Ecommerce Spot

What is a Merchant Account?

What is a Merchant Account?

There is a difference between a merchant account and a shopping cart. A merchant account is an account used to collect payment, while a shopping cart allows your customers to view products, and add the products that they want to the cart, before proceeding to the checkout - which is where the merchant account comes into play.

Some ecommerce shopping carts include a merchant account, while most require you to have your own merchant account. In most cases, the secure connection (SSL) is not included with the shopping cart, and must be provided by the merchant account gateway or your web host.

Many merchant accounts include a shopping cart. Find out all of the features included with the offered shopping cart, and if it doesn't do what you want it to do, make sure that you will be allowed to use a different shopping cart – these free carts are usually pretty limited. If you do not like the offered shopping cart, and you will not be allowed to use a different one, look for a new merchant account. You should note that most merchant account shopping carts will not allow you to achieve the same look and feel as your website, and have few of the other features of fully integrated shopping carts.

Some shopping carts may not be compatible with your merchant account, and some merchant accounts may not be compatible with your shopping cart. For this reason, you need to check with both sides - the shopping cart developer, and the merchant account company - to ensure that they can work together. lists whether each shopping cart has support for the most popular merchant accounts.

Customers like to have many different options to pay. The more payment options you can offer, the more sales you will make. Make sure your merchant has a good range. For example, some won’t support American Express which might be a problem, especially if you expect a lot of corporate customers.

No matter what online shopping cart system or merchant account you use, the information that is required from the customer must be asked in the right order. Credit card information should never be requested until the customer has been given the actual total amount of their order. For this reason, credit card information is usually requested last. If your merchant account does not ask for the information in the right order, look for a different merchant account, or a different shopping cart system. This will cut down on the number of customers who abandon the shopping cart.

When choosing an online shopping cart, and a merchant account, take your time and choose wisely. Do not allow either side to rush you into a decision. Make sure you are getting exactly what you need to best serve your customers, because without your customers, you won't need either the shopping cart, or the merchant account.

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