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A merchant account is a contract between your business and credit card providers, usually through a 3rd party, that allows you to accept credit card payments from your customers. A merchant account DOES NOT give you a method of actually taking payments. That's where a "payment gateway" comes in. Many merchant account providers actually provide both.
A merchant account and payment gateway can be fairly expensive to sign up for and have monthly fees that may not be worth spending at first. For small, or new businesses, there are 3rd party alternatives to this, like Paypal, where you can take credit card payments. For low volume sales, this works out cheaper. Paypal also allows you to take payments in many different currencies and with several different payment options. With merchant accounts, more payment options and currencies usually mean higher cost.
In comparison, 3rd party payment providers generally cost less to set up, and have lower (sometimes no) monthly fees, but have a higher percentage fee on each sale, so as sales volume increases, the relative cost for a real merchant account gets better. If you need help deciding which way to go, or finding 3rd party options, contact us.
If you have a brick-and-mortar business, (physical store), you may already have a merchant account, BUT e-commerce (Internet) transactions have a much higher rate of fraud and charge-backs. This is why most brick-and-mortar merchant accounts don't allow you to just start taking payments over the Internet. Some may offer e-commerce options, very likely higher cost, but many don't even offer this. You may need to find a different merchant account provider for your e-commerce sales.
Setting up a merchant account is easier, and cheaper, in some countries than others, but it can be set up for a business in pretty much any country. Because of the differences, we ask that you contact us and let us know what country you are from and we can help you find options.
Our e-commerce package deals, package 6, package 7, or package 8, include our assistance in setting up a merchant account and payment gateway, or a 3rd party alternative, and shopping cart system with a secure checkout.