Online Payments: How To Avoid Getting Stung

Lucy Langdon shares how to avoid getting stung by online payment portals, in the penultimate of our series on online payment options for small businesses.

How To Avoid Getting Stung

Making a hasty decision or simply choosing the cheapest option available is the most sure-fire way to end up paying for it later. If you have to start taking payments today, go with an ‘out of the box’ solution like Paypal, but make sure to look into alternatives as soon as you can.

When you start looking at payment gateways and merchant accounts, make sure to do your research and read the fine print. Here are a few pointers:

  • Customer service – make an enquiry before signing anything and see how long it takes the customer service team to respond, and how good their response is. Post-sales service probably won’t be as good as pre-sales, so if there’s something lacking now, best avoid entirely.
  • Discount Rate and Transaction Fee – these two charges are applied to every sale you make; the first is a percentage and the second is a flat rate. Check to see how these change according to how much you earn.
  • Monthly minimum – as described above, you’ll either have to cover this amount in transaction fees or pay it as an extra charge. Again, check how it scales.
  • Shopping Cart addons – if you buy a really cheap shopping cart, chances are you’ll really feel it when it comes to installing any extra features. Bear in mind, these features might become a necessity rather than a luxury as your business grows.

Lucy Langdon works for Merchant Account Forum, a website that helps visitors find the right merchant account for their business, including UK merchants & international merchants.

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