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istock_000004956913xsmallWhether you are an established traditional business looking to add eCommerce, or a start up, you need to be able to process credit card payments online.  There are many costs to consider so we always encourage our customers to shop around.

Below is a quick primer on what to expect if you are dealing with a traditional merchant provider like Moneris, Global Payments or Chase Paymentech.

  1. MOTO Accounts:  Even if you have an existing merchant account for your store, trade show, or wholesale business, your merchant provider will require you to have what is known as a “Mail Order, Telephone Order” account.  These usually have a higher discount rate than your store or card present accounts.

  2. Accounts for each currency: To process transactions in a variety of currencies, you need a merchant account for each currency you will be accepting.

  3.  Application Fees: Some merchant providers want you to pay fees for the pleasure of doing business with them.  These application fees are separate from fees associated with setting up your online payment gateway.

  4. Security Deposit: Because banks feel there is a greater chance of fraud with online transactions they frequently ask for security deposits.  These can be quite substantial and are based on your expected transaction volumes and the nature of your business.  There are other services that provide online merchant accounts and a payment gateway that have rolling hold backs. Rather than asking you for a security deposit up front, they keep some of your money for a period of time.

  5. Monthly fees: These are the costs of having the accounts and are separate from the online payment gateway fees. 

You do have other options to standard merchant account providers.  These include PayPal and companies like those mentioned above that specialize in accounts for online merchants.  We will cover those in another post.  I always recommending starting your shopping with your current provider for ease of administration, but the costs have to make sense.

Once you have been approved for your MOTO account you will have to get set up with a payment gateway which we will also cover in another post.

Unfortunately our customers tell us that for the most part the merchant account people that they deal with don't know a lot about eCommerce requirements.  Transactional eCommerce sites are still not the norm so it is not something they deal with regularly.
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