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Accept Payments Online

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If you are planning on incorporating e-Commerce as one of the methods of making money from your online business you are doing to have to consider whether or not to accept payments online and which mechanisms are the most appropriate for your business.

As with many other functions within your online business, the method you use to accept payments online will depend on how you have configured your business and the kind of e-Commerce Shopping Cart software or store that you actually have.

In some cases, you will not need to be involved in the payments side of the transaction.  

If you have a store on someone else's site (eBay, Etsy etc.) your store provider usually accepts payments online on your behalf and just delivers the proceeds from your sales straight into your paypal account or a bank account.

If you have installed a plugin on your wordpress site, or a stand-alone store hosted on your domain, you may be able to use paypal, stripe or apple pay to accept and process payments on your site.

If you have a fully functioning store with a high volume of transactions, you might want to do your payment processing using an online application owned and managed by the bank that you have merchant facilities with.  

Can Your Bank Facilitate and Help You to Accept Payments Online?

If you are still reading, I am going to assume that your online home business is going to be accepting payments online on your own site - and that might be a custom designed e-commerce site, a wordpress blog with an e-commerce plugin or a stand alone store and you therefore are going to need to work out how to accept payments from your customers online.

The first place I would recommend that you visit is the bank that you currently do business with.  In my experience applying for a merchant account can be expensive and you will have to jump through numerous hoops to set it up but using a banks merchant facility is probably the most secure way to handle payments for both you and your customers.

And even if you do find that it is too expensive or too complicated, the information on costs and functionality offered by your bank can provide you with a base line that you can compare the alternatives against before you make your final selection.

What About PayPal or Stripe?

With paypal you send your customers to the paypal site to make the payment for goods or services that they order from your site.  Once the transaction is complete they are taken back to the relevant page on your site.  That page might be a thank you page that tells them what will happen next or a page with a download link if the products is downloadable.

Stripe works in a similar way.  For both payment processors you need to have an account with them and have a verified bank account attached to that account.  They process the payments, take their fees off the top and then either hold onto the cash until you transfer it into your bank account (paypal) or sent it to your bank account at a pre-determined frequency or when your balance reached a threshold amount (stripe).

Both work relatively well, and there are fewer hoops for you to jump through, but the fees on transactions (a percentage of sale amount) are high compared to banks.  However, you don't have monthly account fees on this type of payment processing account.  So you really need to look at your anticipated transaction volumes and do a few calculations to compare the costs of paypal or stripe with your merchant bank before you make a decision.

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