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Essential Merchant Services for Online E-Commerce Stores


In the news was another headline announcing a new record for online sales during the Christmas season. Each year their online revenue grows and its not too late for you to "open a store" online to take advantage of the shopping trends. A top priority is to get paid, but how? Let's review the basics of merchant services.

When opening an e-commerce store, it is important to set up merchant services for processing credit card payments over the Internet and to run a cash-free operation. Several components are needed before your online store is ready to accept orders. With these requirements in mind, here are the elements required to implement a system and operate a profitable online business.


To get started as an online merchant, your online store needs an integrated shopping cart that can accurately compile all of your customer’s orders and save them for the moment of payment. This integrated shopping cart must integrate with the merchant services to process payments quickly and efficiently.   

Your Merchant Account

Merchant services processes the complex interactions between customers, online business owners, credit card companies, and banks. There are thousands of merchant service companies to from which to choose. Don’t make assumptions and make a decision without good research. To get started; an application is typically required.

Merchant services refer to a broad category of financial services used by businesses. For an eCommerce system, the term includes everything needed to process credit card transactions securely online.

The Virtual Terminal

Any online store requires a method for customers to input their credit card information when making an order which is referred to as a virtual terminal. A virtual terminal consists of an online form with one or more input fields to enter a customer’s name, credit card information, address, and other information that is pertinent to the order. This terminal also gives the ability to do billing, check on transactions, and refund orders if need be.

The virtual terminal must integrate smoothly with both your shopping cart and your payment gateway for everything to work correctly.

The Payment Gateway

The payment gateway acts as an intermediary between you, your merchant service provider, and credit card companies. The gateway is a secure service that helps collect credit card data and authorize payments. It’s important to remember that while there are many merchant service providers, there are only a few different types of payment gateways.


Putting Everything Together

Merchant services and the technologies supporting them interact in complex ways to process your credit card orders. You can review this extensive list of credit card processing services that should prove useful as you shop for a service.

Attempting to manage the logistics of putting together the merchant account with a virtual terminal and payment gateway, it is no surprise many become overwhelmed. For those short on time, it is a good idea to shop for a merchant service offering ALL the components needed to process transactions effectively and can be integrated together with your online store to ensure smooth transactions.

There are excellent merchant service providers which can provide your credit card transaction needs without the hassle.  It is well worth your time to research and compare the options.

About the Author:

Arthur Jones is a freelance writer interested in the online retail world and technology. He has experience in e-commerce and has worked extensively with payment gateway systems and other merchant technologies.

Topics: Cash Management Ecommerce