Choosing the right payment processor is one of the most critical steps in making your e-commerce site as accessible and useful to your customers as possible. Depending on what you sell and where you're selling from, there are a host of factors to take into consideration that affect not only how much you'll be spending on your online experience, but how much your customers will be charged and how convenient it is for them to finally click the buy button. To help guide new merchants looking to establish their first business or veteran sellers looking for a better rate, here are five essential issues to evaluate when choosing your next payment processor:
1. Understand the fees: All payment processors charge a small percentage of each transaction, but some also charge monthly maintenance fees, merchant account set-up fees, PCI compliance fees, downgrade fees and 1099 fees. While some of these charges may seem nominal at first, they can accumulate into thousands of dollars in the course of a year (or decade). Find a payment processor that charges no fees, hidden or otherwise. That way you'll know the true cost of your sales while saving on your operations.
2. Simple integration with your website: Understand how much work it will take to integrate a payment processor into your site. Hint: it can take a long time, but it doesn't have to. Depending upon your IT sophistication, some payment processors offer a hosted checkout option that can let you go from a merchant account application to accepting online payments in an hour. Other payment processors offer application programming interfaces (APIs), which allow you to mesh the processor's code into your own site for complete control over the buyer's checkout experience. And many payment processors are pre-integrated with a wide range of shopping cart software and e-commerce platforms, so you won't have to change as much of your existing website infrastructure.