Guide to Start Your Online Business

Sealing a deal and getting paid for your product is the ultimate aim when starting your online business. Without payments, any business is bound to fail. However, much has to be done to instill confidence in your clients before they are willing to take the step to make their payment even though they have decided to purchase your product.

Secure Payment Line

The top priority of all clients is the security of the payment line. Customers need a reliable payment mode without getting their credit card information stolen. A secure online payment arrangement will also safeguard your own interest without getting your credit account being hacked into and causing huge financial losses to your business.

Thus, you should find a web host that is able to provide you with a secure server even though it is likely that you have to pay an extra fee to your web host to allow your customers to submit their credit card and personal information to this secure server. Customers will know that they have entered a secured area when the security key is shown in the browser window.

Ease of Payment Mode

Online shoppers are often in a rush when making their purchases. As such, it is advisable to make your payment as simple as possible so that your clients can successful complete their transactions with a few clicks and in a matter of seconds. A complicated payment arrangement that confuses your customers may cause them to change their mind in buying your products.

Variety of Payment Options

You should also provide your customers with a range of payment choices such as paying by credit cards, cheque or direct transfer to your business account. This is to allow your customers the freedom to choose the best payment mode according to their preference.

a) Payment by MasterCard and Visa

You can now open a merchant account with a bank to become a credit card merchant so that your customers can make payments via their credit cards. Nowadays, there is no need to have a physical store in order to get your application approved. The approval process may take days or weeks and involves certain administrative charges.

Banks will typically charge a merchant application fee during the application. Transaction fees (normally 1-4 % of the transaction amounts) and monthly service charges are also payable.

b) Payment by American Express

You can apply online to be an American Express card merchant at their homepage if you wish to accept payments from American Express Card holders.

c) Payment via PayPal

As direct payment via an online payment service such as PayPal is becoming more frequent, you may also wish to accept credit card payments from similar payment service providers without having to apply a merchant account.

Transfer Credit Card Information

You need to transfer the credit card information to the banking system during a transaction.

You may choose to do it yourself in which you will require a point of sale software/terminal that is authorized to transmit data to the bank. The bank will then credit the amount into your business account within a few working days.

Alternatively, you may opt for automatic processing and engage an online payment gateway to process the transactions on your behalf and transfer the sum into your business account.

Other Useful Advise

a) Shopping Cart

It is recommended to install a virtual shopping cart on your website to provide ease of shopping by your customers. You should sign up with a web host that provides the shopping cart software as part of their service.

b) Information on Shipping Services

It is also advisable to provide links to shipping services in your website. These linked websites should list down the available shipping options, the cost of each option and estimated shipping timeline so that your customers can make an informed decision on the best shipping option.

In addition, you should highlight shipping services that allow tracking of shipping status to your customers so that they can be constantly updated.