ask the expert | how to set up an online payment system

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today we have a guest post from our build a little biz partner and ‘online business expert’ tina grimes from online business junction

“I need to set up an online payment system, can I just use my personal PayPal account? I have also heard good things about Google Checkout, is that a better option than paypal? Is there anything I should be aware of before I choose and set up and online payment system for my website?”

PayPal

Online business owners should have either a Premier Account or a Business Account at PayPal. PayPal encourages one of these two for anyone accepting payments for business purposes, as opposed to a Personal Account. A Personal Account will only let one accept 5 debit/credit card payments per year, and there's a dollar limit as well. But with Premier or Business, one can have unlimited debit/credit card payments.  For a Premier Account, one can operate under one's individual name; for a Business Account, one can use a business name. Premier Accounts are really geared toward people with a high transaction volume, so in most cases, especially for a new business, a Business Account is ideal. A Business Account also lets one accept payments from people who don't have a Pay Pal account, which is important to have, because a lot of people don't have a PP account. Fees deducted from both Premier and Business Accounts are the same.

Additional resources about each type of PayPal account:

Google Checkout

Google Checkout is similar to PayPal, because it allows you to generate Buy it Now buttons. They also have a Store Gadget for Blogger that utilizes Google Docs to create a store on your blog. You can also use their Google Checkout Shopping Cart, which allows you to generate email invoices and coupons, and automatically notifies customers of orders and shipping once orders are processed. Customers can only pay via credit card with Google Checkout, which is the main difference between that and PayPal. Another difference is that you must register with Google Checkout in order to use it, whereas on PayPal, you don't have to be registered to use them for payment.

Fees for both PayPal and Google Checkout appear to be the same; approximately 2.9% plus .30 cents per transaction for sales under $3,000 per month. These fees are an expense to consider. However, these options allow you to continue to sell online affordably, and to accept credit card payments, which is really a must for online stores. No monthly fees or minimums. No contracts. No termination fees. And that's all very important.

I'd say the biggest plus of Google Checkout over PayPal is that there are just a LOT of people that don't like or trust PayPal. So when that is the case, Google Checkout is a great option. It's also fairly easy to use and to integrate into websites. There's lots of documentation at Google and Google support for when help is needed.

Additional resources about Google Checkout

Online Payments

I think the most important things to know before utilizing an online payment system deal with compatibility with your website, security, ease of use, support, and cost. 

You want to do your research when choosing a payment system to ensure that whatever you choose can be integrated into your website without a lot of hassle. You either want to be able to do it yourself, or have someone else do it if need be, but without a lot of extra expense (if possible). 

Your online payment system also needs to be secure. PCI Compliance (Payment Card Industry) is an utmost priority where credit card information is concerned, so research that topic and know what you must do as an online merchant to be compliant. Also note if you have a merchant account, what fees, if any, will your Merchant Services Provider (MSP) charge you for PCI Compliance. They vary with every MSP and can be very nominal to downright outrageous. You don't want any surprises. (There are no PCI Compliance fees with PayPal or Goodle Checkouts.)

You also want a payment system that is easy to figure out and use. So check into the user-friendly factor from the get-go, and be sure that there is adequate support for the system when you need it.

Cost, of course, is a huge factor. If budget isn't an issue, you're one of the lucky few. You need to pick a system that will work with your budget. Shopping around is key. And read the fine print.

You might also want to check some recent posts I did at OBJ about a credit card processor called Square Up. It's really a great option for affordable credit card payment processing. I just replaced ProPay with it because it's much more affordable, and very easy to use.

please visit online business junction for more information, resources & tools for making your online business a success: website & facebook