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All-in-One Merchant Cards

Rita Makana Risser

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Do you have an all-in-one solution for your online purchasers? What I’ve found so far is I have to buy a shopping cart, a merchant account, and a gateway, each with a monthly charge.

— Lisa Braithwaite

I've been using ProPay.com's online credit card processing service independently of my shopping cart on my retail site for about three years. But now that I'm looking into adding shopping cart capability to my coaching site, I looked a little deeper into ProPay's services and discovered that they are integrated with two shopping cart services, BizHosting and Shop Pal Stores. They also have an XML interface that you can integrate with your current shopping cart.

I have the premium account, which has an annual fee of $59.95 (and no monthly fees), and which gives me a $500 limit on any one transaction and $3,000 limit per month. I can accept Visa, MC, Amex and Discover. The higher the account level, the better the rates and the higher the per-transaction/monthly limits. The Basic account is $34.95/year with higher per-transaction rates; you can only accept VISA/Mastercard; you can't do phone processing; and the transaction/monthly limits are lower. Premium and above, all the features are the same except the rates get better.

— Lisa Manyon

I'm currently researching shopping carts and the best deal I have found so far is through Seattle Design Group (www.seattledesigngroup.com). They use a program called MyCart. There is a monthly fee, plus a charge for cart setup. At this time the gateway processor is included in the monthly fee at no additional charge. You do need a merchant account and the best deal on I've found so far is through Costco. For the Costco merchant account, you do need to be a business member to qualify.

— Dana Bristol-Smith

I've found PayPal to be much less hassle and less expensive than other solutions. I've been able to create my buttons for payment. PayPal does the processing so I don't have to collect the credit card info — they do it through their secure server. They take 2.75% off of each sale. I've gone the other route before and it was more expensive. With PayPal there is no monthly fee and they've made it really easy.

— Jake Norton

I found the same problem for my photography business, and decided to go with PayPal's merchant tools instead of the shopping cart, etc. While PayPal charges a higher fee than some other options, it is a streamlined system and is known and generally accepted as trustworthy by most people. And, a buyer does not need a PayPal account to buy from you — they have the option of either using their PayPal account, setting one up, or paying directly with a major credit card.

— David Farr

I use www.automatesyourwebsite.com.

— Noel McNaughton

The solution I have may not be practical for those who already have a Web site, but if not, Site Build It! (www.sitesell.com) is by far the best choice of Web hosts, providing all the tools one needs to build a Web site that works (without the help of a webmaster), and have an online store, with no monthly charge. The store includes the shopping cart, merchant account, etc. It is an extra charge on top of the cost of the basic package, but well worth the price once you have at least 200 visitors to your site per day.

If you have fewer than 200 visitors per day, I recommend Clickbank (www.clickbank.com), which does not require a monthly fee, but has about a $2 fee per transaction. I use it to sell a couple of items on my site.

— Krista Sheets

I just did a ton of research to find the best solution for my company on this very topic. I was surprised to learn that there really isn't one solution that is also economic for a small business owner. Many of the all-in-one charge a ridiculous monthly fee along with higher than industry credit card processing fees.

Since I have been taking credit cards for 10 years and using a traditional terminal, I was happy to hear that Paypal allows you to process all transactions (Web orders, telephone, mail, consulting / coaching fees, etc.) through a "virtual terminal." For $20/month I can process all my credit cards and have a low processing rate of 2.2% + .30 transaction. Being able to consolidate all my web orders and manual transactions allowed me to get the best rate.

For easy shopping cart integration that has all the features I need (including selling downloadable products) I went to www.1greatshoppingcart.com and found their support and product to be very good. I purchased the one-year contract for $199. When I ran some numbers against what I was currently paying for a shopping cart through Microsoft and processing manual payments through First Data, I was shocked at how much I was going to save. I haven't made the complete conversion yet of my online store, but hope to do so very soon. Since I have a virtual assistant, she can process payments anytime from home and my other assistant in the office can process receipts to the clients — all with ease.

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