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merchant account can be very costly and the funny thing is that you don't even need them. You have many payments services that you can incorporate on your website and start making money online, without needing a merchant account and still make it available for your client to buy online example Google checkout, Paypal, 2checkout... most of these service take any major credit cards : visa, discovery, mastercard
I work in a web design and marketing company check out the specs for an ecommerce website you will like what we offer
Your bank can give you the best idea, but you probably don't
need a "real" merchant account yourself unless you're doing a lot of
volume. What most people start with is a service that has their own
merchant account. they sell you a psuedo-merchant account.
Fee's vary by volume - number of purchases per month, high,
low, and average purchase cost, type of product - physical or intagible - e.g.
is it a mountain bke, or a download?, the way you confirm the cc info/customer,
and the number/percentage of chargebacks. And also if you are a
"real" business - e.g. legally - and if so, for how long.
I resell for e-payment and they're pretty good from a
resellers viewpoint. I also like ikobo and 2checkout. Leaning more towards
ikobo no recent problems in the past year, low fees, nice api, good charge-back
policy, and easy access to the $.
ikobo and 2heckout would be on my A list for someone just
getting into e-commerce. e-payment is a little more involved. I like e-payment
for recurring billing, but 2checkout, and I believe ikobo have both got new
capabilities in that area.
All payment services have had problems art one time or
another. ikobo, 2checkout, and paypall seem to have put most of them behind
them. Paysystems is going through a bad time right now, and it would be best to
avoid them - IMHO.
EDIT: BTW - $ savings on cc fees by being a
"real" business" will often cover the cost of getting set up as
an LLC within the first year given a moderate amount of sales. You can also
Honest Merchant Report