Regular ecommerce merchant accounts are expensive. Ecommerce service providers promote "free merchant accounts" as alternatives to help
online business owners to reduce the cost of handling online transactions. You can start selling your products on the Internet without
the hefty upfront cost of a regular ecommerce merchant account. Free merchant accounts are, of course, not completely free. There're several
options to conduct online transactions cost-effectively.
3rd Party Credit Card Processors
You can handle online credit card processing without a merchant account. 3rd party credit card processors are companies that accept credit card
orders on behalf of other online businesses. They process the transactions and send you a monthly payment. If you don't sell, you don't pay.
However, the credit card processors charge you a few extra percentage points on transactions in comparison to having your own ecommerce merchant
Discount Merchant Accounts
Merchant banks may waive setup fee and even monthly fee under certain conditions while charging a higher transaction fee. You do have your own merchant
account comparing to the option of using a third part credit card processor. If you don't process, you don't pay.
Merchant Account Bundled with Ecommerce Hosting
Ecommerce hosting companies offer merchant account as part of hosting package. They will waive your setup fee and monthly fee if you sign up
with their ecommerce hosting package. They charge a few percentage points on transactions.
Online Merchant Account - Basics, Costs and Alternatives
Merchant Account Requirements
Third Party Merchant Account - Benefits and Risks
How To Accept Credit Cards Without a Merchant Account
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