Anyone using a slow, or an awkward payment processor had better wake up!
There are some very slick ways to transfer money around the globe, in todays, lightning fast world, both your customers and your suppliers demand payment in the click of a mouse.
The processing companies have been fiercely competing with each other for years now, every so often, they revamp and recalibrate. These overhauls usually result in a safer, quicker or easier online transaction.
Anyone staring out in business must have a way to offer customers a safe and fast transfer of their hard earned cash. If you choose an unfamiliar card processor, how can you gain the trust of your audience? You won't.
Have you ever been in the situation where you see a product, reach for the plastic, start the process, only to find a strange new payment processor that wants to know lots of personal details about you? This can make you think twice, and many times, a sale is lost in that crucial moment.
Start with the most widely accepted, and backup with a second and third option. This has a treble safeguard built in.
Firstly, just like high street banks, online processors, occasionally upset people with rules and regulations and they look elsewhere, it is a courteous policy to provide an alternative processor for these customers.
Almost unbelievably, some areas of the world are still unable to process money with all the providers; the second safeguard is to offer a payment option that can service their needs.
Thirdly, you must protect yourself, if a processor receives a complaint against you, or finds one of its more obscure rules to inflict upon you; then your facility can be put on stop instantly. You must have some backup in place before that happens.
Since its acquisition by EBay, Paypal has become dominant in peoples acceptance of paying for goods online. This acceptance makes it the first choice for online retailers across the globe.
It is free to use, and free to join, Paypal services 45 Countries and it boasts of being free for buyers and free to set up for sellers, no wonder it grew so big so fast. Paypal's concept was the ability to pay anyone with an email address, a wonderful idea that deserves merit; this has been completely sidetracked by the viral element of the marketing behind the scenes, to become a major online merchant.
Once sneered at by the banking system, Paypal has earned its position as the people's provider, by reacting quickly to an opportunity and evolving to suit the needs of its customers.
Paypal is the main player, it has become the market leader in the biggest market the world has ever seen, and it continues to evolve, I predict that Paypal will move into the league of Microsoft within the next decade, love it or hate it, you must have it.
There are alternatives and these should be adopted to suit your chosen market.
To suit the needs of your customers in the Countries, not serviced by Paypal you need a merchant that is widely acceptable; 2checkout will turn plastic into cash for you, but it is presently wrestling with a transition from version 1 to version 2.
It can convert any credit card into money in your account. Along with the changes, came new rules, for instance, you cannot name it a credit card processor, or payment gateway, you must call it an authorized retailer or out-sourced vendor solution. They appear to be boxed into a corner, and will loose market share, watch this space. This is the path they have chosen, I personally think this is a bad business move, and time will tell, but for the present 2checkout are widely recognized and they are a safe bet to back up Paypal on your site. On the downside, they charge a fee for new accounts, the charge is $49 but it is only a one off payment.
My next choice is Stormpay, they set out, hot on the heels of Paypal, offering a similar service. At first it was difficult to work with, but Stormpay has reacted to market trends and has matured to a level that is now acceptable in the mainstream business community.
With the soon to be released issue of the Stormpay debit card, funds can be withdrawn, directly from an ATM. They boldly claim to be able to offer more ways to send money, sell items and receive payments than any other internet provider.
Stormpay is more tolerant towards the small business user, it welcomes subscription payments, multi tier payments, and is even trying to gain on paypal by launching its own auctions.
It is very much the little brother of Paypal, but is gaining ground daily. I have watched its maturity over the past couple of years, and, although it has a long way to go, all the signs are in place that Stormpay will sit next to Paypal on many retailers' sites for years to come
With less flexibility and a free signup comes Clickbank. Many people adore clickbank for the way it allows other people to sell your product for a commission on the sale.
You see clickbank has over 100,000 vendors that love to sell other peoples stuff, for a commission. How it works is like this, you place a product for sale on Clickbank, you set the price and commission percentage, you then create a sales page on your site. You allow Clickbank vendors to drive people to your site, using their unique Clickbank ID. If a buyer buys from one of Clickbank's affiliate vendors then you pay a commission on that sale, this is a very powerful method of selling product.
No matter how good your website and advertising is, it cannot compete with the power of the Clickbank resellers helping you out, and don't forget, they also drive traffic to your site.
You can only sell digitally delivered products like ebooks and software, this limits your ranges, but boosts your speed of delivery, making the transaction instant. Payments from Clickbank to you are twice a month.
You may sell your own product or any one of the products in the Clickbank marketplace, your customers can pay by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Eurocard, Bravo, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, JCB, and online checks, they even accept PayPal.
For a straightforward, recognized, payment provider, using its own merchant facilities, try Worldpay. They operate in most languages and currencies around the world. Go to http://worldpay.com/ and click on the flag of your language, this takes you to the main page for the site, best suited to your business needs.
Many people like to keep their eye on the new kids on the block, if you are one of these people then you should take a look at PayDotCom.com I was a beta tester for this system and have advanced knowledge of it. Signup is free and bonuses are given for referrals. PayDotCom is the first to rival Clickbank and by doing so, it has opened up a whole new area of competition. You can asses PayDotCom here, http://homebizassistant/paydotcom
As with all things related to your business, any payment options given on your site are just another tool. These should be chosen firstly, to suit your customers' needs and demands, and then secondly, you must adapt your customer needs to suit your business. This customer focus will pay dividends in increased sales and acceptance.
Pete Lauder is a 47 year old entrepreneur with many years of online marketing, his focus is always slanted to serve the customer first and to build around that. This article, and many others about setting up your online business can be found at http://homebizassistant.com/
Copyright 2005 Buygum Ltd.