Boost sales with numerous payment options

Understand how the types of payment options you offer customers can benefit your business’s important thing.

Just about the most common questions I’m asked by those people who are interested in starting an internet business is "How do you start accepting payments from my customers on the internet?"

The logistics of establishing your website to simply accept online payments can look like a big hurdle for home based business owners. But the simple truth is, if you need your business to reach your goals, you must offer convenient and easy ways for your visitors to pay.

Credit cards are the 900 lb. gorilla of the web payment world. Actually, more than 90 of all orders I receive are put with bank cards. No online business may survive without offering this payment option. The glad tidings are that setting yourself up to simply accept credit cards on your own site is way easier than you imagine, and in this specific article, I’ll show you how exactly to do it in less than 48 hours.

Just because bank cards will be the most popular way to cover goods and services online, however, it doesn’t mean you can relax and relax because you’re already accepting them.

If you’re seriously interested in maximizing your sales, you need to consider offering other online payment methods, including:

  • PayPal, which includes recently improved its service, rendering it even easier for your visitors to use, and
  • Debit cards, which are poised to be the web fundraising vehicle into the future.

Plus, it’s still vital that you provide traditional offline payment techniques such as for example toll-free numbers and order forms which can be printed out and faxed or mailed.

It’s about giving your visitors choices–and about capturing every sale you can. Web-based businesses that don’t offer payment alternatives to bank cards are shutting out an incredible number of consumers who either don’t possess bank cards or are nervous about with them online.

According to a recently available study by CyberSource Corp., websites providing four or even more payment methods apart from bank cards have a sales conversion rate that’s 12 percent greater than those offering just one single payment option furthermore to bank cards.

But before I get before myself, let’s have a step back and I’ll let you know how accepting bank cards will dramatically boost your sales.

Capture INCREASED SALES The fact remains, you must accept bank cards on your site in the event that you expect to stay static in business. It has been repeatedly proven that in the event that you don’t accept bank cards on your own site, you’ll only capture about 15 percent of your potential sales.

You must make it possible for site visitors to purchase your products. Internet surfers expect access immediately to information, goods and services, and online customers can be quite impatient. If dial-up users need to log off the web to release their phone line as a way to contact their order, you can just forget about doing a large level of sales. That’s just an excessive amount of work for some of your customers, who be far more more likely to buy from among your credit-card-accepting competitors.

Accepting bank cards will also…

  • Give your business a amount of credibility,
  • Enable you to capture the sales of impulse buyers, and
  • Supply you with a fully automated payment and tracking system.
  • But before you can begin accepting bank cards at your website, there are two considerations you need to do: 1) Set up a secure server to process credit card transactions, and 2) setup a merchant account.

    At this time, you might be thinking, "How I am I likely to do that? I don’t even understand what secure servers or merchant accounts are!" Don’t worry–the concepts are actually simple. With slightly effort and patience, you’ll soon be accepting credit card payments on your own site and reaping huge rewards.

    For your website to be as professional as your visitors expect it to be, it must include a secure server that protects your customers’ confidential information and provides them the confidence to safely enter their credit card numbers.

    A secure server is merely a computer server that may accept and transmit confidential information such as for example credit card numbers without the chance of someone intercepting the transmission and "stealing" the info. The info is kept secure through encryption, which only the oldest browsers don’t support. You could find out more about secure servers by contacting merchant account providers, which just is actually the next phase in getting the site prepared to accept credit card payments.

    You have a few different alternatives when obtaining a merchant account:

    You can obtain your own merchant credit card accounts with an area bank. Should you have a good relationship together with your bank–and they don’t really need a large security deposit–it’s better to get your merchant credit card accounts through them. You might, however, have to proceed through two different banks to process the major cards–Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover–because some banks cope with only two out of your four providers.

    Another problem with local banks is that they often times charge an extremely high "discount rate" or need a large security deposit (between $5,000 and $10,000) before they’ll create an account for you personally. For anybody who don’t know just what a discount rate is, it isn’t a really "discount" at all! It is the percentage you pay on each transaction for the privilege of using credit card services, and it varies according to your credit history, business history and how much business your site does.

    For example, should you have a discount rate of 2.5 percent and you make a debit card sale for $100, you’ll only receive $97.50. The rest of the $2.50 would go to the credit card issuer.

    You can obtain merchant credit card accounts through an agent. Getting the merchant credit card accounts through an agent is my own preference for several reasons:

  • They’re web-based specialists in getting credit card makes up about internet sites, and, as can be expected, you can apply on the internet.
  • They have an increased approval rate than banks and really should be capable of geting you a discount rate of 2-3 3 percent, even if you have been bankrupt.
  • They’re affordable and may frequently have you accepting credit card payments on your own site in less than 48 hours.
  • Finding an agent isn’t difficult–searching online should generate numerous results. But research your facts and make certain the broker you select has a good background. There are several shady operators out there, so be cautious whom you decide on.

    You can hire a fulfillment house and use their credit card accounts. If your company does just a few thousand dollars of business every month, a fulfillment house could be a good option for you personally. A fulfillment house is a company that may…

  • Take your orders through a toll-free number with live operators,
  • Process bank cards,
  • Provide some customer support,
  • Ship orders, and
  • Sustain your customer database.
  • These companies may also enable you to use their merchant credit card accounts to process your orders for a fee. The downside is that the discount rate fee is normally 5 percent rather than the two or three 3 percent you’ll pay in the event that you had your own accounts. As a result of high discount rate charged by fulfillment houses, I’d advise that once your business grows larger, you get your own merchant accounts and stretch your budget.

    A great spot to find nearly 100 fulfillment houses is Yahoo!’s Fulfillment Services Directory. To make it happen, simply click on "Directory" at Yahoo!’s homepage and seek out "fulfillment houses."

    You need to use a "third party" merchant account provider. Like fulfillment houses, companies such as for example iBill enable you to use their merchant accounts. The upside of third-party providers is they can get you ready to go quickly, create your order forms and process your orders. The downside is that they ask you for a processing fee of 11 to 15 percent of the value, based on the quantity of business you’re doing.

    As the discount rate provided by these businesses is substantially greater than the other options I am talking about, most do not require any setup fees, software or security deposits, which will make them a straightforward and convenient option for a few.

    Furthermore to iBill, you might have a look at CC Bill, Authorize.Net or CyberSource.

    How PayPal Can BOOST YOUR Sales PayPal is an ever more popular way to simply accept payments online. Founded in 1998, this service enables anybody or business with an e-mail address to receive and send payments online affordably, securely and quickly.

    For starters, I’d like you to learn that PayPal has improved its service–making it a straight better payment alternative for your website. Among PayPal’s biggest limitations used to be that customers had a need to setup a PayPal account prior to making payments, however, not anymore. For new users, registering for a PayPal account is currently optional. This means your visitors can complete their payments and decide whether to create a merchant account.

    The necessity to establish a merchant account first used to operate a vehicle people away, but through the elimination of that requirement, PayPal has dramatically increased your possible client base and made buying your product easier–which always results in higher sales and growth for your business. Furthermore to reaching an already established network greater than 64 million accounts in 45 countries, PayPal has plenty of other benefits for you personally:

  • It’s secure. After establishing an account, customers need not hand out credit card details to every individual company. And you understand you’re coping with verified buyers.
  • There’s no dependence on a merchant account to simply accept credit card orders, which is convenient and cheap if you are just getting started.
  • Your visitors can choose to pay by credit card, bank-account or PayPal balance.
  • It supports payments in U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, euros, pounds sterling, and Japanese yen, making cross-border sales easier than ever before.
  • It’s free for customers and affordable for smaller businesses.
  • Setup is fast, and you may begin in minutes.
  • PayPal charges you a fee of just one 1.9 to 2.9 percent of the transaction plus 30 cents per order, based on your company’s sales volume. The very best part is that fees are just applied when you accept a payment, and there are no setup or monthly charges. To begin with using PayPal, just head to their site and click on the "SUBSCRIBE Now" button.

    Debit Cards If you want to have the edge on your own competitors, you might like to consider setting up your website to simply accept debit card payments online. Here’s why: Debit card use is now hugely popular. Actually, according to AllBusiness.com, although credit card purchases have already been expanding by about 15 percent for days gone by five years, debit card purchases have already been growing even faster–at an interest rate greater than 50 percent each year. By the finish of 2005, credit and debit cards are anticipated to take into account 43 percent of most purchases in THE UNITED STATES, proving that you could no more ignore customers who wish to pay by debit card on the internet.

    But before I let you know how accepting debit cards online can help your business grow, it is important that you realize how debit cards work, plus the different types that are in use.

    Whenever a payment is made utilizing a debit card, the funds are immediately withdrawn from the purchaser’s bank-account. There is no "pay later" option with a debit card. With a debit card, you pay now.

    There are basically two types of debit cards. The foremost is a signature-based card which has a Visa or MasterCard logo onto it. You need to use these cards anywhere Visa and MasterCard are accepted. If you are already accepting credit card payments online, you have to be in a position to accept this type of payment aswell. Just consult with your merchant account provider.

    The next type is an individual identification number (PIN-based) debit card. I’m sure the majority of you have at least seen this sort of card used at offline stores–you swipe your card through a little reader and enter your PIN number, causeing this to be kind of debit card impossible to use online…as yet.

    A company called UseMyBank is rolling out software which allows purchasers to gain access to their own bank accounts and purchase goods and services instantly. The process ‘s almost identical to paying bills online together with your bank, and the amount of money is immediately extracted from your account, exactly like by using a debit card.

    Here’s how it operates. If your customer decides to utilize this service to purchase something, they’ll be asked to choose their bank, along with which account they would like to pay from. You’re then immediately notified of their payment and may start your delivery process. Among the best top features of this service is that your visitors don’t have to quit some of their credit or banking information for you, making this probably the most secure possibilities.

    And likewise to providing another payment option for those who can’t stand to use bank cards for online purchases, this technique also targets teens, who represent an enormous market but who often don’t possess access to bank cards.

    UseMyBank happens to be available only in Canada, however the company is launching its service internationally in the next quarter of the year. That is why I’m giving you these details now–so you can stay before your competitors by giving your customers with the most recent and easiest methods to pay online.

    To learn more about how you can provide your visitors this payment option, just head to UseMyBank’s websiteand take a glance around. Signing up is easy, and the site will be able to answer all of your questions.

    Offline Payment Options Furthermore to providing the web payment alternatives I am discussing, it’s still very essential that you give customers the choice of ordering and paying offline to make sure you capture the utmost number of sales. Many folks are still nervous about offering their credit card information on the internet, despite secure servers, plus some customers will always want to consult with a live person. Giving your visitors the option of talking to a "real" person adds credibility and a human element to your website.

    Another benefit is that the individual taking the decision can answer customers’ questions in addition to help "close" the sale by encouraging customers and providing them with the final push to get. To make sure you can capture the orders of the customers, it’s also advisable to have a toll-free number available 24/7 and provide an order form customers can print out and fax or mail.

    Final Thoughts If you are not already accepting bank cards directly from a secure order form on your own site, you’re passing up on a wide array of sales. With 90 percent of most online purchases being made out of bank cards, you literally can’t afford never to offer this payment option on your own site.

    However, even if you are setup to process bank cards online, you can’t leave your website off limits to the thousands of people who don’t possess or want to use bank cards. To utilize this lucrative market, you need to provide a few of the alternative payment methods I’ve mentioned previously.

    Also keep in mind that furthermore to PayPal and debit cards, you may still find plenty of other online payment methods, including e-checks, e-wallets, person-to-person e-mail payments and so forth, that you might want to explore.

    Making it possible for your potential customers to accomplish business with you is vital to your web success. It doesn’t mean you have to provide all of the payment methods available, but if you are seriously interested in maximizing your sales, it’s good to learn what’s out there so that you can make sure you’re benefiting from your options that best suit your kind of business and customers.

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