When working as a freelancer, or running a business out of your home, being able to accept credit cards can make receiving a payment from your customers much simpler. You won’t have to worry about waiting on a check to come in the mail or accepting a payment in person. If you have a website or smartphone, you can accept payments on either device. Here are a few things to consider when deciding how to begin accepting credit card payments.
Setting Up a Shopping Cart
One of the easiest ways to be able to accept credit cards on your website is to set up a shopping cart. With this option in place, you’ll put a shopping cart platform, much like the one you find on Amazon or any other large online retailer, so your customers can place orders online, even when the office is closed. When they’re ready to check out, your shopping cart platform will prompt them to provide their credit card information.
Then, a third-party payment processor will process the payment and forward the money to you. Now, just so you aren’t thrown for a loop later on, these arrangements will require you to sign up for an account with this payment processor, who will take either a flat fee or a percentage of each sale in exchange for providing you the ability to take credit card payments. But once you’ve created your account, you’ll be given a code to paste into your website HTML that, once placed properly in your site code, will give you the ability to accept these card payments.
Using Mobile Payment Processors
Another great way to accept credit cards is through your an app on your smartphone. With this approach, you can actually get a card reader that connects directly to your smartphone. Once you’ve connected the reader to your phone, you can start scanning credit cards and debit cards through your device, and can even have customers sign right on your smartphone’s screen. You also have the option of entering the credit card numbers into your phone through an application rather than scan the card. This makes credit card processing possible to take payments, even if your customer and their card aren’t right there with you.
Choosing the Right Program
When you’re trying to decide which program to sign up for, it’s important to make sure you have a thorough understanding of the terms you’re agreeing to. There are plenty of programs out there to use, and they all have different costs and ways they charge a business owner. You’ll most likely have to pay a transaction fee every time you process a payment, along with a small percentage of the sale. Some companies also charge a monthly fee or an annual fee.
There are other fees associated with these programs that you also have to be aware of. Some merchant service providers may be a better fit for you than others, depending on the frequency at which you currently run credit cards, and how often you anticipate you’ll run these payments in the future. For example, if you only run a few transactions each month, then it may not be that big of a deal for you to pay a slightly higher percentage for each transaction if the monthly or annual fee is less expensive than another competitor’s options. Once you find the right program for your business, get comfortable with how the merchant services work with your website and smartphone, set up your account and look forward to it being easier than ever for you to get paid for your hard work.
Bradley Derringer is a blogger for TechBreach, giving you the latest on all things tech.