How To Accept Payments Online

Assuming that you’ve decided on a product that will work for an online business, you’re probably beginning to wonder how on earth you’ll get paid for online purchases. Fortunately, it’s actually a pretty simple process in this day and age.

The first thing you need to know, though, is that you MUST be able to accept credit cards. When eBay started out, most sellers accepted personal checks or money orders in payments. The buyer would have to send off the payment and wait for the check to clear before the seller could ship their item. These days, eBay will not even allow you to list an item unless you provide an electronic means of payment.

Don’t panic, though — there are three very simple methods that will allow you to accept plastic online:

1. PayPal

PayPal is the world’s most popular method of making online purchases for a reason: it’s easy, safe, fast, and doesn’t have any monthly fees or sign-up costs. With PayPal, the buyer submits their credit card information to PayPal, a known and trusted organization, rather than you, who they don’t know. PayPal then processes the transaction on their behalf and immediately deposits the funds in your PayPal account. You can then withdraw them to your personal bank account.

The benefits here are obvious: safety, ease of use, and speed. The only downside to PayPal is that you will end up paying a percentage of your profits in exchange for their services. Keep in mind, though, that you’re not likely to find a company that does this sort of work for you out of the goodness of their hearts.

2. Google Checkout

Google Checkout is becoming increasingly popular with online merchants. Most people are familiar with Google and instinctively trust the name since they know it’s, at least, a real company. Furthermore, Google allows customers to shop a wide variety of participating stores and organize all of their purchases at once.

In practice, Google Checkout works similarly to PayPal, and its fees are similar as well. That means that you can feel free to offer both of these as methods of payment on your site, since you won’t be charged unless someone uses them.

3. Merchant Accounts

For some businesses, the old fashioned methods are still best. A merchant account at your local bank will allow you to accept credit card payments (online or otherwise). This is a particularly good option if your business is not conducted solely online — if you plan to do some selling in the physical world or if you want to do phone business.

Unlike PayPal and Google Checkout, merchant accounts come with monthly fees, but conversely they carry lower transaction fees. Most online businesses start with PayPal or its equivalent and move onto a merchant account if necessary.


Want to sit down with me or one of our other experts to talk about how your business can start accepting online payments? Click here to request a free consulting session!


Conrad Close
Marketing Manager,
Wise Internet Solutions

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