If you’re confused about how to accept credit card payments from your customers you are not alone. This quick guide explains the easiest and most cost effective ways to take payments whether your store is online or offline.

The traditional way to accept payments is to get a credit card merchant account, an EFTPOS machine and a payment gateway. The payment gateway allows your EFTPOS machine to talk to your credit card merchant account at the bank so customers can pay. The two popular payment gateway services in NZ are Paystation (simpler/cheaper) and Payment Express (more expandable).

Because this involves 3 different vendors the fees do add up.

If you have multiple stores, need lots of different hardware for collecting money (EFTPOS terminals, kiosks, vending machines etc) or have high sales volumes then Payment Express is likely to be your best option.

Stripe is an all-in-one payment processing facility that includes the merchant account and payment gateway in one easy to use service that can be set up for free in half an hour (merchant accounts usually take weeks or months). There is no fixed monthly fee and your transaction fees are much lower when you are starting out than they are with a merchant account.

Stripe works beautifully with most shopping carts and makes taking online payments a breeze. Stripe also has EFTPOS hardware but when you need local support it’s hard to beat your local EFTPOS provider.

Paypal is also an option for your online store but your checkout page will be more complex for customers checking out than it is with Stripe.

If you’d like to know more about these options, including a breakdown of all the monthly fees based on your expected turnover, check out these two guides:

Be careful to do your research before choosing your payment option because there are a few gotchas. For example:

  • While BigCommerce (an online shopping cart/ecommerce system) is compatible with Stripe, it’s not (yet) compatible with Stripe in NZ!

  • Shopify (another online shopping cart) is compatible with Stripe NZ but there’s an extra fee to use it. You’re better off using the built-in Shopify Payments.

  • Stripe includes a ‘virtual terminal’ for manually processing orders (e.g. customer phones in order) but you can’t use it as your primary payment method.

Thanks to Anyware Web Marketing for providing this guide. They specialise in setting up online stores and love to answer questions. They’re local to Porirua so if you need advice feel free to contact them at www.anyware.co.nz or on 04 939 1708.

Guest Column from Phil Donaldson of Anywhere Web Marketing