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"How To Accept Credit Cards
 On The Internet"

You may not need a merchant account.
See why at the end of this page...

These three are all you need
You need three things to process and manage transactions over the Internet:

  • a payment system,
  • a credit card merchant account,
  • and a computer with an Internet connection and a Web browser.

Payment systems are simply a means of letting you, the happy-go-lucky surfer, plug in a credit card number and demographic details. Name, address, and eye color. Along with a thumb print.

Sure, the electronic thumb print thing is fast becoming a reality. It's all about security, right? Right!

Here's how you might approach this mysterious affair:

  • You decide to make your purchase, so you sneak up to the order form, warily, wondering if the goods will indeed be delivered.
  • You enter your vitals. Then you dance around the "Process Order" button, having second thoughts. Fingers crossed.
  • You decide, finally, "Oh whatever. It's only money." And you press the button expecting... what, exactly? Does anyone tell you? Does this really work? Will I be ripped off? Am I scam bait?

Here's what happens when you press the submit button. 
Just like the machine at the bank, the gas station, the grocery store, or the ATM machines spread all over hill and dale, your vital data is being sent to yet another computer for validation and processing.

No rocket science. No magic. Just simple encryption at work. Just like you giving your number over the phone to a live operator, except your "voice" is completely weirded out and totally blitzed into undecipherable ness.

The numbers on your card, along with your name, and the expiration date, are compared with those at a credit card merchant bank after they're decoded, and if everything matches, and your account is current, and the electron gods are with ye, the verifying computer sends back a message...

"Congrats, Newbie Ned! Your card number is good. 
We'll add that purchase to your account

Merchants worry about you
But what about security? Well, it's not the merchant you have to worry about. And it's not the security of the technology. It's almost always the other way around--the merchants worry about you! Stolen cards, stolen numbers, fake identity, you know the story. You watch the news, read magazines, hear it on the radio.

But dishonesty aside, the credit card system works. Billions of dollars exchange hands daily. And billions of people get something new, and millions take that something back for exchange, credit or refund every day.

That's where honoring your guarantee comes in!

Your merchandise is ready for pickup
Alright, you've seen the verification process. You know you've been charged. But how do you get your merchandise? In a real store, it's obvious. On the Net, it's not quite so clear. At least not at first.

Our system provides you with immediate access to your merchandise as soon as your card clears. That's called instant gratification. No clunky password protection, no fuss, no muss. Just a clean, immediate delivery system thanks to the magic of programming. That's why our programmers can ask for the big money and they get it. They make this stuff happen! Without them, well, you know how to finish the sentence.

So now you've got your merchandise. You've downloaded it to your computer, or it arrives on a CD-ROM. What else do you get?

Safety and Privacy are our top concerns
You receive a confirmation follow-up e-mail with contact information in case there's a problem, concern, or you just want to praise the guys and gals who created that awesome e-book, computer program, or what-have-you. When you deal with us, you get phone numbers and addresses, too. Real people concerned about your safety and well-being.

And concerned with the power of word of mouth advertising, too!

Your credit card is hit with the charge you agreed to. In our case, you'd see Roglan International as the company creating the charge. That's Joe Robson and Tom Glander, working together to take the mystery out of technology and the Net.

"But, Techie Ted, how do I get my merchant account?" Now there's a good question! It can be tough. And it can really cost you if you don't watch out. Without naming names, we're going to present the top 3 pitfalls to avoid in your search for a merchant account.

And just below, what to do if you can't get a merchant account (you may not really need one).

Top Three Pitfalls
Watch out for the hidden charges. "Only $125 gets you an account. Nobody turned down." What they don't tell you up front is that you pay $50 a month on top of the discount rate. The discount rate is the fee you are charged, as a percentage, to use the merchant bank's account. It will range from 2% to as high as 16%. If you sell something for a hundred bucks, sixteen dollars is gone. Poof! It adds up fast.

Two: Watch out for annual fees. I came across one site that looked fantastic. Everyone accepted. Nobody rejected. "Ya'll come on in!" But as I dug, I discovered the small print: "$500 annual fee." No thanks.

Three: Watch out for hang time. That's what I call the length of time it takes to get your money. Normally, the process shouldn't take more than 48 hours from credit card verification and approval to deposit in your bank. Some places will hold your money until you've reached a set point, then they make the deposit.

Only three points. But worth paying close attention to.

Please fill out this application
You'll have to fill out an application. You'll be asked for supportive data on your business. Papers. Proof. And then there's the credit check. If you don't have good credit, you can expect to "pay through the nose" for the privilege of using a merchant bank. And yes, it is a privilege!

To recap: Use a payment system, such as Apply for a merchant account. Start at your local bank and ask questions. Work with people you know, and who know you.

Finally, you've already got the last ingredient. You're using it right now to view this page. A computer, a browser, and a connection to the Net.

What about foreign accounts (non-US)?
"Yeah, yeah, Tom, that's fine for you Yanks, but what about us Foreigners? We've got problems with U.S. banks, so how does this apply to us?" And what if I don't really need a merchant account at all? How does that work?

Glad you asked. There's actually another option available. You may not need a merchant account at all. Depends on how much volume you do, and how important it is for your company to control all aspects of its business.

Why you may not need your own merchant account
You don't actually need a merchant account if you're not doing a lot of volume in sales, and don't mind another company's name being attached to your sale. You can use what's called a third party credit card processor. Here's the quote from

"A 'third party credit card processor' is, in this case, a company that can accept credit card orders on behalf of you or your company. This makes obtaining a merchant account for your company unnecessary, although it could be worthwhile if you sell enough goods to warrant the expense involved." will pretty much set the record straight as it applies to scams. Heads up, friends! The Net is fantastic place to be, as long as you don't get snookered by the flim-flam man.

Pay a visit to the excellent site at They recommend Shareit, a great German company that will help, no matter where you live. And I don't make a dime recommending them!

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Copyright 2001 Roglan International LLC All Rights Reserved
All guest articles their respective authors