The easiest way to start an e-commerce site is to start by using the PayPal payment system. Offering PayPal has its ups and downs. Many people have PayPal accounts or are willing to make charges on their credit cards through PayPal. However, many are not. So the first thing is the possibility of losing customers by not offering an alternative payment system.
PayPal offers an "all in one" way to accept payments over the Internet and charges a relatively low fee for doing so. They provide a secure gateway, merchant account (theirs)and also have the ability to verify buyers.
PayPal does turn off some buyers, either because they have heard negative feedback about PayPal or have had previous negative experiences. In addition, when a consumer purchases through PayPal with their credit card, they may lose many of the "charge back" rights they would normally have.
There are many and many come and go. Google has just started a payment system called "Google Checkout" which sounds like it may offer the "all in one" system like PayPal. Well known payment systems that allow credit card processing include (we are not making any recommendations). Read what they offer and your decide:
Each of these payment providers (with the exception of one of Pay Quake's plans and 2CheckOut) require that the seller have a merchant account. Some of them, such as MerchantEquip also offer merchant accounts.
Read the FTC's A Consumer's Guide to E-Payments to ensure that you use safe practices when collecting any type of private information from someone online.
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