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Guide to E-Commerce


Beginners' Guide to E-Commerce
By:June Campbell

Accepting Credit Card Transactions
Merchant Accounts
    About Chargebacks
    High Risk Processors
    Internet Merchant Account
    Credit Card Processing Services
Setting Up: The Technology
Shopping Carts
Ecommerce: The Dark Side
    Credit Card Fraud
    Internet Shoplifting
    Tips for Protecting Yourself Against Online Credit Card Fraud
Alternative Ecommerce Methods
    Telephone Billing Services
    Electronic Payment Systems
    Person to Person Technologies (P2P)
    One Stop Shops
International Merchants
Beyond Ecommerce

You have something you want to sell on the Internet. Maybe it's a book, or a CD or
a piece of software you wrote. You are in luck. The time has never been better.
Internet shopping has become a mainstream activity. Increasing numbers of people
are willing to open the wallet to purchase items or services over the Net.

"But," you say, "How do I collect the money from the customer?"

Good question. There are several methods of collecting monies from online sales.
Many online merchants offer 2-3 choices of payment methods so customers will
have options.

1. First, you can ask online customers to send you a check. When the check
arrives and clears the bank, you deliver the product. If this is your only method of
transacting a sale, you will lose many, many customers. The Internet is based on
impulse buying. Very few people will go to effort of writing and mailing a check,
and then wait several weeks for delivery. Most merchants offer this option to
accommodate people who do not have credit cards.

2. Persons who are already accepting credit card transactions for products or
services they sell offline can ask web customers to phone or fax you with their
credit card information. Then, you can process the transaction manually. Please
avoid asking people to email you their credit card information. Almost everyone
knows that email is insecure and this request will damage your credibility in the
eyes of potential customers. If you opt for the phone method, be prepared to handle
calls 24/7. The Internet is a global community and people expect to shop at their

You will attract more sales if you provide an 800 number. However, be aware that
800 numbers are not globally accessible. You risk losing international sales if this is
your only method of transacting payments.

Asking customers to phone in their credit information will generate more sales than
asking for checks. However, your sales will be increase considerably if you provide
a means for customers to make their payments online.

3. You can accept credit card transactions online over secure lines.
Internet merchants indicate that this method is the single most effective means of
conducting transactions. Without the ability to process credit cards, your online
sales will be a fraction of what they could be. More about this later.

4. You can use alternative methods of accepting online payment. There are
several alternative technologies available. Each comes with its own strengths and
weaknesses. Your choice will depend upon your individual situation. More later.




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