If you run an online shop, you need to find the best merchant account for an ecommerce store. This ensures that you can accept credit and debit cards securely and cater to the most customers with maximum convenience. But choosing the best merchant services for your ecommerce store is an important decision, and certain qualities are essential. When researching your options, here are 10 things to look out for.
1. Look for Merchant Services With Competitive Rates
The price is the first thing that most business owners consider when comparing merchant providers. But while you always want to get a competitive rate, you shouldn’t disqualify a merchant provider simply because they don’t have the lowest cost. “Too cheap” is a red flag; it indicates that you may be getting poor service or an outright scam.
The most important thing to consider is the types of fees that are imposed. Some services look cheap in the beginning, but then you realise that they impose sign-up fees, maintenance fees, batch fees, terminal fees, gateway fees, interchange fees, transaction fees, and other fees you can’t even pronounce.
Read the fine print. Once you get past the basic setup fees, you shouldn’t have to pay more than a modest monthly service fee and a per-transaction percentage as part of your regular service. If you can find transaction fees that are close to 1%, you might have a winner on your hands.
2. PCI-Compliant Security Is Critical In Ecommerce
Any business that accepts credit card payments is required to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The standard was developed by the PCI Security Standards Council, a consortium of credit card and other payment companies like Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. If your business isn’t PCI-compliant, you can’t accept payments from these companies.
PCI-compliant merchant providers undergo regular security audits and are certified to securely manage high-volume payments without data breaches. Ideally, you want to work with a merchant provider that offers Level 1 PCI Compliance. This is the strictest PCI DSS compliance level and requires a full site audit every year.
3. Find a Merchant Account With Chargeback Protection
A merchant provider need only have a secure gateway in order to be granted a PCI compliance certification. However, ecommerce businesses are subject to other types of fraud that encrypted data can’t prevent, like chargeback fraud. You need a merchant services provider that has chargeback prevention tools in place, preferably at no additional cost.
A chargeback occurs when a customer demands a refund from the bank. Quite often, these charges are fraudulent, such as when a customer falsely claims that they never received an item or that the item was damaged. Whenever a customer receives a refund from a chargeback, you have to pay a penalty. And if you have too many chargebacks, your merchant account may be suspended or cancelled.
Chargeback prevention tools are designed to identify potential problem customers ahead of time, based on previous payment activity, IP address, geographic location, or other identifying factors. The merchant can then deny service to the buyer or take additional steps to document and track the purchase. QPay Europe’s Fraud Scrub technology is one of the most sophisticated chargeback prevention tools in the industry.
4. Prioritize Merchant Accounts Who Provide Real-Time Data Access
It’s not enough to simply be able to accept credit card payments. You need to be able to manage your transactions in real time. This may mean approving or declining flagged transactions, optimising your preferred payment methods, reviewing your recent sales, or analysing sales trends.
Look for a merchant provider that offers round-the-clock account access and merchant tools. At the very least, you’ll want access to an account dashboard that lays out all recent sales information in an easy-to-read format. The dashboard should be mobile-friendly, secure, and accessible from any location.
The best merchant accounts for ecommerce will save and archive customer information without the need for third-party support. This allows merchants to build their email subscriber base, remarket with ease, and encourage customer loyalty.
5. Look for Ecommerce Merchant Account Services That Cater to Your Needs
There are a lot of excellent ecommerce merchant providers out there, but not every one is right for every business. You need to work with a provider that offers the features unique to your business.
For example, if you offer an affiliate program that pays commissions for customer referrals, you’ll want to work with a payment provider that offers affiliate management tools. If you provide a membership or subscription service, you’ll need to work with a merchant provider that supports recurring billing.
6. Fully-Hosted Merchant Accounts Are Great for Ecommerce
Some ecommerce merchant providers require you to host your own payment page. This means higher costs, less fluid transactions, and even the possibility of third-party interception.
With a fully hosted ecommerce solution, the merchant provider hosts the transaction without the customer having to leave the merchant’s website. The process is faster, easier, more affordable, and more secure.
7. Find a Provider Compatible With Your Ecommerce Platform
A fully hosted platform is only beneficial if you can actually integrate it into your site. For instance, some merchant providers are fully compatible with BigCommerce and Shopify but useless with WooCommerce.
When looking for the best merchant services provider, check the app store or extension marketplace provided by your shopping cart platform. See if the merchant provider has a plug-in or app available. If not, contact them and find out if their hosted service is compatible with your site.
8. Find Merchant Accounts That Accept the Most Ecommerce Payment Methods
It’s not enough to find a merchant provider that accepts major credit cards. If you want to minimise your declined transactions and maximise your bottom line, you need the means to accommodate customers from all over the world with all types of payment preferences.
The best ecommerce processors will accept over 100 forms of currency from countries worldwide. They should be able to support a range of alternative payment methods.
9. Best Ecommerce Merchant Account Providers Offer Scalable Features
If you run a small or medium business and you have strong expansion ambitions, make sure that your merchant services provider can keep up with your growth—and help you to navigate that growth without disruption to your day-to-day operations.
You want to work with a merchant provider that caters to both small and large organisations. They should offer tiered memberships for businesses of different sizes. As your business grows, you can adjust your membership to account for the new features and bandwidth that you require.
This is another reason why it’s so important to opt for a provider with PCI Level 1 compliance. Level 1-compliant businesses are equipped to manage the greatest number of credit card transactions (more than 6 million transactions annually), so you never have to worry about outgrowing your provider.
10. Find Merchant Account Providers With a Stellar Reputation
Finally, even if everything sounds perfect and the provider offers all of the features you require, you always want to do your homework and seek out third-party reviews before signing a contract. Consider how long the company has been in business, what merchants are saying about them, and whether the business has any significant consumer complaints. If everything checks out, you may have just found the best merchant account for your ecommerce store.
If you’re struggling to find that ideal payment partner, we invite you to check out QPay Europe. Here are just a few reasons why our customers consider us their perfect merchant account:
- We offer competitive rates with transaction fees as low as 1%
- Our security is top-notch; we’re Level 1 PCI certified and SHA-256 encrypted
- We offer round-the-clock fraud and chargeback prevention
- Our user-friendly merchant dashboard is accessible from any device
- We offer affiliate marketing support, recurring billing, and other specialty services to assist businesses of all types
- Our services are fully hosted, ensuring greater security and more streamlined transactions
- Our solution easily integrates into all shopping cart and ecommerce platforms
- We accept over 100 payment methods and accommodate customers from all over the world; we even accept alternative payment methods
- Our solutions are fully customisable and scalable; they grow with your business
- Our award-winning services are trusted by thousands of merchants across all major industries
If you want the best merchant account for your ecommerce store, we invite you to sign up today. There’s no obligation to pay for our services. See for yourself why so many merchants choose QPay Europe.