Merchant Accounts and Payment Gateways

Read about opening an online store and the first thing that up is merchant accounts and payment gateways. What are these things and why is it so complicated? Short answer … MONEY is what it is about … and complicated? Yes, but I’ll try to simplify it.

This confused me completely when I first started the journey into online selling. And the more I read the more confused I was until I finally chose the easiest solution rather than the best.

Merchant Accounts

First, you’re told you must have a Merchant Account. So what is a merchant account, anyway? Simply, this is a mediator between your website and your bank. Some banks offer merchant accounts, but usually the cost is high.

Merchant accounts range from FREE to lots of $$$$. Paypal offers a free service where you link out to them and they handle the money transaction and return the customer to your website when the transaction is complete. It’s not the best, but the price is right. All you need is a PayPal account for the money. Then you “link” it to your bank account and you can transfer money from PayPal to your bank in 2-3 days.

This option doesn’t require an SSL certificate, which will come later. Just open a store with a shopping cart, choose PayPal as the payment option and in the internal website settings, put your PayPal email address. That’s it.  Easy peasy.

$$$ Merchant Accounts

Next, I decided, the The Daily Flag needed to be more professional. We needed an SSL certificate and a REAL Merchant Account. PayPal offers this, too. For just $30/month plus a percentage of each sale, plus a transaction fee, they will hook you up. You have to install more “stuff” on your website to make it work, but most shopping cart plugins for WordPress will help with this.

If you’re just beginning, this can be an expensive.

$ Merchant Accounts

There are other options you can choose. Last year, I changed to Stripe for my merchant account. Many WordPress shopping carts, including WooCommerce, include a Stripe component. This makes it simple to use Stripe. What does Stripe cost? Just a small percentage of each sale. No monthly fees, no transaction fees. Easier to do the math with Stripe.

As with others, you “link” Stripe to your bank account and money is automatically moved in 2-3 days.

What I like about Stripe

The main thing I like about Stripe is, if you sell something, you pay. If you don’t sell anything this month, you don’t pay.

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