How to Accept Credit Cards If You’re Starting a Business

Written by: Valencia Higuera

The success of your new business depends on customers and sales, and without a steady stream of both, your business is likely to fail within the first year. As a business owner, you have to make your product easily accessible to your customers. Some business owners offer payment plans and allow customers to spread out their payments, whereas others set up their businesses knowing how to accept credit cards.

Running a cash business and accepting checks is simple and eliminates credit card processing fees. But at the end of the day, this method limits your client-base and reduces your potential earnings. The majority of people who browse your selection of products or inquire about your service are unable to pay in cash, and once they discover that your business does not accept credit cards, they might go elsewhere.

You can alleviate this headache by knowing how to accept credit cards.

Credit Card Processing Terminal

If you have a store or an office away from your home, the ability to accept customer credit cards is crucial to success and you need a credit card processing terminal. To accept credit cards at your business location, contact your bank to set up a merchant account, which is basically an account that allows credit card transactions. You have to submit an application for a merchant account with your bank. If approved, your bank agrees to act as the middleman and handle the transfer of funds. The bank withdraws funds from your customers accounts and deposits these funds into your account.

You need a credit card processing machine to run your customers credit cards and you can lease machines from your bank or a third-party company. Credit card processing machines connect to a modem or phone line and this connection lets you verify the availability of funds at the point-of-sale. Credit card processing fees per transaction are between 1% and 3% of the sale.

PayPal Account

Applying for a merchant account and obtaining a credit card processing machine isn’t a quick process. And if you run a home-based business or process a small amount of credit card payments each month, a merchant account may be more than you need. If you have access to the Internet and a bank account, you can create a PayPal business account and accept credit card payments via the Internet. Obtain a virtual terminal for $30 a month and you can send invoices, include PayPal as a payment option on your website or run your customers credit card numbers yourself directly on PayPal. And with PayPal’s low fees, you pay 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction.

Smartphone Credit Card Reader

Mobile businesses need a quick and convenient way to accept credit cards. You cannot operate a credit card processing machine in your vehicle, but if you have an iPhone, an Android phone or a Blackberry phone, you can download an app that lets you process credit cards on your smartphone. The majority of apps are free and feature minimal startup fees. Setup a merchant account with your bank or another company and you’re ready to accept payments. Whether you run a mobile car detailing business, a delivery service, a housekeeping service or other mobile business, you can attach a credit card reader to your phone’s output and swipe credit cards, or type your customer’s credit card information directly into the app.


How to Accept Credit Cards If You’re Starting a...

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