[ glossary ]


For low-volume sites, a "real" Merchant Account may be quite expensive because because of the monthly fees, setup fees, gateway fees, not to mention difficulties getting approved for a merchant account.

In this case, using a "third-party" credit card processing company may be a good option. These companies basically handle credit card transactions for you for a commission, which is higher than you get from a normal Merchant Account.

The benefits of such operations are that this greatly simplifies your web site setup and you only pay for actual sales. Once you are approved for such a service (it is usually much easier to get approved for a 3-rd party processing than for a "real" merchant account; however, you may be subject to security limits) you create so-called "ordering links" pointing to the company server. Each link corresponds to one of your products. You place these links on your web site. When a visitor clicks on such a link he/she will go to an external web site, which handles the entire credit card transaction for you.

Third party credit card processor is a good choice for start-up businesses because of the relatively simple set-up and commission structure favorable to low-volume merchants. An established, high-volume business will be better off with a "real" Merchant Account.

Here are some popular third-party credit card processing companies:

There is also an option of Payments via PayPal which works in a similar way.