How to Choose the Best eCommerce Merchant Accounts?
Only a few decades ago, the internet allowed you to sell and buy online. The eCommerce industry has grown dramatically over the past few decades, disrupting traditional retail businesses and creating new opportunities for consumers and merchants. The options available to consumers are not limited to what is readily available in their own locality. Merchant Account for eCommerce can, however, expand their customer base beyond the local area to include the whole globe.
Whether you are looking to start an eCommerce-only company Add an online presence to existing retail operations Before you can make your first sale, there are a few things you will need. The most important thing You’ll need is a way for customers to pay you for your products right away. Unlike retail merchants, Who can accept cash and paper checks? You will likely need to be able to accept credit and debit cards, or failing that, ACH payments. These types of payments were traditionally accepted only through merchant accounts. This account is used to process the payments of your customers and transfer the funds to you, as the merchant.
This article will briefly discuss the services that you need to start an eCommerce business. These include online shopping carts and payment gateways as well as shipping services (for sellers selling physical goods). Next, we will discuss merchant accounts in detail, including what features you should look for and how much to expect to pay. A few of our top-rated providers will be recommended to you that are perfect for your web-based business.
What is an eCommerce-merchant account?
An eCommerce merchant account refers to a merchant account that is specifically designed for online sellers. eCommerce merchant services providers should provide tools and integrations that make online transactions simple and secure for customers and merchants. This includes security measures, payment gateways, and web dashboards.
But what is an eCommerce merchant to begin with?
It is a common term to describe any business that sells goods and services online. It could include any one of the following:
- Online retailers that focus on traditional retailers (clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. )
- Artists, artisans, or crafters who make limited-run, handmade goods
- Businesses that subscribe to subscription boxes
- Digital creators (musicians and actors, as well as other content creators)
- Software-as-a-Services (SaaS) providers
These businesses sell most, if not exclusively via the internet. As such, they have more specific requirements for payment processing.
In general, “eCommerce merchant services” refers to any payment processor that allows online payments.
Most eCommerce merchants will benefit from services that provide more toolsets and services optimized for online sales. “Merchandise services” can be defined as a broad term that includes payment processing, reporting, software for businesses, and sometimes merchant cash advances. Not all payment processors or merchant services providers offer true merchant accounts Some fall instead under the ” payment services provider” category (PSP), or ” third-party payment processor.” This article will discuss both traditional merchant accounts as well as third-party processors that support eCommerce.
Also read: How Social Commerce can Boost your Online Sales? – A Complete Guide
Why is an eCommerce-merchant account important?
Given that merchant accounts (or aggregated Merchant Accounts) accept eCommerce transactions, there is nothing to be proud of, why would you need eCommerce merchant services instead?
First, you don’t necessarily need the infrastructure and POS hardware and infrastructure offered by traditional merchant services. On the other hand, you will need the specialized tools and features that eCommerce merchant services offer online sellers. Most merchant services offer both, as having an online presence has become a requirement for most businesses. Each provider will focus on one or the other.
Usually, if an eCommerce merchant service provider offers services for in-person credit card processing, these are very limited. You’ll also have the basics to sell online or in person if you choose a general merchant account. However, you will likely lose out on advanced technical features that give you greater control and power over your eCommerce shop.
4 Best eCommerce merchant services for online brands
Online businesses need the best eCommerce merchant account services. These services include excellent shopping cart tools, payment gateways, and security features to make online transactions simple and easy. These are the top four eCommerce merchant account providers, including Square, Stripe, Payment Cloud, and Payment Depot.
Square is a leading third-party processor in the industry. It started as a POS system for brick-and-mortar businesses. Square’s strengths are still there: small businesses will find Square has quality hardware and extensive support software. Square has developed a reputation for providing quality eCommerce support, including a free online shop and support for shopping carts. Square is a great option if your sales consist of both online and offline transactions.
Square employs a flat-rate pricing structure for all transactions. Square charges 2.9% + $0.30 for eCommerce transactions and invoices. This is the industry standard flat-rate fee to pay online payments. Square offers a lot of services for free, including a classic magstripe card reader, a payment gateway, and a virtual terminal. However, some software requires monthly fees.
- Comprehensive feature set
- Predictable flat-rate pricing
- There are no monthly fees
- Online store/website free
- Support for bricks and mortar in excellent condition
- Account stability
- High transaction volumes may not suit this product.
- International sales support limited
Stripe has put a lot of effort into positioning itself as the Square of eCommerce. Stripe is a one-stop shop for customers and a third-party processor. This comparison works well. While Square is simple to use, Stripe gives developers tools that make it easy for them to customize.
Stripe is available to merchants around the world. It supports many currencies and alternative payment methods. There are also local payment options in North America, Europe, and Asia. There are many marketplace tools available and you can also choose from recurring billing options. Stripe offers a gateway, a web-based payment page, PCI compliance, and the ability for you to migrate customer data in case you need it.
Stripe charges a flat of 2.90% + $0.30 for each transaction. There is no monthly fee, minimum monthly payment, or PCI compliance fee. Stripe also offers ACH payments at 0.8%, which are capped at $5 per month for ACH debit and $1 per ACH payment. Stripe’s most advanced features come at a higher cost per transaction. Make sure you are getting a good return before you add too many features.
- Excellent developer tools
- Predictable flat-rate pricing
- Advanced reporting, subscription and marketplace tools
- Ability to deal with multiple currencies and international sales
- Account stability
- To fully benefit from the platform, you will need technical skills
- Gateway can’t be used by itself
Also read: 7 Tips for Choosing the Right Automation Tools for Your Small Business
Companies that sell products or services that are high risk (think of anything that might fall under the “vice”) will discover that they have fewer payment processor options. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to accept any service. PaymentCloud is an example of what to look for in high-risk payment processors.
PaymentCloud offers eCommerce support. This includes shopping cart integration, ACH processing, and the ability to use any compatible payment gateway.
We don’t always have access to pricing information, as is the case with high-risk payment services. PaymentCloud compares your profile to different back-end processors in order to find you the best deal. This usually means that you will be charged a tiered price, have minimum monthly payments, and are subject to contracts. However, PaymentCloud will treat you fairly.
4. Payment Depot
Many eCommerce payment processors are more familiar to smaller businesses that have a low volume of transactions. While flat-rate pricing can be great for those just starting out, established businesses may prefer a more economical arrangement. Payment Depot can help you with that.
Payment Depot uses membership pricing, sometimes called wholesale pricing or subscription pricing. This pricing model is similar to interchange pricing but with one small difference. Instead of paying the variable portion, you only pay a fixed amount. You pay a monthly membership cost in exchange. Payment Depot charges interchange + $0.15 for each transaction at $59/month. This allows you to make up to $125,000/year in transactions. Starter Plus offers interchange + $0.10 for every transaction at $79/month for up to $250,000/year. The Growth plan is $99/month, and costs interchange + $0.07/transaction. It allows for $500,000/year in transactions. This pricing model works best for high-volume businesses, as you can see.
Payment Depot provides a free shopping cart integration and a payment gateway for eCommerce. This should be enough to get your business started.
4 Have must for any Commerce merchant account
You will need certain eCommerce-related features in a payment processor.
Online shopping carts
An online shopping cart is a simple service that allows you to integrate with your website and display your products to customers. Shopping cart software lets your customers learn more about your products and choose from various options (e.g., color options, clothing sizes, etc.).You can choose how many products you’d like to purchase. Carts can also be used to enhance the online shopping experience for your customers.
You’ll need to choose a shopping cart that seamlessly integrates with your payment gateway. Your shopping cart and gateway must be integrated with your merchant account. As long as you use a well-known shopping cart you won’t have any problems. Before you decide to use your cart, make sure it is compatible with your other components.
Payment Gateways There is a lot of confusion about this because brick-and-mortar merchants do not require them but they are absolutely essential for eCommerce. Sometimes payment gateways are part of a service, such as Stripe, while sometimes they are a standalone service that you add to your merchant account services.
The payment gateway acts as an interface between your website’s merchant account provider’s processor network. Payment gateways send transactions to the processor network in order to authorize a purchase and assess transaction processing fees. The payment gateways offer a variety of valuable features. These include security services that protect customers’ credit cards and databases that can store customer information (e.g., name, billing address or shipping address, credit card information, etc.). So they don’t need to enter it again every time they shop at your site.
Support for multiple payment types
While brick-and-mortar businesses can accept cash, eCommerce merchants are not able to do so. This means that you will have to rely solely on online-friendly payment options. You’ll have fewer customers to turn away when you are able to accommodate more people.
What are the different payment options? It’s a given that credit and debit cards can be used. If they are popular with their clients, some industries may offer the convenience to take American Express or Discover cards. Digital wallets (ApplePay etc.) are less important but still worth consideration. These digital wallets (ApplePay, etc.) offer greater security than traditional online transactions. Businesses that require recurring payments or subscriptions might want to look at eCheck/ACH payments. If you do business internationally, it is important to choose a service that allows payment methods that are most popular in that country.
There are likely to be several pieces of software that you use to manage your business. Each one has its own advantages. Although it is possible to use each of these systems separately, you will save time and effort if they are all integrated.
In other words, integrations allow you to access one program within another. Whether you use an API call or a native integration, all of your core programs should be able to communicate with one another. This feature is important to look for in an eCommerce-ready processor.
Also read: Top 10 E-Commerce Trends You Need to Follow All Time
How to choose the best eCommerce merchant services
Merchant accounts are among the most difficult to understand of all the services that you will need to manage your online business. There are many terms and jargon you might not understand, along with a variety of confusing options when choosing the best provider for your business. We are here to help.
A merchant account should have a fixed-length contract. It should be three years in length. There will be an automatic renewal clause that extends the contract for one-year periods. The processor will also charge an early termination fee (ETF) if your account is closed early.
More services are allowing customers to move month-to-month and are dropping long-term contracts. Merchant services that lock you into a contract should not be used unless you are a high-risk company.
Calculating how much you will pay to process credit card transactions is a key component of any type of eCommerce merchant service.
Your provider must deduct the interchange fee from all transactions. These fees are due to credit card associations (e.g. Visa, Mastercard, etc.). Although they will charge fees to the processor and merchant account provider, this usually is a small percentage of your total processing cost. The way they determine your total processing costs will differ from one provider to another. There are four pricing methods that almost all providers use:
- Flat rate pricing: Flat-rate pricing is often marketed to younger businesses. It simply means that you pay the same price for every card-based transaction. Flat-rate pricing will be a markup on some transactions and a discount on others. It’s good for beginners, but it could be outgrown.
- Tiered pricing: Different transactions will be charged different rates depending on their tier. Typically, the advertised price for the lowest tier is what you will pay. Tiered pricing is not something we like because it’s impossible to predict the rate of each transaction.
- Interchange plus pricing: This pricing model separates interchange fees (credit card companies) from the processor’s fees. This pricing model is popular because it allows you to see exactly what your processor charges per transaction.
- Membership pricing: Also known as wholesale pricing or subscription pricing, membership pricing works in the same way as interchange pricing but it charges a lower per-transaction fee. In return for a monthly charge. Great for high-volume processing.
Do you sell offline but want to expand into eCommerce? Are you just starting out and going entirely online? This answer could change the type of merchant account provider you are looking for. You probably have an existing merchant account if you sell offline. If you are selling offline, you will need to search for compatible gateways and shopping cart support. You might prefer an all-in-one service if you are starting from scratch.
What is an eCommerce merchant?
An eCommerce merchant is someone who sells products and services online.
What services do eCommerce merchant accounts provide?
eCommerce merchant account providers offer services that can help you sell online. These services include payment processing, a shopping cart, payment gateways, and sometimes even web space.
Get started with eCommerce merchant services
Although starting an eCommerce business can be difficult, it is much easier than it was a few years back. It doesn’t matter if you choose a payment service provider, or sign up for an eCommerce merchant account with full-service merchant accounts, selecting the right provider is crucial for getting your business off the ground.