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Merchant' has a dream...
Do you want to start selling online but
not sure what's what and how it all works?
Well Mr W Merchant is in the same predicament.
Here we will explain what it is you need
to do, explain what everything means and
finally explain how it all works to come
together to create the ability to sell
Right, what's first?
- Company type and bank account
If you are not set-up in business yet you will
first need to decide what type of company you
will be. Either Limited etc. or sole trader.
The main reason for this is because it is dependent
on what type of bank account you can use to
If Limited, PLC etc. you will need to have a
business bank account set-up. If on the other
hand you are a sole trader you can use a personal
bank account. The bank accounts are where you
want the money to be paid into from each transaction.
You can use your current bank account or you
can simply set one up when you are
ready to start trading online.
If, for whatever reason, you are wanting to
channel your online
transactions into say two different bank
accounts, you would need to set-up
a different merchant account for each and
use the relevant account depending on where
you wanted the money to go. Say for example
you want the money taken from your TV sales
to go into your NatWest bank account and the
money taken for DVD sales into another
NatWest account or even a totally different
bank such as Lloyds TSB - you will need to set-up
a different merchant account for each bank.
Please note that if you decide to go down the
sole trader route and then become Limited at
a later date, you will have to re-apply
for this service as you would have become
a new legal entity.
Secondly you need
the ability to get paid
You need the ability for visitors to your
website to actually pay you. To be able to
credit and debit card payments online
you need what is called a 'Merchant
Account' - A Merchant Account is an account
opened through a bank that is a member of
the Visa, MasterCard, or other credit card
network which allows merchants to accept credit
cards - and a 'payment
gateway' - A payment gateway relays card
and card holder information to the merchant
account. Without one you could not process
Remember we supply both the merchant account
and the payment gateway as part of our online
So, which of the four
accounts you provide should I use?
This depends largely on how you operate your
business and what your priorities are i.e.
cash flow, when you want to get paid, type
of business etc.
Account and Gateway Solution 1 Account
offers a 1.7% transaction charge
with a £25 monthly fee and no set-up
and you are paid (settled) daily.
Account and Gateway Solution 2 Account
has costs from just 1.5%, £20 a month
and a £50 set-up fee. You are paid
the full amount when you get settled, however
it is 14 days in arrears.
Our third account, the High-Risk
Merchant Account + Gateway, is mainly
for high risk businesses. This has a transaction
charge from 3.5% (subject to application),
monthly fee of £25 and a set-up of
Finally our Adult
Merchant Account and Gateway is, as
you can guess, for Adult related businesses.
We don't mean adult toys etc. (you can use
our Solution 1 Account for this) we mean
pornography, escort agencies etc. As you
can imagine this is a very high-risk industry
so therefore the transaction charges are
higher than any other account. These start
from 5% and go up to 8% per transaction.
Right, all that's
done. What now?
You've set-up your business, arranged a
bank account and worked out which account
is best... what now? Ifd you are wanting
to sell via a website you now need to set-up
your website and shopping
cart and get your products out there
to sell. If, on the other hand, you will
payment over the phone
instead (or as well as) then you can start
to use the Virtual
Terminal or VPOS
system straight away.
What is a shopping
A shopping cart
is a piece of software that produces a product
inventory and shopping mechanism for your
shoppers to view and buy your products online.
It works on the principle of placing products
from a catalogue into a basket, then going
to a checkout to pay for the goods. (Similar
model to a supermarket).
Do I need an ecommerce
This is dependent on the number of products
that you are intending to sell. If you have
just 1 or 2 products with fixed prices,
and standard shipping rates you could design
your site so you only use our payment secure
process to take the orders online. If on
the other hand, you are selling multiple
products with complex pricing and shipping
costs we strongly recommend the
use of a shopping cart. This will enable
you create a structured product inventory
which looks professional and is fully integrated
with our payment process.
My website is built
and integrated. Is there anything else I
What about marketing
your website and search engine optimisation?
Many companies go online and think by doing
so they will make money over night and their
business will become successful. Well unfortunately
this just isn't true and many simply get
lost in cyberspace! Just like a normal high
street business you need to market
your site and work hard at turning your
online venture into a successful enterprise
making thousands rather than hundreds of
pounds per month. Because of this we have
put together a rough
guide to marketing your web site.
What is Search
Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
At present statistics show that 85 percent
of all user traffic comes from the main
search engines this means 85 percent of
1 billion Internet users worldwide (including
more than 35 million in the UK). A user
base that is growing all the time. There
are over 6 billion websites competing
for top spots on the search engines, for
this search engine optimisation is needed.
SEO (search engine optimisation) is one
of the most essential factors in your
websites' success. Search engine optimisation
is the procedure of selecting and positioning
your website's targeted 'keywords' and
'key phrases' which are used as part of
a web search by your potential customers
to ensure that your site is placed high
on the search engine results.
Is that it?
One more word of warning...
When you first get a website
you will probably spend time working out what kind
to get. Should it be perfectly designed and aesthetically
appealing or functional and attention grabbing? You
will spend hours poring over the words for the home
page, deciding exactly what shade of blue to use and
working out the finer details of navigation. Probably
for the first few months you will eagerly post new
client stories and special offers but, as the novelty
wears off, so will your enthusiasm.
If you don't continue to update your website
then the message you give out to prospective and existing
customers may no longer be the one you want to give
In a few months take a good hard look at your site.
Are there news stories that are out of date? Are your
company contact details up to date and correct? Does
your website really reflect who you are today?
If any of these ring a bell then it really is time
you revisited your website. A few years ago it was
fine to not have a website, now it's the first port
of call for most business customers to check on information
about your company. Poor design or inaccurate information
can mean the difference between a new client or no
If you decide to sell online,
we wish you every success!
Call us today on 0845 475 3540
to discuss your payment solution needs