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Ecommerce Hosting - How To Choose A Merchant Account
 
For a number of e-Businesses, discovering the best way to accept payments is a frustrating task. As the Internet is an instant medium, it is highly recommended that a ecommerce website must accept credit/debit cards and online checks as modes of payment. In order to accept credit card transactions, you require setting up a merchant account with a merchant bank. As soon as you set up a merchant account, an online processor can provide you with the software or gateway you need to transact.

Selecting a suitable merchant account is considered to be one of the most tough business decisions you make as their existence has almost doubled and are now into more than hundreds. At the time of choosing a merchant account, you should be aware of the cost involved in setting up the account. Refer to the list below and donít forget to ask about each of these items before agreeing to an account.

Application Fee
The application fee is compulsory so an agent or bank can "research" you as a potential customer. Few firms are more likely to repay this fee if your application is not accepted while others won't. It is always advisable not to pay an application fee that will not be refunded in case you are rejected.

Minimum Account Billing
This fee requires you to do a least amount of business with a merchant bank. A majority of banks require a monthly minimum of at least 25 dollars in transaction fees. Anything less than 35 dollars minimum is satisfactory.

Statement Fee
In case there is a considerable minimum-billing need, then there should be no statement fee. Still, a number of banks charge this to cover administrative costs. If you are assessed a statement fee, it shouldn't exceed 10 dollars per month.

Charge back Fee
In case a customer is not satisfied with their purchase, can't get a refund, or is just looking for something free, you may be faced with a charge back attempt. Under this, the bank will return customerís fund and debit your account for the full amount. Always make sure to ask about your bank's charge back policy. Most banks tend to be more loyal to cardholders than merchants so protect yourself by preventing charge back fees.

Transaction Fee
This fee, which is usually about 2-3 percent of the purchase, is assessed on every transaction. If a product costs US$100, the bank would receive US$2-3 for their services. While rates are relative to the nature of your business, anticipated volume and your credit history, you should never pay more than 3 percent.

Setup Fee
This covers administrative work necessary to establish your account. In case you're charged an installation or programming fee, there shouldn't be a setup fee. There is a considerable amount of work completed to create merchant accounts, so fees of US$50-500 should be expected.

At the time of approaching banks or an intermediary about a merchant account, always keep in mind the following tips:

1. Read the terms, conditions and anticipated charges carefully. Don't sign anything until your questions are answered to your satisfaction. Take time to understand exactly what you are getting and how much you are paying to get it.

2. Do you require a reserve account? It shouldn't be, but if you are a start-up Internet business, have poor to marginal credit, anticipate low volumes or run a "risk" business, it may be required.

3. How long before funds are available to you? Ideally it should not take more than 72 hours from the time an order or transaction is processed.

Given below are some of the options available with whom you can setup your merchant account.

Paypal: With a free PayPal account one can accept credit cards on your website immediately
Click bank: It offers distribution of digital products and has an instant affiliate network promoting your business.

North American Bancard: It is a full service payment solution provider of Credit, Debit, EBT, Check Conversion and Guarantee, Checks by Phone & Net.

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