We’ve talked about different platforms to use to build your online store, but let’s get into the details a bit. How do you actually process payments? This is an important topic; after all, collecting payments is the purpose of online sales. Otherwise, you could just use a cash register at your brick and mortar store. But this can often be a hang-up for new online business owners. As you wade through the options, with various fees or service charges, how do you know which one is best?
When Your Choice Is Limited
If you’re using a proprietary tool, you may be locked in. They may have their own processor, such as with Shopify, or they may have an exclusive deal to only work with one processor, such as Stripe or PayPal. So if you are using an “out of the box” solution, you could be limited in your choices. In that case, your choice is simple.
When The Sky Is The Limit
If you’re using a CMS-Based tool or developing custom work, then you have control over which payment processor you use. Here’s where the choices come in. The ones we’ve used most often include:
- PayPal – This one is the most ubiquitous. It can be set up as a direct payment. When someone makes a payment, it sends you to a paypal webpage to process the payment. This can be limiting, because you would need a button for every product. This is more popular for donations.
You could subscribe to the PayPal business product, which gives you access to the API so you can use them as a traditional payment processor. A payment then sends data to them; they handle the payment; and send confirmation back to the seller.
- Stripe – This has been the hot developer tool to use in the last few years. Like the PayPal business account, when a payment process is initiated, data is sent to them and they process and send back confirmation. We use this most often when working with a site that allows us to integrate a custom payment option, such as WooCommerce. They make it easy for developers to integrate. It’s fast and easy to use. And in those cases, you can handle situations like returns from your own WooCommerce/WordPress interface.
- Chargify – If you have a particularly complicated payment need, Chargify could be the answer. It allows you to do advanced options, such as metered payments, etc. It’s built to integrate like Stripe or PayPal business, but makes those alternative or unique payment solutions easier.
We don’t have a lot to say about these two, but if you aren’t finding what you want with the three above, you can check them out.
As far as fees, most of these charge about the same. The standard is around 3% of whatever the transaction is and $.25 to $.30 per transaction, to process a credit card. The options are sometimes given to pass that on to the customer, but for the most part, the seller absorbs that cost. (An exception might be for non-profits or fundraising efforts.)
If you’re not sure where to get started, or wish someone could just take over and build it all for you, let’s talk.