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Accepting credit cards and other forms of electronic payments is the only way for the businesses of today to continue to stay in the game. Today’s consumer wants options when it comes to how they pay for things. Those options include cash, electronic check, ACH transfer, credit and debit cards. Merchants that want to succeed need to take the widest possible variety of payment options possible. One convenient way for merchants to do this is to utilize a payment gateway. A payment gateway is an internet service that allows you to utilize a computer to log into a virtual terminal, and then the gateway transmits the information to an electronic payment processor. For typical face to face merchants, having a standalone credit card terminal is a viable option. For merchants that process entirely over the internet, or who rarely, if ever actually see the card that they are charging, a terminal can just needlessly take up space. There are a variety of powerful virtual terminal programs available that allow you to turn any computer with an internet connection into a terminal where you can key in your information and then transmit it to the same networks that stand alone terminals do. In order to make this happen, you will need to use a payment gateway. Even face to face merchants are finding that using a payment gateway is a viable option. Many retailers are opting to use integrated POS systems that are both a cash register and a credit card terminal. Many of these are actually computers. Other merchants, who may not have a set physical location, favor using these types of applications so that they can secure process credit card and ACH transactions even when they are on the go, at trade shows, craft fairs and other events. Having a laptop that is configured to talk to the gateway can turn any location into a storefront. Not all payment gateways are compatible with all electronic payment processors. Before considering purchasing a software package that utilizes a specific payment gateway, it is important that you check with your processor to ensure that they can support that configuration. It is also important to make sure that the gateway and software combination that you are selecting supports all of the different payment methods that you wish to offer. Once you hit upon the correct combination, your electronic payments processor can have you up and running in no time.

Posted in Credit Cards on Dec 23, 2009