A merchant account is a contract with a bank that allows you to accept credit card payments from customers at your e-commerce store. Without a merchant account, customers cannot make payments directly on your website. Instead, they must be taken off-site, make payment elsewhere (such as at PayPal or Google Checkout), and then be re-directed back to your site. Offering secure checkout on your site significantly improves your store's conversion rate.
Merchant account providers charge merchants (i.e. the retailers using their services) fees for their credit card processing services, which are called merchant fees. They are made up of a few different types of fees:
- Monthly statement fee - the monthly minimum fee for merchant account services (usually around $30 per month)
- Discount fees - a percentage of each transaction processed, based on the discount rate (which is usually around 2.5-4.5%)
- Per-transaction fees - a small fee (usually ~35 cents) charged on each transaction, in addition to the discount fee
- Batch fees - a small fee (usually ~25-30 cents) for "batching" (closing out) a group of transactions (usually done every ~24 hours)
- PCI compliance fee - a monthly fee charged by banks related to PCI compliance
Store Coach has worked out an exclusive agreement with a leading merchant account provider called National Bankcard Systems of Durango. Through this exclusive agreement, Store Coach members get preferential rates and contract terms. Click here to learn about these special rates/terms and to apply for a Durango merchant account.
When you have a merchant account and accept credit card payments on your site, you need 2 things to ensure that the payment processing is safe and secure:
- Secure Gateway - A secure "portal" for connecting your shopping cart software to the bank that processes the payment. Durango merchant accounts INCLUDE a secure gateway, so you don't need to set up a separate gateway account or pay separate gateway fees.
- SSL Certificate - An add-on software you upload to your web hosting that encrypts (or "scrambles") all of the sensitive and private information moving to and from your website. Click here to get an SSL certificate for only $12.99 per year.
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