In many kinds of home business one of your need will be to select your merchant account. This will allow you to accept credit card payments online, offline or both, depending on the solution you choose.
PayPal is a popular solution, and certainly works great in its integration with eBay, but for many kinds of business it is not the most professional or the best priced option. It is not a bad option when you are small, but there are many people who quite simply refuse to use PayPal, so it can lose you customers.
A better solution may be to use a merchant gateway. e-Onlinedata provides a great service using Authorize.net. This service will let you accept credit cards, and your information will appear on the customer's bill, making it clearer for them what the purchase was for.
The best part about using a real merchant account is the professional appearance it gives your business. You aren't a hobbyist; you are a serious professional who pays attention to the best ways to accept payments. This is a way to improve your customers' shopping experience.
I'm not going to get into the differences in costs here, as they may change over time. Instead, I suggest you look at each site and see which is overall the best for your needs.
Here's a quick comparison of Paypal and what you can expect from a merchant account:
Customers may have a PayPal account, but signing up is now optional for credit card payments.
Transactions are secure.
Customers may use their checking account or credit card or can keep a balance in their PayPal account.
Some customers are reassured by only giving their credit card information to a name they know - PayPal!
Some customers view this as unprofessional, so some sales may be lost.
Customers do not need to sign up unless you require something on your site.
Transactions are secure.
Can be integrated with shopping cart software.
Payments are credited to your checking account more quickly.
Your business name and phone number appear on customer's statement, reminding customers of who you are.
More professional solution.
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