Although accepting credit cards can greatly improve your business, there are many other ways to accept payments online. If you have had trouble finding the right merchant account, or you just prefer not to deal with credit cards, there are viable alternatives that will allow you to continue to sell online without accepting credit cards.
One of the main benefits of credit cards, for both buyer and seller, is that the transaction is instantaneous. Your customers do not need to complete any additional steps to finalize their purchases, and they can make spur-of-the-moment decisions. Keep this in mind when you look at alternatives to credit cards. Learn to Choose the Right E-Commerce System.
Electronic checks or funds transfers allow customers to purchase their items immediately. All your customers need to do is enter in some basic information about their checking account, such as the check number, their bank account number, and their bank’s routing number. This transaction is then handled much like a credit card transaction. The customer’s bank is notified electronically that a payment needs to be sent, and the money is electronically deposited into your bank account.
There are many different transaction processors that will let you integrate e-check and EFT capability directly into your e-commerce shopping cart. Some companies will even allow you to accept these orders by phone and fax as well.
COD, the old mail-order standby, is another alternative. Customers place their order with you and then pay the delivery company for the item when it arrives. The delivery company then remits the payment to you (less a processing fee). Are There Difference Between Major Shipping Companies?
CODs can be risky, however. The delivery company is only the bearer of the payment, and accepts no responsibility for it. If the check bounces, you don’t get paid. The COD fee and the lag time in getting paid are two more distinct disadvantages.
Western Union offers a novel service: they allow your customers to pay for their purchases with a credit card, but Western Union then mails you a money order for the amount of the purchase. This saves the customer the trouble of purchasing and sending a money order, and lets you get around actually processing the credit card transaction.
PayPal also offers e-check and transfer options for businesses without merchant accounts. Your customers can pay by check, credit card, or from their PayPal balance. Once the payment is in your PayPal account, you can disburse it however you choose to.
Of course, just accepting credit cards would make your life as an e-business owner much easier. But if you are dead-set against credit cards, there are ways around it. But it will mean more work — and possibly a smaller piece of the pie.