Merchant Options for Bloggers

I have been working online full-time for more than a decade. My first website adventure was selling private label pet products, meaning I bought them, repackaged them and sold them as my own while also shipping them too. I was in business for just over a year when I decided that dealing with complaining customers, countless questions and shipping dilemmas was more than I wanted to handle. It was downright stealing my focus and creativity from other areas. To that end, I decided affiliate marketing was the way to go. And I’ve been doing so ever since.

My sister approached me at the beginning of the year – after losing her job of ten years – about helping her to create her own blog where she could sell her own items. While this is terrific for her, I personally find myself shuddering at the utter thought and yet here I am helping her search for merchant services while also creating her blog. But, after that, it’s all her.

PayPal is the obvious choice, but more and more people are complaining about issues with using this service so we started looking for other options for processing credit cards. My sister is one of my most favorite people, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been a headache of sorts to say the very least. Let’s just hope she never stumbles upon this post. Now, back to what to consider when accepting credit cards on your blog. Below are some helpful tips that I have learned along the way that I hope  will spare you time should you find yourself in a similar situation with a friend or family member that wants a blog and your help… but that is another issue entirely for another day.

Processing Payments: What to Consider

The first step is figuring out exactly what you will need. Keeping with my sister as an example she wants to sell crystals on her blog and while she wants to accept the credit card payments on her site, she also needs the flexibility to accept payments offline as well at craft shows. Whatever your niche is, the real concern is what your processing needs are for making money.

Is there an application fee?

Do you need to sign a contract?

Are the feels reasonable in comparison to other merchants?

Is the system easy to integrate on your blog?

Does the company offer an option for a mobile card reader to use for processing payments offline?

We just want to note, PayPal is indeed a viable option for processing payments, but this post is for those people that might want to step away from PayPal and find other options.

Payment Gateways

A payment gateway, in short, is a company that processes all credit card transactions. All online transactions, using a credit card, go through such a gateway.

Payments, Rates and Fees

Are you required to meet any monthly minimums?

Make sure you inquire about a transaction fee as well as a monthly fee.

What are the costs to get up and running?

Does the company directly deposit payments to your bank account?

Most important is making sure that you aren’t going to be paying for services that you aren’t using. For example, if you are strictly accepting payments online and have no intention of using a mobile reader or taking payments offline, you don’t want to be charged a swiping fee.

The credit card industry can be overwhelming and the options are endless as it is one of those industries with a hundreds of offers and some of them are known for shady practices. For that reason it is important to do your research and read all the terms and conditions. If something doesn’t make sense, ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask the company to negotiate. After all the knowledge is power and that power will help you keep more money in your bank account.

This is not a full list, but it does include some main points to consider when deciding to start accepting credit cards on your site. If we missed anything, please share your experience with us below in the comments.

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