Starting an Internet Business part 2
This is a continuation of the Starting an Internet Business. In this section we will look at basic payment options and provide some insight as to the cost involved.
Open A Merchant Account
A merchant account is an account that allows you to accept credit and debit card payments. In the past, you could only get a merchant account via opening such an account at a bank. However, you now have other options besides the traditional banks, including PayPal and Stripe.
No matter which option(s) you choose to have a merchant account, all merchant accounts provide you with the ability to process credit and debit card transactions. For each transaction that is processed, a percentage of the amount will be taken as compensation, known as a transaction fee. This is often in the 2-3% range, depending on the company providing you with the merchant account and sometimes even the amount of the transaction itself.
PayPal and Stripe are two companies that are really merchant account “aggregators.” Unlike merchant accounts with a bank, PayPal and Stripe allow virtually anyone to have the ability to process credit and debit card transactions, even if their business is brand new and has no history or track record of success.
Conversely, banks need to verify your business plan and know you are a legitimate business before they will consider giving you a merchant account and the ability to process credit and debit card payments. (In fact, you need a business bank account to get a merchant account with a bank).
Fees or Contracts
In addition, PayPal and Stripe don’t require a monthly fee or a contract, whereas traditional merchant accounts do. Thus, if you are just starting out in business, PayPal and/or Stripe are a good way to get a merchant account quickly and begin to take order payments quickly.
How to Open an Account with PayPal
To open a merchant account with PayPal, you need to visit the PayPal home page, click “Business” at the top of the page, and click “Get Started” on the resulting page. You then choose between “Payments Pro,” “Payments Standard,” and “Express Checkout,” depending on the features you want to have with your checkout process. The Pro version has a $30 monthly fee, but has all options available, including customizing the checkout experience and customers paying directly on your website, whereas the other two options don’t have monthly fees but fewer features. Choose the option that best fits your vision of the checkout process at this point in time for your business. Each transaction processed by PayPal will cost 2.9% + $0.30.
How to Open and Account with Stripe
To open a merchant account with Stripe, go to the Stripe home page, click “Create Account.” You will then need to register an account with an email address and password. You then can choose between whether you want to “pay as you go” or contact Stripe’s sales team and go with the “Enterprise” option. The “pay as you go” option involves charging 2.9% of the transaction plus an additional $0.30 cents of every transaction processed through Stripe, the same exact amount that PayPal takes with each transaction. ACH and Bitcoin payments are charged 0.8% plus an additional amount up to $5 (for payments of $625+). The “Enterprise” option gives you volume discounts (i.e. lower transaction fees for a higher volume of transactions), dedicated support, migration assistance from a previous payment processor to Stripe’s system, and account management tools. Again, you’ll need to assess the options to determine the best choice for your business.
A little More Info About the Banks
As mentioned previously, you can also choose to open up a merchant account with a bank, but you will need to provide the bank with details on your business, including its name, purpose, and plan. If they are convinced of your business’ longevity and stability (including a good history of your own credit standing), they will likely grant you a merchant account. Be sure to know about any monthly fees, promotional pricing where the rate is lower for the first few months and then increases, equipment leasing fees, etc. before you decide to open a merchant account with a bank to ensure you know the cost involved ahead of time.