's take a look at a few of them and what they have to offer:
1) iBill: This is one I use to sell my promotional services. If you sell services or other intangibles, this one will work for you. There are no set up fees, or software to download and your services can range in price from $2.95 to $100.00. You do need to make what iBill calls a "webgood page," so you need to know how to create a webpage and upload it to their server. iBill takes 15% of amount charged during any billing period and sends you a check twice a month. They make it easy to get started, and after signing up you can be up and selling online within 48 hours. http://www.ibill.com
2) Valid Check: I've used Valid Check for years to accept online check payments. Being able to accept checks and credit cards is important because it gives potential customers a choice when ordering from you. The more choices you can give them, more sales you will have. Basic charges are as follows; - $4.95 monthly minimum - $29.95 One-time setup. - Free Secure Order Page - FREE Remote Printing Software* - NO percentage fees - 99¢ Transaction Fee**
Once you sign up they supply you with easy- to-set-up links that you can paste into your site. You have two options when it comes to collecting your money: You can download their free software and print out your own checks, or opt for them to mail your checks twice a month (for an added fee of 36¢ per transaction). http://www.validcheck.com
How to Protect Your Online Store from the Internet Burglars, Part 2Written by Lynne Schlumpf
Thanks for joining me for Part 2 of this important article about how to save your store from online thieves.
Here's a scenario that will help you identify who is savvy to credit card fraud and who is not.
Let's say that John Smith runs an Internet store that sells books. His store is called Leaflets for Life. Customers order, then he ships product a few days later.
We have another Internet store owner named Joe Black. He runs a computer parts store called Laptops 4 U. The owner of Laptops 4 U is aware that his merchandise is THE HOTTEST ITEM to steal on Internet. (besides credit card numbers, of course) John Smith puts his feet, turns on satellite TV, and lets Internet run his business silently.
John Smith gets a sale on his online store. The order is for 300 books. John loves way Internet allows his business to pretty much operate on autopilot. He knows that 3rd party vendor he uses to take all his credit card sales took care of it, so all he has to do is print an invoice and pack it up. Off he goes with merchandise to post office, marveling at his first sale from his store.
Joe Black gets a sale on his online store. The order is for a $3,500.00 laptop. He does not use a 3rd party vendor for his credit card processing. He just has a store that uses Secure Socket Layer, then it emails him with a link that he clicks on to take him to his orders. Joe Black's process takes a lot more administrative work, but he feels in control of his business. He really wants to be aware of what goes on every minute. Joe, or whoever prints out orders from store, takes a long, leisurely look at this order. He knows what he is looking for. He gives order to a orders clerk. The orders clerk picks up phone, dials number on order. "Mr. Jones, hi, my name is Angela. I work here in customer service department, and we are verifying your order from our online store. To protect your security could you tell us if you ordered items from our online store today, and if you did, could you please provide us with some verification of your order. We WANT TO PROTECT YOU. Could you please give us 800 number on back of your credit card and your bank's name?" Customer: "Uh, who are you trying to call? This is roller skating rink in Topeka, Kansas." Angela thinks that perhaps person who ordered just mistyped phone number. She gets out her list of merchant phone numbers and calls up Mastercard. "Hello, My name is Angela, and my company is Laptops 4 U. We are a merchant on Internet, and we need to somehow verify that a card number used on our online store was not stolen." Mastercard happily gives her address of cardholder and other information that tells Angela that her company could have lost a laptop and possibly their merchant account when credit number does not go through system.