Posted on October 12, 1999

  The Add Me! Newsletter            *** ISSUE #68 ***
  "Free tips for promoting your website and business"
  Add Me, Inc          
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                ...TODAY'S ARTICLE...

             >> Taking Orders Online! <<

  October 12th, 1999                     *** ISSUE #68 ***

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             .....TODAY'S ARTICLE.....

               Taking Orders Online!

  By Curtis Stevens

  Is your online business accepting credit cards? There are 
  many ways to take credit cards and to process your orders 
  online.  We have spent weeks researching how to get set up 
  with a merchant account to process orders, and here are the 
  options that we found: 

  - Using Someone Else's Merchant Account - 

  Merchant accounts are agreements with banks and transaction 
  processors that allow you to accept credit card charges. 
  First consider if you want to get your own merchant account 
  or use someone else's. Many companies will let you use their 
  merchant account for a percent of the sale.  Fees for such 
  services start at 9% and go higher. 

  There are disadvantages to using another company's merchant 
  account. You are going to pay about three times or more 
  than you would if you had your own merchant account. You 
  do not have complete control, and there are transaction 
  limits, such as minimum charge amounts. Finally, most 
  companies do not give you your money until a month or 
  longer after the transaction. 

  - Finding a Merchant Account Provider - 

  Just like web hosting, the number of companies offering 
  merchant accounts has grown substantially, and there are 
  now thousands of providers to choose from. You can search 
  for providers at < >. When you 
  find a company that you like, you might want to call them 
  up and talk to them. Ask them questions like:

  - How will the merchant account work?
  - Are there any hidden fees?
  - Do you charge a Programming Fee, if I have my own software?
  - Is there a monthly minimum fee.

  Get to know the company and ask any questions you can think of.
  Make sure you are completely comfortable about their service 
  before signing up.  At the above web site, there are some 
  articles that might help you better understand this subject.

  To start taking credit cards from your customers right away, 
  just visit Charge.Com.  They have the very best rates, and they 
  charge no application fee.  You won't find a better deal anywhere.

  Just click here, or cut and paste it into your browser:

  - Software - 

  If you get a merchant account, you also need software. The 
  software you choose depends on your business. If you are 
  taking orders exclusively over the Internet and do not have 
  the physical credit card, then you might be better off with 
  a computer program.  You can use a terminal, but software 
  might be easier if you have customers that order more than 
  one time. Because it has a reoccurring charge feature.  
  There are a few programs available online and a very popular 
  one is PC Charge from Go Software Inc.  This software lets 
  you enter and store the customers' credit card information 
  to charge at ease.

  PC Charge is available from most merchant account providers. 
  The PC Charge and terminals usually cost around $400 and up.

  If you are a retail business and use the physical credit 
  cards for transactions, then you can use a terminal to get 
  charge authorizations.  A terminal will let you enter the 
  credit card number or you can swipe it.  You can use a 
  terminal no matter what business you have.  Terminals are 
  also available from most merchant account providers. 

  - Automatic or Manual? - 

  You need to decide if you want your orders to be processed 
  automatically or manually. To manually authorize transactions, 
  you have to enter the credit card information into a software 
  program, terminal or swipe the card with your terminal.  If 
  you have the physical part of a card, then using a terminal 
  will be the best and fastest way for you.

  Automatic processing is best for Internet based companies, 
  or businesses that will not have the physical part of the 
  card.  How this works is people will order online and the 
  order form will be setup with a program that will process 
  and charge the credit card for you.  Most companies offer 
  this and use a program called Authorize.  This program can 
  save you time, but it is more expensive.  Most companies 
  offer the above program, and fees can range from $495 and 
  up.  Either two ways are efficient for online businesses.

  - Complete Control - 

  If your business is strictly online, then a program like 
  PC Charge or a terminal might be the best way. Though it 
  takes a little more time, it gives you the control to stop 
  orders if you think they are fraudulent. Conversely, 
  automatic order processing offers convenience, but with 
  less control. 

  - Programming Fee - 

  If you don't buy the operating software from your merchant 
  provider, most companies will charge you a large fee for 
  programming third-party software. All this consist of is 
  changing a few things in the software. I have seen fees 
  ranging from a few hundred dollars to $500.  There are a 
  few companies available that will not charge you this fee.  
  Search around and you should fine one.

  -Taking Orders - 

  There are basically four ways to take orders online. You 
  can set up a form on your web site so orders are emailed 
  to you, or you can use shopping cart software. You might 
  want to use a shopping cart if you have many products or 
  services, because it's easier for customers to 
  point-and-click their purchases than manually entering 
  numerous item numbers, colors, sizes, etc.  Ask your web 
  hosting provider and see if one is included with their 
  service.  If not, then you might want to look at Dansie 
  < >  It is a professional shopping cart 
  that should meet your needs. The other two ways are by 
  phone and fax. These two methods are not as popular, but 
  some customers prefer them. 

  - Secure Server - 

  For anyone to order from your web site, you are going to 
  need to make your order forms or shopping cart secure. Ask 
  your web hosting provider if you can use their secure server 
  (SSL).  This feature might be an extra fee if it is not 
  included with your hosting package. 

  Curtis Stevens is the owner of the Internet Marketing Success. 
  A free weekly newsletter that is shipped directly to your e-mail 
  box full of Internet marketing and promotion secrets. A little 
  good advice never hurt anyone and everyone can use this valuable 
  resource on a consistent basis, so sign up now free of charge 
  and take your business to the next level! 

  Go here: < > or send a blank email 

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