According to a Pew Research study, Americans’ reliance on physical currency is on the decline. Around 29 percent of U.S. adults have reported that they do not use cash when they make purchases on a typical week. 

Those respondents who did say that mostly all or all of their purchases have been made with cash dropped from 24% back in 2015 to 18% in 2018. 

There is no question that great advancements in technology have increasingly shifted a consumer’s need from physical cash. Plus, the pandemic also had a significant impact, further accelerating that shift. 

As a result, more businesses that have fared better, post-pandemic, have done so because they were equipped to process card payments online. Let’s take a look at what it would take to accept and process card payments via your online store. 

What Is A Merchant Account?

In order to accept credit card payments online, you will need to open up a merchant account. Merchant accounts are considered a type of bank account that facilitates the acceptance of card payments via your online store.

When your customer makes a purchase on your website, the merchant account retains the funds temporarily, as there are certain verifications that first need to be made. Typically, the process goes like this:

  1. Customer buys a product online
  2. Merchant account verifies the availability of funds
  3. The purchase is then verified by the card association, such as Visa or Mastercard
  4. The funds ultimately get deposited into your business bank account

The money is typically held for a couple of business days within the merchant account to undergo verification, authorization, and security. 

When you open a merchant account, it can be integrated into your website in order to receive funds. 

What Is A Payment Gateway?

A payment gateway is a software application whose role is to accept or reject credit cards and other forms of electronic payments. As it “opens its gates” to allow money to flow through, it securely encrypts customers’ information to keep it safe. 

Payment gateways are relatively easy to set up and offer a host of services that are customizable, according to the industry. 

Other Methods To Accept Online Payments

The capabilities to accept online payments do not end here, there are still more options to choose from when it comes to accepting payments, via your e-Commerce store. Here are a few.

E-Checks

As the name implies, e-Checks are a digital version of a paper check. It also goes by different names such as an online check, electronic check, direct debit, and even an internet check. E-Checks typically use the Automated Clearing House (ACH) to make a direct debit from a customer’s account and into a merchant’s business bank account. This is all done via a payments processor.

Using e-Checks offers many benefits, including processing transactions faster, easier, and safer since they are transmitted electronically.

Mobile Wallet Payments

According to Statista, it’s estimated that by the year 2023, well over 1.31 billion people around the world will have used mobile payment apps for at least six months. Mobile wallets are apps that store bank card details on a smartphone which facilitates making payments online quickly. 

Some of the most popular mobile wallets in use today include Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay. If you are looking to sell in the Chinese market, the options include WeChat Pay and AliPay.

Recurring Billing Software

If you are running a subscription-based business, then it would be of great benefit to investing in recurring billing software, also known as automated billing software. With this software, your customers are able to make a payment automatically each time their payment is due. Not only does it make the lives of your customers easier, but it also means that you as a business will get paid on time. 

Businesses that provide a convenient and seamless payment experience for customers will see their profits soar. That is because customers will be very happy at just how easy it is to shop with your online store, which automatically translates to more profit for your business.  

Get Ready To Accept Payments In Your Online Store

The statistics are clear when it comes to the direction of e-Commerce in the coming years. Even before, and now, after the pandemic, online shopping continues to soar worldwide as more people are looking for a faster and safer way to make their purchases. 

The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to offering your customers a variety of payment methods to suit their needs and preferences.