Ecommerce has opened up a whole new market sector in a relatively short amount of time. In 2017, the US ecommerce market grew by 16 percent, reaching $453 billion. Merchants who are getting in on this rapid growth are seeing big benefits, but successfully running an online business requires some smart decision making about basic business practices. One of those decisions is making a choice about how to accept credit cards online. Accepting credit cards online successfully is one important aspect of building a robust online business, and a key part of that is keeping up with the newest payment trends. In 2018, there are more options for how to accept credit cards online than ever before and doing the research about your payment processor will help you choose one that’s right for your ecommerce business.
As smart phones become both smarter and more ubiquitous, more customers will be shopping — and buying — online. This means that an online merchants payment gateway needs to not only function on a desktop web browser, but also a customer’s mobile phone. Having the right payment gateway will ensure that you are able to capture sales from mobile while keeping your customer’s information secure. With the right payment processor, any mobile browser or mobile app can become a secure credit card portal.
New Kinds of Processors
There are an increasing number of simplified payment processors available that don’t require a merchant service account or payment gateway. With these processors, the customer enters their card number and the payment is processed — that’s all. This streamlined process means these processors have fewer fees for merchants (many don’t have setup or monthly fees) and offer very competitive rates. These simplified payment processors integrate right with your checkout pages, so your customers never have to leave your website, essential for a seamless and reassuring checkout experience. They are easy to set up and can help you get up and running to accept credit cards quickly. However, many of these simplified processors don’t offer the same level of support as traditional processors, though their function is simple enough that you might not ever need customer support.
Learn About Cryptocurrencies
One of the hottest topics in online payments these days is bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that skyrocketed in value and popularity last year. Bitcoin is a digital currency that can be sent from one user to another, anywhere in the world. Unlike the US dollar or Euro, this cryptocurrency is run and maintained by a decentralized network of computers around the world, and not backed by any physical tokens. Bitcoin is gaining popularity and is accepted by over 100,000 merchants worldwide.
There are a few unique advantages to accepting bitcoin through your payment processor: transaction fees are much lower than with credit cards, payments process very quickly because there’s no bank acting as a middle man, and there’s less security risk because no customer information is attached to bitcoin payments (meaning there’s no risk of chargeback fraud, as there is with traditional credit card payments). Of course, there are also some unique risks associated with accepting bitcoin: it’s an unstable currency and its value fluctuates wildly from day to day. Some economists even believe bitcoin’s value is largely due to speculation, and its value has been dropping from an all-time high in late 2017.
Still, there are customers who are ready and willing to drop their bitcoin at the right online store, so it may be good business sense to offer them the option. There are many payment processors that allow merchants to accept bitcoin as a payment option with just a plug-in. And if you decide that you don’t want to hang on to your bitcoin to see if it goes up in value, it’s a simple matter to convert it back into the currency of your choice.
Though there are plenty of new payment options to choose from in 2018, from simplified processors to brand new currencies, one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of asking questions. Knowing how to accept credit cards online is only half the battle: merchants should make sure that the payment processor they select is right for their business too. Don’t be shy about inquiring about fees, customer service, and security. The new digital world of credit card payments is here to stay, so choosing a processor that gives you all the options your business needs is a must.