So, you have a business.  You have a website.  And now you are teetering on the brink of selling online!  The thrill, the euphoria, the learning curve.  You are flooded with decisions like where to get your merchant account, which shopping cart to choose, and which payment gateway is right for you?  Here are a few things to keep in mind as you work your way through the process of choosing a merchant payment gateway.


Have you selected your shopping cart system? Yes or no, either way you will want to look into the compatibility of the payment gateway you are considering with the shopping cart software.  Certain gateways are very limited in the shopping carts they work with, and others are only compatible with very expensive shopping carts.  Be sure your payment gateway and your shopping cart are compatible before you buy.

AVS Protection

Check what services are available through the payment gateway.  Services like AVS (address verification system) protection decreases the incidence of accepting fraudulent transactions by verifying the billing address, and may even help in reducing fees charged by your merchant.  Even if you don’t immediately take advantage of the extra protections your payment gateway of choice has to offer, it is nice to know they are available should you want them later.

Fees up front and down the line

Always, always, always read the fine print.  This is the only way to protect yourself from “surprise charges” later.  Be sure you know how much the payment gateway costs up front.  Figure out the sticker price and calculate the future fees to help determine if this is a gateway you can afford.  Just like with any other important purchase, shop around.  Compare software prices and long term fees to find the best price on the merchant payment gateway that is right for you and your e-commerce company.

Develop long term relationships

Some merchant service companies approach a new business with the sole goal of signing. Some approach a new business with the goal of a lifetime client. One cares only about pulling in the front fee. The other hopes to build a relationship with you, and will be there from beginning to end, to answer your questions, and constantly work to provide you with the best service. Spend the time finding the right merchant service company for you. It will help you as you grow from a small startup company, to a company with strong ecommerce stability.

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