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Writer's Website - Getting Paid!
by Lee Masterson
Accepting Credit Cards and Online Payments
By now, you should have completed a basic web page template design, finished your manuscript and thought about ways to get buyers to your site.
But have you thought about how your readers are going to actually pay for your book?
Creating a killer website, complete with sales spiel, a great graphic of your book's cover and an excerpt of your work is a great start. Finding a way to take your customers money securely is the not-so-easy step.
Traditional merchant accounts can be expensive to a writer on a limited budget. Banks can charge processing fees, set up fees, a percentage of the sale amount in transaction fees, and some even have fees for not reaching a designated minimum sale amount.
Scary thought, huh?
Sure, you could include a postal address on your website and ask your clients to post you a check for the purchase. You wait a few days for the check to arrive in the post, wait a few more days for the check to clear and then send your product out to your customer. This works quite well, assuming the check is not an international one, requiring 30 days clearance (plus exorbitant banking fees).
Many people still conduct business this way quite profitably. There are still fees involved whenever you bank a check, and some banks will even require you have a separate account for your business transactions, meaning even more fees.
Recent surveys, however, have shown that the inability to process an order using online transactions could lose you up to 90% of potential sales! That is a staggering figure. Never underestimate the power of impulse buying - especially in a global market environment like the Internet.
Obviously, the next step is to figure a way to take payments from your customers online, both securely and cost-effectively.
Here are some ways to give customers access to secure transactions, without spending a fortune.
Third-Party Merchant Accounts
Third Party Merchant Accounts - or payment gateways - allow you to accept credit card and online transactions, even though you don't have a merchant account of your own. If you do not plan to sell a huge range of products on your website, then you may want to consider this option.
Basically, a third-party merchant will act as the intermediary between you and your customers. They will take the order on your behalf, provide a secure page for your customers to enter their payment details, and they even bill the customer for you. When your customer receives his or her statement, the purchase will show the name of the third-party merchant, not your business.
All you have to do is fill the order!
Here are some third-party providers to help you begin to accept credit card and online payments almost immediately.
Setting up a ClickBank account is free - charges are only incurred once you begin to sell your own products.
Creating an account is simple and relatively quick, however, you will require some time to set up your own sales links and thank-you pages - both necessary requirements with the ClickBank service. Detailed instructions and technical support are available at the site, and we also have a free ebook to offer people considering ClickBank. You can download it here: http://www.fictionfactor.com/clickbook.exe
Another great thing about ClickBank is their marketplace. Already jammed with thousands of products and services, the marketplace offers somewhere else to get your product out there into the public eye.
ClickBank will process Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Eurocard and Novus cards. There is a one-time $49.95 activation fee and a $1 plus 7.5% fee per sale. There are no monthly fees.
Go to ClickBank
PayPal is already widely used by authors for its simplicity and ease of use. PayPal has no set up fees for Personal accounts, but you are limited to the amounts that you can send and receive. Payments are processed using your own email address to access your account and you are notified at that same email address each time a transaction occurs.
Premier and Business accounts are similar to the Personal account, but the Business account allows registration as a business. Of course, these two options have fees attached. While it is free to set up the initial account, and you are not charged to sent money to others, money that you receive that is paid by credit card, you will be charged a fee of 2.9% plus a $.30 transaction fee.
International users of PayPal are somewhat more limited than our US counterparts. Check the website for further details.
Go to PayPal
iBill (Internet Billing Company, Ltd.) is a premier provider of turnkey e-commerce solutions for leading businesses around the world. The company provides secure transaction services that enable Web merchants to accept and process real-time payments for goods and services purchased over the Internet.
iBill handles all banking, risk management, affiliate management and customer service issues for Internet merchants selling products and services. In addition, iBill Complete offers the most comprehensive payment options on the web, including credit cards, online checks, and telephone billing.
iBill charges a 10-20% fee per transaction on telephone billing, 10% for online checks and 15% for credit cards. There are no set up fees. They also offer the option of a "Complete Catalogue Store Builder" program, in which you may create your own storefront for several products at once. Fees are $9.95/month plus 11.5%-15% of transaction
Go to iBill
Unfortunately, ProPay is limited to US residents only, although there are plans to become more international in the future.
You can set up your free e-commerce account within minutes. ProPay has a $35 activation fee, but no monthly fees or equipment fees. There is, however, a 3.5% levy of total sales amount plus a $.35 transaction fee. Very user-friendly flash-animated tutorial to help orient you with their service. An excellent option to get you started.
Go to ProPay
With Verza you can instantly enable your website to sell products and/or content. You sign-up online, there are no setup fees, and you can start accepting orders on your own website in minutes. Also, Verza provides everything you need to be successful online including: a virtual shopping cart, reseller program, fraud screening, and direct deposit pay-outs.
Verza provides complete and cost-effective payment solutions to webmasters worldwide. In combination with your own website, Verza will: Enable you to accept all credit cards for billing your customers. Provide check and 1-900 telephone billing options to your United States customers. Process your customers credit card within 5 seconds (real-time) at low rates. Secure all transaction data incorporating the latest security protocols available. Support the complete payment cycle with state-of-the art real-time reporting and online administration. Protect your business against fraudulent transactions with Verza Veronica anti-fraud. Simplify administration of content sites with subscription
There is no set up fee with Verza. Processing fees are 4.9% plus $0.99 per transaction.
Go to Verza
If you take sensible precautions and read the small print, these third-party merchant accounts are well worth considering. What's more, they are already being used extensively by thousands of small businesses and sole traders around the world!
So what are you waiting for?? Find a third-party merchant you are comfortable with and start accepting credit cards on your own website today!!
© Copyright 2002 Lee Masterson. All rights reserved.
Go to Part Three of The Writer's Website
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