If you are starting a business, accepting credit cards for payment is important. With traditional merchant accounts, businesses must swipe a credit card through a card reader to accept credit card payments. If you are not interested in using a card reader, or if your business is online, you can sign up with a merchant account that allows you to instead accept credit card payments on your computer.
Apply for QuickBooks Credit Card Processing on the Intuit website (see Resources) if you use the QuickBooks program and want to accept your credit card payments directly in QuickBooks. As of November 2010, the one-time setup fee was $59.95; the monthly fee was $19.95. Additional charges also apply, depending upon how much you process each month.
Sign up with a specialized online merchant account company, such as Charge.com or Network Solutions (see Resources). Monthly and setup charges vary according to online provider.
Use a worldwide online payment processor, such as PayPal or Google Checkout (see Resources), if you will accept payments on a website. PayPal also has the option for you to manually enter a credit card, if you are not selling via website. Typically, there is no monthly fee associated with an online payment processor, and per-transaction fees are lower than with other merchant accounts. However, PayPal does offer a merchant account with a monthly fee, which features more options than the free account.
Some merchant accounts require a credit application.