Accepting Secure Credit Card Transactions on Web Site
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Accepting Transactions from Your Web Site

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When you take your business online one of the early questions you need to answer is what sort of transaction process are you going to use to accept payments.

To accept payments the options are basically that you either set up a merchant account, a payment gateway and get a Transport Layer Security (TLS) previously called a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or use an escrow service like Paypal.

The main difference between the two to consider in the start up phase of an internet business is that the merchant account will likely give you lower individual transaction fees, and Paypal will charge you a higher fee per transaction but will have lower set up fees and lower monthly / annual static charges.

Merchant Account = Lower transaction fees / higher static cost
Paypal = Higher transaction fees / lower static cost

So if your transaction volumes and/or transaction amounts are going to be low, then Paypal will likely be a better option.

The other big advantage of Paypal is that your customers don't actually need to use a credit card. They can have a positive balance in their Paypal account and have it linked to their everyday transaction account. The Internet equivalent of paying with cash if you like.

In summary Paypal is a useful option for businesses is the start up phase if your transaction volumes are likely to be low in quantity and value. As your business grows it would be wise to monitor the transaction fees versus the costs of a merchant account. So you might move your main transaction process to a merchant account but then still offer the flexibility to your customers of being able to pay with Paypal.

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