The type of credit cards that you can accept will depend on many factors. The most important of these is the type of cards your customers prefer using. If the majority of your customers use American credit cards, this means you will be charged a domestic rate which is low.
If the majority of your customers are international because your business is in tourism or related industries, you may be charged a rate which is much higher. Generally, international credit cards carry the highest fees; so if possible, you will want to accept domestic credit cards so that you can save money.
Visa and MasterCard
Visa and MasterCard are the standard credit cards that are accepted both in the United States and worldwide. Other credit cards which are widely used include Discover and American Express. It is best to focus on accepting cards which are widely used, as this will be convenient for both you and your customers. By accepting major credit cards, it is possible to increase your revenues by as much as forty percent. However, in order to accept credit cards for your business, there are a number of terms you should become familiar with. The first of these is the merchant account.
Tools Needed to Accept Credit Card Payments
Merchant accounts are mandatory for being able to accept payments by credit card. They assist credit card companies in dealing with disputes or fraudulent transactions before they are placed in a company’s checking account. Merchant accounts are best thought of as intermediaries which temporarily hold the payments which are made by credit card. All credit card payments must be made through a POS, or Point of Sale. In a physical store, this will include much of the equipment which will be found in a checkout line, including the register, credit card terminal and the printer for the receipt.
If you’re operating an e-commerce business, the POS will be the webpage where the customer must fill out the form with their credit card number and other information. These websites will typically have “shopping carts” that allow customers to select items that they wish to purchase. In addition to a merchant account, accepting credit card payments over the web will require a payment gateway. The payment gateway includes both the form where customers must enter their credit card data, as well as the technology which must securely manage those payments.
In addition to physical stores and websites, credit card payments can also be accepted by smart phones. A growing number of consumers are using their cell phones to purchase things, both online and in physical shops and restaurants. Accepting credit card payments via mobile phone will require a merchant account and a mobile card reader. This is a device which turns a cell phone into the same type of credit card terminal that has been used in stores for years, and it allows customers to swipe their cards. Once the transaction is completed, the funds are transferred to a merchant account, after which it will be placed in your checking account.