Virtual Merchant Online Internet Payment

What is a Virtual Merchant?

A virtual merchant is a business that sells products or services online and accepts credit card payments for online transactions.  A virtual merchant accepts payments through a payment gateway, which in turn bills the customer's credit card, and then provides the merchant with the payments via a merchant account.  The end result is a customer makes an online purchase for goods or services and a payment is made to the business all from an e-commerce website.


There are additional ways a virtual merchant can accept payments as well.  For instance, a virtual merchant can accept payments through a V-POS (Virtual Point of Sale).  By definition at Wikipedia, a Virtual Point of Sale is a web application that can be used by credit card merchants to enter credit cards manually for authorization.  Most payment gateway companies offer this type of service.  A great example of a Virtual POS is Authorize.Net, which is the major player on the market and a great place to start if you need a payment gateway for your website or shopping cart.


Another way you can accept payments is with a mobile credit card reader.  Accepting payments "on the fly" is very popular and trendy right now.  But beyond that, it's also very vital as customers and business owners are interacting at the point of commerce like never before.  So you don't want to lose the opportunity and miss out on sales no matter where you are.  Most payment provider companies offer a mobile platform to accept mobile payments, usually with a free credit card reader, so be sure to ask when searching for a provider.


Accepting Credit Card Payments Online


Most shopping cart programs or e-commerce website companies offer built in integrated credit card processing to accept payments online.  Most of the time this is the best method to get started because all the transaction data is managed by the shopping cart program and the integrated merchant provider.  This makes the process of getting merchant services very easy and eliminates shopping for another payment provider.  However, and this is a big however, by going that route you're essentially "married" to the rates the shopping cart merchant provider is offering. 


By shopping for other providers you have the ability to potentially save on your credit card processing.  So keep this in mind; you might be able to find a better rate, but be sure the payment gateway/merchant provider is integrated with the shopping cart software BEFORE you decide to sign up for the software. 


All in all, accepting payments online is quite easy.  You just need 3 things.  You need a virtual merchant online account or payment gateway, a merchant services account, and a shopping cart program.  By adding all these pieces together, you'll have the ability to start your own online business and accept payments on the web!