If you want to get your existing business online or you have an idea for a completely new online business, you’ll need to be able to take payments over the internet. If you can’t do this you can’t run your business – it’s as simple as that.
If you want to take payments online you will need a merchant account, something you can get from many of the major banks in the UK. These include Lloyds, Barclays, RBS and HSBC among others. A full guide can be read here.
This is basically a specific kind of bank account that permits you to accept card payments (both credit and debit cards) over the internet. You will also find other online based companies that can provide you with the merchant account you need. These include Sagepay and Nochex.
The idea is that customers can pay online and the money will be deposited from their account into your business account. It doesn’t matter what type of business you run – if you want to accept payments online of any kind, you’ll need to make sure you have a merchant account. If you already have a business account but you haven’t needed to take online payments before now, speak to your business manager. You may be able to add this service to your existing account.
It’s no good having a merchant account if you don’t have your own website to sell from. It can take time to set up a proper professional looking website but it is time well spent. There are companies that provide you with the ability to build your own site faster and more easily than you would on your own; do some research online and see what you come up with. This can be the easiest way to get up and running.
Amazon has a Webstore service that is quick and easy to get started with. This works in the same way as many other similar services. It charges a monthly fee for the privilege of running your store, with the potential for additional fees depending on your situation. Alternatively you can hire a web designer to create your website for you (and possibly host it as well).
In simple terms your customer will pay for a product by depositing the money into your business bank account. When this is done online, you need to make sure the link between the customer and your bank is 100% secure and safe for them to use. This is where payment service providers come in. You need a gateway between your customer and your bank account, and that’s what you get with this service. A list of PSP’s can be seen here
It’s easy to confuse a gateway with a merchant account, but the two are distinctly different. The gateway is the link that connects your customer to your account so the payment can be safely processed. This provides peace of mind for your customer and a fast and efficient way of getting funds into your bank account too.
There are several payment service providers out there, so it makes sense to consider which one will serve your needs best. Some banks provide this service along with their merchant accounts, but it doesn’t mean their service will be the best one for your needs. It is perfectly possible to get a different payment gateway in place that provides everything you want, so be sure to shop around to see what each provider has to offer. Some of the names you will come across include Payment Sense, Worldpay and Cardsave.
As you can see no business wanting to sell online can do without these three elements. Make sure you do your research and get the best solutions for your needs in each case. No two businesses are the same; what works for one may not necessarily work for you. With the right facilities you too can take online payments.