How to Accept Online Payments
Without a Merchant Account
If you operate a small business from your home and
have been thinking of moving it online to take advantage of a
"global audience," this article is for you.
A lot of people I talk to are hesitant to start
selling online due to the "red tape" of getting a merchant
account, a secured server certificate, and if needed, shopping
cart software. That is not to mention the huge expense of paying
someone to put it all together for you.
Well, listen up: Forget all of that. I'm here to
tell you that you can test the waters of online selling without
going to a lot of trouble and expense.
There are many third party credit card and online
check providers who are willing to help you get your e-commerce
business up and running in no time. Some of them may only work
with sites selling tangible goods and others for intangibles,
like services. Before choosing one make sure you thoroughly check
them out and pick the one that suits your needs.
So what do they do? Well, they provide a secured
Web site you can link to, where they process your customers' credit
card orders. For all of this convenience they take a small piece
of the pie, usually ranging from 7 to 15%.
Let's take a look at a few of them and what they
have to offer:
1) iBill: This is the one I use to sell my promotional
services. If you sell services or other intangibles, this one
will work for you. There are no set up fees, or software to download
and your services can range in price from $2.95 to $100.00. You
do need to make what iBill calls a "webgood page," so
you need to know how to create a Web page and upload it to their
server. iBill takes 15% of the amount charged during any billing
period and sends you a check twice a month. They make it easy
to get started, and after signing up you can be up and selling
online within 48 hours.
2) Valid Check: I've used Valid Check for years
to accept online check payments. Being able to accept checks and
credit cards is important because it gives potential customers
a choice when ordering from you. The more choices you can give
them, the more sales you will have. Basic charges are as follows:
- $4.95 monthly minimum
- $29.95 One-time setup.
- Free Secure Order Page
- FREE Remote Printing Software*
- NO percentage fees
- 99¢ Transaction Fee**
Once you sign up they supply you with easy-to-set-up
links that you can paste into your site. You have two options
when it comes to collecting your money: You can download their
free software and print out your own checks, or opt for them to
mail your checks twice a month (for an added fee of 36¢ per
3) ClickBank: This is the e-commerce choice for
thousands of business Web sites. ClickBank can also be used to
set up your own Associate program, where you allow others to resell
your services or products for a small commission. While this service
is not available to process payments for tangible goods, it is
the perfect solution for real-time sales of your services or digital
products. ClickBank allows you to accept Visa, MC, Amex, and Discover.
They charge a one time activation fee of 49.95 and $1.00 plus
7.5% fee on each sale.
4) DigiBuy: This one is ideal for those selling
software or information. DigiBuy allows you to accept Visa, MC,
AMEX, and Discover. Setup is quick and easy. You have complete
control of pricing, order forms, and delivery options. Their fee
is 13.9% of each sale.
5)Online Billing Solutions (OBS): Allows you to
take all major credit cards. After review of their site I could
not find if you can sell tangible or intangibles, so I'm assuming
you can do both. There are no setup or monthly fees, but they
do take a 15% cut of your sales. It is simple to set up; you place
a line of HTML code on your site, linking into their secured server.
Transactions can range in price from $3.00 to $100.00 and money
is paid to you twice a month.
6) CC Now: Used for selling tangible merchandise,
CC Now is a full service electronic commerce solution. Their integrated
shopping cart software encourages customers to purchase multiple
items at once. It is free to sign up, and they charge no monthly
fees, however they do collect a 9% commission on each sale. Pay-outs
are twice a month. CC Now allows you to take all major credit
cards and notifies you by e-mail of any sales, so you can ship
If you're looking for an easy way to start selling
online without putting up a lot of cash, this really is the best
way to get your feet wet and see if Web selling will work for
you. If it does, you can always apply for a merchant account down
the road and save on the transaction fees.
The ability to sell your products/services online
is not difficult or expensive, you just need to know where to
look for help.