19. Accept payments in real-time
If you don't want to process credit card payments yourself, or your bank is not willing to give you a merchant account to process credit cards, a real-time payment service provider can help you.
Real time payment service providers can help you in two cases: If you have an existing merchant account and if you do not have one. A merchant account is a special bank account, which allows you to accept credit card payments from your customers.
If you have a bank account allowing you to accept credit cards over the Net, then such a service can make the payment approval process easier.
Without a real-time payment service you would receive for example credit card details of a customer with the order, and would have to approve them manually yourself. This you would do by typing the details into a little terminal hooked to your bank or by calling a special phone number. It is the most cost effective method and works well, unless you receive lots of orders. It could be a good starting point to keep your costs low, until you have established your shop.
If you get many orders, using a real-time payment service can help you streamline your operation. Some of these services also use sophisticated credit card fraud detection methods, helping safeguard you from fraud. ShopFactory is compatible with around 50 different services.
If you do not have a merchant account, then these service providers can support you by either helping you get such an account or by accepting credit cards in your name. This may well be worth using, as the majority of people on the Internet pay by credit card. Not being able to accept these cards will cost you customers. You will need to decide if the benefits outweigh the costs of such a service.
In both cases the service provider checks every order immediately when it is being made, approves or disapproves it and eventually transfers the money into your account. You will find these services with the help of search engines on the Internet. Many are also included in ShopFactory, the shop building software on the CD.