1001 Newbie - Friendly Tips by Bob McElwain - HTML preview

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Take Credit Cards Orders On The Cheap

We've all heard it. You simply can not do business on the Web unless you can handle all that plastic folks love so much. You must offer instant gratification, for it's the way of things these days, right?

But  a  merchant  account  is  not  free.  While  the  percentage  taken  off  a transaction   may   be   as   little   as   two   percent,   your   cost   per   sale   can   be considerably higher unless you have a good volume of sales. There is usually a set up fee for a merchant account, ranging from $300 and up, and it's mostly up. If  you  depend  upon  software,  you  may  need  to  buy  that  as  well.  And  buy  the upgrade  whenever  it  is  demanded  of  you.  This  is  not  cost  effective  without sufficient volume. So what is a person to do?

I  ran  across  ClickBank.Com the  other  day.  They  can  get  you  up  and running for $39. (Compared to setting up a merchant account, this is dirt cheap!) They want 10% on  each  transaction.  This  may  sound  like  bad  news,  but  it  is  more  likely meaningless. For one thing you don't have to mess around getting order forms up on a secure server. You do none of the work of handling the transaction. And they mail a check every two weeks.

I  have  not  tried  this  program,  but  I  checked  out  the  site  with  some  care. While  it  looks  like  a  straight-up  operation  to  me,  this  is  something  everybody must decide for themselves. However, $39 is not a lot to risk.

If you are just getting started on the Web and do not have many sales, this may be your salvation. You'll need to check the math relative to your operation, but a merchant account that costs say $200 to $300 per year to sustain is likely to cost a good deal more per sale on small volume.

One reservation: The order screen at ClickBank is quite different than most you see on the Web. You may want to check this with care to be sure it will suit your customers.

There is yet another way to go.  If you have a friend or business acquaintance with a merchant account, they may be able to take orders for you. Something like 15% will cover your friend's costs and you put up zero dollars going in. It's a nice way to start, particularly if you don't know if you will ever get an order! (Be sure to set this up in a manner acceptable to your friend's merchant account service, or the account might be canceled.)

Given success, however, you will want to get your own merchant account at some point. On your favorite search engine, try "merchant account" and/or "credit card orders." You will find a bunch. It's worth the time to shop. Finding the plan that suits your needs can save real dollars.

If you or your spouse has an account with Costco, check into the merchant account  service  they  offer.  If  you  are  already  paying  the  $100/year  premium membership  fee,  you  may  find  the  account  they  offer  to  be  the  best  deal available.

An update from a subscriber who likes ClickBank - Bob

I  have  been  using  ClickBank  for  my  e-book  and  advertising  as  well  as  a couple of services upon which I have set a fixed price. I have been very pleased with  the  service.  It's  easy  to  set  up  and  to  add  a  new  product.  Pam  Jones  - ProfitPowerPromo.Com

01/12/00:  Another  Update  -  MultCards.Com offers  a  different  way  of handling credit purchases. They take the order, and forward accumulated funds weekly. You do not need a merchant account. The charge per transaction varies, but is essentially 10% plus one dollar. When the annual fee is added in, you may find  a  merchant  account  more  cost  effective,  but  this  may  be  an  effective alternative for some.