Disclosure: I have included referral links below to two of the services involved which I personally use. Both companies offer a commission if I refer a new customer. I personally recommend and appreciate both companies.
This blog post is written from the perspective of an American patriot entrepreneur. If you R one too… I hope you enjoy!
Prior to creating www.AmericanCentralStore.com (our American-made products eCommerce website), I was aware that I would need a method of accepting credit card transactions. I had a little experience in setting up PayPal in a past job I’d had but I had never set up credit card functionality such as with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover without the PayPal “frontend.” It was time for me to learn. PayPal is a self-contained credit card service, and while it is very nice to have, not everyone uses PayPal. I needed to be able to accept the individual cards.
IMPORTANT: It was not a quick or simple process and I learned that there are a number of required services involved. If you are prepared in advance, the process is smooth and quick(er). Each one of these steps involved me having to submit an application and provide a lot of information about my business. It took over a month to get it all in place. I recommend getting a knowledgeable agent now who can prepare you and guide you through the process. Tasker Payment Gateways (mentioned below) can guide you.
These are the six services I needed for my site in order to accept credit cards:
1. A business bank account – I needed this anyway in order to do general business. I was pleased to find a local bank who are not shy about their patriotism. In order to get a business bank account, I had to formally start a company and establish a Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN). I also set up an LLC with my Secretary of State's office, which stands for Limited Liability Company.
2. An eCommerce Hosting Platform (the actual internet storefront) – I use Shift4Shop (formerly called 3dcart) which is an American-owned company that does not outsource their support to other countries. They are based in Florida and have solid tech support. This is the service which hosts my website on their servers and also provides me with the templates and functionality to have a “shopping” style of site. They have a LOT of functionality built in to their platform. Building a website is not for the faint of heart. If you are not a web designer, then you’ll need help. Shift4Shop also offer credit card services of their own, including a gateway (see next item), but at this time, I am sticking with my current process.
3. A Payment Gateway service – The one I use is called NMI (Network Merchants Inc) – This is the service which sends the customer’s transaction information to my Merchant Account Service (discussed below), which in turn communicates with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. They are called a Gateway because they provide the gateway from the shopping cart to the Merchant Account Service company. They charge a monthly fee and also take a small transaction fee. You can get your own NMI account with Tasker Payment Gateways (see following paragraph.)
4. A Payment Gateway Reseller – NMI does not sell their services directly to the client, so I had to shop for a reseller. I was VERY fortunate to find a company called Tasker Payment Gateways LLC. Their customer service cannot be beat and in addition to regular eCommerce companies, they also service high-risk companies. The “risk” being that many merchant account banks and gateways won’t accept certain businesses. Anything from CBD oil to tactical gear, cigar shops and vaping supplies to firearms to adults only products and materials and much more. Details are on their site. In today’s frustrating and un-American “Nanny-State” it’s getting more and more difficult for some companies to do business at all! I don’t know what type of products we’ll be selling in the future (hopefully most every American-made product manufactured!), so I am grateful that Tasker Payment Gateways handles it all.
5. A Merchant Account service (also called a Payment Processor) – The one I use is called Clearent. They are like a bank in that they move money, and also have a relationship with the credit card companies. The transaction information is sent from the Payment Gateway to the Merchant Account to the credit card company. Then the credit card company sends the money back to the merchant account, where it is deposited to my business bank account (less the fees). They charge a monthly fee and transaction fees.
6. A Merchant Account reseller – Clearent does not sell their services directly to the client, so I worked with a local agent to set up an account.
That’s the story! I was unaware of many of the steps involved and wanted to share the information for other entrepreneurs considering or planning to start an eCommerce business.
To get started accepting credit cards or just adding a payment gateway, click this referral link to have someone at Tasker Payment Gateway contact you right away: