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businesses don't actually need to open a merchant account through their banks as companies such as worldpay and netbanx provide internet merchant accounts. ok, they cost £145 per year, but that is loose change for a business. every business can afford that if the business is being managed properly.
i had an enquiry about setting up worldpay on a site in december. sales had been so low that his e-commerce provider pulled out. he was getting the visitors but no sales. i sent a couple of emails explaining the benefits of worldpay and he signed up on the spot. within a week of receiving his enquiry he was trading.
his profit in the last 4 days has more than paid his annual fee to worldpay.
paying an annual fee for a merchant account is an investment that will bring returns.
Looks like we still have to be carefull, as some of these require extra costs if you dont have a merchant account.
There appear to be two requirements:
First you need to pay for merchant facilities (to be able to accept credit cards), and Second To be able to accept them OVER THE NET.
there is no need for a merchant account from a bank at all, unless you need to accept credit card over the counter. although worldpay could be used for over the counter sales, the retailer will have additional responsibilities such as retaining suspect cards - worldpay is not authorised to allow that.
I believe many of the quoted prices are for the latter, still making it necessary to have a merchant facility (though this facility is offered for a higher premium).
i have several clients who have (or had) bank merchant accounts but who have switched to worldpay direct as it is cheaper than using the bank / worldpay combination.
one of my clients has just had paypal set up on one of his sites (someone else did this for us) to see if it increased sales from the usa. interestingly, he had 2 sales yesterday from the us, both of which went through worldpay (set up for US$). we'll have to wait and see what happens over the next couple of months or so.
Yet I would prefer to say "Im still waiting for a hit to donate to Webmasterworld".
Bottom Line is I think this creats opportunity for a new thread...
"If Maximising Sales means: Maximising Payment Methods.. Who would you List? and why?"