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One of the most important decisions you’ll make as an ebook seller is the company you’ll choose to facilitate your credit card transactions. In this business, the devil really is in the details, as there are a wide variety of fees, security concerns and interoperability issues to consider. As you will see, choosing the best credit card processor for your ebook business requires a bit of thought.

Fee Structure

While your primary focus might be on transaction fees, they’re just one of the costs of doing business with credit card processors. You’ll encounter application fees, set up fees, monthly statement fees, monthly gateway access fees, interchange fees and in some cases, a monthly minimum fee. These are usually calculated as a percentage of the sale. Many companies will also impose an early termination fee should you choose to end your contract before it runs out. A few processors roll all the above (save the early termination fee) into one flat monthly cost. However, that number might be higher than if fees are tallied individually. It’s important to get an idea of the volume you’ll be doing and run the numbers to see which strategy makes the most sense for your operation. To see the differences, get a sample monthly invoice from each vendor you interview and ask for an explanation of every line item.

Security Protocols

Fraud prevention and security issues should always be top of mind, as operating an online business is the equivalent of painting a target on your bank account. Hackers are looking for every possible vulnerability to exploit so you want to work with a company capable of helping you find them off. Above all, your processor choice should be PCI-DSS compliant. Their system should also support security protocols such as SSL certificates and CVV2 verifications. As you’ll be handling card not present transactions almost exclusively, you’ll want every possible measure in place to detect fraudulent activity.

Software Compatibility

Will the processor’s software integrate with your shopping cart? Does it work well with ecommerce software platforms provided by companies like Shopify? When you’re selling ebooks, your transactions will be exclusively online, so interoperability with your payment gateway is of utmost importance. Ideally, they’ll work well together without requiring coding.

Payment Types

The wider you cast your net, the larger your catch. You want a processor capable of accepting a wide variety of payment types, as opposed to simply Visa and MasterCard. Prepaid charge cards and gift cards should be accepted as well.

Payment Turnaround Interval

How long do you have to wait for funds to appear in your account after a transaction has been completed? Bear in mind different issuers have different procedures in this regard. Still, a response of anything over three to four days should be a red flag.

Customer Support

Your online ebook store is open 24/7/365 so around-the-clock customer support would be a good thing to have from your processor as well. Ideally, this would come in the form of a live person who can make decisions on the spot. It’d also be good to find a company with account reps who can succinctly explain the fee structure so you can make an informed decision.

If you find yourself subjected to a significant chargeback, you’re going be very happy the company has someone with whom you can speak right away, as opposed to wending your way through chatbots and voicemail. Yes, this might be a bit more costly, but the first time you have a problem, it’ll be worth it.

Credit card processing is far from a simple process. There are several entities involved in getting the money from your customer’s bank to yours and a sliver of your revenue is consumed at each stop. Choosing the best credit card processor for your ebook store will require a bit of research, but the savings you’ll derive will be well worth the effort.

Image: ProSmile

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