Just need an Aithorized Retailer for now?
(PayPal, 2checkout, Clickbank,
etc.) The sales fees for these may be more than a Merchant Account, but the overall cost is much less until your business takes off.
For all of these, your customers would enter credit card information on their secure site.
You would only need the SSL Certificate and Static IP expense if you are collecting other sensitive information (like names, address, etc.) on your website for your own personal records.
Offering products on your website:
If you plan to sell 1 of an item, use price text or pay buttons linked to your provider for each product. They'll give you instructions to create the proper links to use for each item.
Offering products in an online Store:
You can have just a store type site, or you can have a store on your website, linked to from any of your website pages. The shopping cart is linked to the provider you are using.
Either is ideal if you have many products or if you wish to offer selections of colors or sizes, allow customers to buy more than one of any item, choose to pay or continue shopping, view their cart, make changes in their order, etc..
Choosing a Store/Shopping Cart:
CPanel and Fantastico offer several choices for Free and will install them on your web space, including creating databases. Some require advanced knowledge to customize them, but all have websites or forums to help. Always check there for the latest security updates.
The CubeCart is excellent for beginners, easily customized, looks very professional, accepts any number of products and is compatible with many payment systems. The version 2.02 in Fantastico must be upgraded to the latest version for security. For the OSCommerce cart, advanced PHP skills are needed.
Choosing the right web hosting plan:
If you have a small website and offer only a few products on it, the Starter Plan may be fine unless you expect a lot of traffic. For a Store, Shopping Cart or high traffic, you'll probably need to start with the Silver Plan. The upgrades are seamless when your business grows.
Ready for your own Merchant Account?
You need a Merchant account if you wish to do your own credit card collections and if you have enough volume of business to support the cost of it. Read topic "SSL Certificate and Static IP Address:" below to see if you need these also.
If you already have a Merchant Account:
You can use it on your website but you'll need a Static IP and the SSL Certificate as described below; we can provide them.
Choosing a Merchant Account Provider:
It can be a daunting experience to get all your initial and monthly costs discovered and added up, as well as choosing an online provider. You will usually get a low sales fee but it will most likely be tied to your sales volume.
Look for setup fees, gateway fees, sales fees, transaction fees, batch fees, statement fees, banking fees, etc. to get the full picture. Expect to spend about a thousand dollars up front to be prepared, then if it is less it will be a nice surprise.
SSL Certificate and Static IP Address:
You do Not need these if you are collecting sensitive personal and/or credit card info on another website. But you Do need these if you are collecting sensitive personal and/or credit card information on your own website.
You can buy the SSL Certificate elsewhere but we will need to issue the IP and install it for you, as that is server-related. Or, you can buy a Certificate from us, which includes the IP and installation. Ask for a quote.
Choosing the right web hosting plan:
If you have a small website and offer only a few products on it, the Starter Plan may be fine unless you expect a lot of traffic. For a Store Shopping Cart, you'll need a larger plan.
Most likely, if you've gone to the expense of getting your own Merchant Account, you have the business and traffic volume to support it. You'll need a Static IP and a SSL Certificate (see above). Either the Silver or Gold Plan should be good for your hosting needs. some programming is needed for integrating the free Fantastico CubeCart.