Online Merchant Services Options

Online Merchant Services

What Are Online Merchant Services?

Online merchant services are available from many merchant account providers. If you business is one that is primary one of outside sales or your are a contractor of some kind, you will need to able to accept credit cards when you do not have access to a telephone line. If your business requires frequent visit to trade shows, flea markets or selling from a vendor’s cart or stand, mobile credit card services are a necessity.

You have several options for online merchant services depending upon your needs and budget.


Wireless Credit Card Processing Terminal

A wireless credit card processing terminal allows you to process credit cards with a wireless connection. You can carry a wireless terminal on sales calls as well as use it in your store location without the expense of a second telephone dedicated to credit card processing. A wireless terminal gives you have the additional benefit of swiping your customers’ that costs you less in processing fees. Swiping also reduces the chances that you will have to deal with stolen and fraudulent cards.  

A wireless credit card processing terminal will usually cost you in the range from around $400 - $600. Your online merchant services provider will usually offer these terminals at a premium. You can usually find a better deal by shopping the numerous merchant equipment websites. Most merchant account providers will also lease credit card terminals for a monthly payment of around 10% the purchase price.


Online Credit Card Processing Using Your Laptop Computer

You can use your laptop for wireless credit card processing. You will need 4 pieces of equipment to accomplish this:

  1. A Laptop Computer
  2. A Wireless Internet Connection - This can be a wifi or a Broadband Modem. If you have a smart phone (Blackberry, Palm, Iphone, etc.) you can connect your laptop to your cell phone and access the Internet via the phone. You will need PDAnet Software to make the connection. You must be able to connect to the Internet in order to process your customers’ credit cards.
  3. POS Credit Card Processing Software – Point of Sale (POS) software is necessary to turn your laptop into a virtual credit card process terminal. Merchant account providers will offer POS software compatible with their processing protocol.
  4. A USB Credit Card Swiper – This piece of hardware will plug into one of the USB ports on your computer and allow you to input customers’ card information by swiping the card just a you would do with a stand alone terminal. This swiper will cost between $80 and $150, depending upon the brand and model. Since you will be using equipment that you already own, a laptop and possibly a smart phone (optional), you only have to purchase the POS software and the credit card swiper.

What if you want to print out a receipt? You can print receipts with a portable laptop printer or you can print from a desktop. By the way, you can use the same online credit card processing system with a desktop computer. You will just be limited on portability of your credit card processing by how far you are willing to lug around a desktop computer!


Mobile Credit Card Processing

Mobile credit card processing is accomplished by using your cell phone or touch tone as the processing terminal. You don’t need to purchase additional equipment. The monthly fee is usually much lower than a traditional wireless merchant account. The processing fees will be slighter higher. Mobile credit card processing may be the ultimate system for making your credit card processing convenient at temporary vending platforms such as fairgrounds, sporting events and swap meets.

Online merchant services of all types are much easier to acquire now than they were even a few years ago. If you need a portable processing platform, you have the three solid ones describe on this web page. There will sure be more options to come as wireless technology continues to push the telecommunications envelope.


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