The World of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. Here you will find lessons,tips, news and articles on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Internet Marketing, Advertising and Promotion ,free lessons and tips,useful tools, information and more.Enjoy Yourself!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Apply for an eCommerce Merchant Account

So, what do you need to sign up for an eCommerce merchant account? It's not just like signing on the dotted line. This is what you'll need to get that account up and running:

Option 1) The ownership will have to have strong personal credit. Credit checks are done on the owners of businesses when an application is submitted. For online business, especially high risk ones, it's a huge factor. If the ownership has strong personal credit, you've overcome a big hurdle. If the ownership's personal credit is very strong you'll be fine.

Option 2) The business will have to have strong financials. If this is a new business, skip the next paragraph. But if this is an established biz (at least a year but more like three or more) and it's got good financials (it has debts it pays on time and has a steady flow of cash) you should be fine.

Regardless of which option you choose, here's some more of what you should be prepared for when applying for your account:

- Be sure to have two forms of verification of the existance of the business (i.e. any document from the local, state, or federal gov't with the business name on it). This replaces the traditional photographs of retail establishments. This is how the bank verifies this is for a legitimate business.

- Make sure you have a business checking account in the business' name. It's a must.

- Have a (mostly complete) web site for the bank to review. If you provide a safe and secure place for your customers to shop, they'll feel better about accepting your application. Here's a checklist of an acceptable website:

+ Merchant’s DBA name appears prominently on the web site
The name of the merchant’s business name (DBA) should be prominent and obvious on the website. Ideally, the DBA name will be at the top of every page and very clear. Also, there should be a correlation between the DBA and product(s) being offered. For example, if you plan on selling car tires, a good DBA name would be Bob’s Discount Tires. A bad DBA name would be Mary’s Flowers.

+ Customer Service phone number is clearly posted
A customer service phone number is required for your customers to be able to call to ask questions. It should be clearly posted. Ideally it will be on every page and very prominent. It need not be a toll-free number.

+ Return/Refund policy is clearly posted? Your customers should be aware of how a refund/return is handled by your business. How long do they have to request a refund? Will they receive their form of payment back or will it be a credit only? Is it possible to get a refund at all? Even if your items can not be returned and you will never issue a refund, that policy must be clearly stated for your web site’s visitors to see.

+ Delivery methods and timing are clearly posted? How long from the time an order is placed can a customer expect you to ship your product/ deliver your service? How will you be shipping it? UPS? DHL? Fed Ex? Next day air? Ground? Mule? Make sure your customers are aware of how their order will be shipped and how long they can expect to wait for it.

+ Privacy statement is outlined
How do you plan to use the information your visitors give you when they place an order? Will you use it only to complete their order? Will you sell it to a third party? Privacy is a concern of all web users. A privacy policy should be very clear and easy to read. It should be obvious and easy to find.

+ US dollars currency
Although you may offer your products in any currency you wish, you must also display a price in US Dollars ($). The amount of the sale will be transacted in US Dollars.

+ Product offered is clearly described
What exactly is a widget? If you’re selling them, a clear description of what they are must be present. If you can answer the following questions with a description, it is a good one: Who would use this product? What is it called? What does it do? How do you use it? Is there a warranty? What colors are available? What is it made of?

+ Page where credit card info is entered is secure
Probably the most important checklist item. The page where a customer enters their personal information and credit card number must be secure. This means purchasing and installing a secure certificate on the web server. This will encrypt a customer’s private information so hackers can not steal it while it is being sent to the web site. Most customers won’t place an order on a web site that does not have one anyway.

If you are prepared when applying for your merchant account, you will almost certainly get it. Being a high risk style of business, it's key.


Post a Comment

<< Home