The Official Merchant Services Blog delves into Payment Gateways today. We’re going to examine the pros that exist for businesses in using Payment Gateways to establish an online business presence and accept online payments. We also detail some of the basic questions you want to ask yourself about e-commerce, why you want an e-commerce presence for your business, and how much the two Host Merchant Services Payment Gateway options cost.
Why Do I Want To Start Collecting Online Payments In the First Place?
The easiest answer is that it opens up a new market for you and improves your cash-flow.
Online payments give you the ability to accept credit cards through a Payment Gateway itself, or through a third-party add-on, without a lot of trouble or delay. Your clients can pay you quickly with a credit card transaction and the money is in your bank fast.
This increases your cash-flow. You no longer need to wait for a physical check to show up in the mail, then spend time depositing that check in the bank, and then waiting days for the check to clear before you can access the money.
Accepting online payments also opens your business up to a wider potential customer base. Beyond just the local draw your brick and mortar business can attract, the ability to set up an effective e-commerce business lets you reach out to customers far away. Online shopping, especially as we close in on the holiday shopping season, is booming. And virtual shopping options for your website (e-commerce solutions) all hinge on having a way to process payments through your website. In short, to cash in on the online shopping potential your business has, you need a payment gateway in place to process those transactions.
Also, accepting online payments allows you the ability to charge your client’s credit card on a recurring basis (for monthly, quarterly or annual services). This process can be automated, making recurring revenue streams a reliable and predictable source of income.
What are the Costs of Using Payment Gateways?
Most Payment Gateways charge a base monthly fee as well as a “discount rate” for each sale (usually 2-4% of the sale). Monthly fees are generally charged for premium options that can include added support, personal branding for your business and other miscellaneous functions.
Host Merchant Services offers two basic Payment Gateway options: Authorize.net, and HMSExpress. Authorize.net, which is one of the three largest Payment Gateways offered, costs HMS Merchants a base fee of $10.00 a month and 5 cents per transaction. HMSExpress, the new virtual terminal solution that HMS offers, costs its merchants $10 a month and has no added fees for individual transactions.
When analyzing your options, you want to balance the costs of the services against the additional value these services bring to you and your business. One basic way to evaluate the cost of even having a payment gateway is: What is it worth to you to get paid faster for online transactions than you do for check transactions? What is it worth to your business to be able to process more transactions during the holiday season because you can attract business from all over the country?
Questions like that are what you have to consider when you decide if you want your business to transition to an online one. In our next part of the series, we’re going to get into the details of how Payment Gateways work and see what other questions you have to consider when trying to decide which Payment Gateway to use.