If you have an existing website, or are setting up a new site, you can add the ability to accept credit cards online without a tremendous amount of work or expense. In this article we cover your main options, show you the costs, and let you know how much technical setup is involved.
Before we dive into the details on this topic, we suggest you check out Square, a free POS system that can manage inventory, process credit cards, and track sales by item. Visit Square to learn more.
Table Of Contents
The Simple Solution: Add A Paypal Button
Adding A Shopping Cart To An Existing WordPress Site
Adding A Shopping Cart To A Non WordPress Site
Building A Website With Ecommerce Add On Yourself
Full Blown Ecommerce Solutions
The Simplest & Cheapest Solution: Add A Paypal Button
The simplest and cheapest solution for accepting credit cards on your website is Paypal’s Standard Payment Service that comes with every free Paypal business account. Paypal will enable you to accept credit card payments, and of course, payments via Paypal.
Paypal provides an HTML code that can be copied and pasted to any website (code instructions). It’s very simple, just like adding a banner to your site. You can also add different buttons for different products and prices. Clicking on the button will route customers to Paypal, where they can then send you an online payment.
For $30 a month, it is also possible to upgrade to Paypal Payments Pro which allows your customer to pick paypal or pay with their credit card without leaving your site. If you stick with the free option, customers are routed to Paypal.
Paypal charges 2.9% + $.30 fixed fee for every transaction, regardless of whether it is credit or paypal, which includes the credit card fee. The 2.9% lowers as your volume of sales increases. The varying rates can be found in our full guide to credit card processing fees.
The Next Level Up: Online Shopping Carts
If you have more than a handful of products or services for sale, then you probably want to have an online shopping cart.
An online shopping cart allows buyers to add an item and then continue browsing. As they browse, they are able to add or remove items as they please, and the shopping cart re-calculates their total automatically. When customers checkout, the shopping cart software has the ability to calculate and add shipping and tax to their total as well. This makes the whole transaction process much easier for both for the buyer and the seller.
In addition to a better user experience, it makes managing your online store easier. A shopping cart allows you to add, remove, and organize products easily and do things like include shipping costs.
Here is an example of what an online shopping cart looks like:
Adding a Shopping Cart To A WordPress Website
There are many plugins available that allow you to add shopping cart functionality so you can accept credit card payments on your WordPress site.
If you are already using Paypal and just need a simple shopping cart/payment setup, then WordPress’ Simple Paypal Shopping Cart is your best solution. It has been downloaded nearly 500,000 times and a user rating of 4.3 stars. The Simple Paypal Shopping Cart is easy to set up, using a simple copy/paste formula. The linked page above has a video tutorial that walks you through the whole setup.
Simple Paypal Product Box
Simple Paypal Shopping Cart
For those looking for a more advanced wordpress ecommerce option, with features such as custom themes, in-depth reports, payment gateway integration, and inventory tracking, WooCommerce is our recommendation. It has been downloaded over 4,000,000 times and has a consistent 4.1 star rating. If you are familiar with the wordpress interface, Woocommerce is relatively simple to set up. If not, check out this youtube video, which will walk you through the setup process.
WooCommerce Product Page
WooCommerce Shopping Cart
For Non WordPress Websites
If you are not using WordPress, many existing website platforms have upgrade options available that allow you to accept credit cards. If they do not have an upgrade option they can usually recommend a third-party who has developed a plug-in or add on.
We recommend PrestaShop, an ecommerce shopping cart that has over 4,000,000 downloads and is consistently rated as one of the better options in its field. The program is free to download and you can find a tutorial to integrate PrestaShop with your existing website here. Although a bit complicated to set up, PrestaShop provides a whole set of video tutorials that walk you through the process that can be found here.
PrestaShop Product Page
PrestaShop Shopping Cart
Starting A Site From Scratch
If you don’t already have a website and are starting from scratch, then read our article comparing the top website builder software. If you are looking for the ability to accept credit cards online and basic shopping cart functionality, Weebly will serve you well.
Weebly offers full shopping cart, checkout, and payment gateway services. Users have the option to use Stripe onsite(credit processing fee of 2.9% of total payment + $.30 per transaction) or a third-party offsite gateway such as Paypal or Authorize.net.
For $25 a month, you get features such as refunds and returns, built-in SEO, basic inventory tracking, and google integration, just to name a few. There are even premium theme options available for an additional charge at sites such as divtagtemplates.com, which really add professionalism and class to your site.
Although not as customizable or streamlined as a full blown ecommerce solution such as Bigcommerce or Shopify, Weebly is a solid option for the average brick-and-mortar store looking to add an online sales component to its business.
Weebly Product Page
Weebly Shopping Cart
The Next Level Up: Full-Blown Ecommerce Solutions
If you are anticipating making online sales a significant portion of your business, then you may want to go with a platform that is specifically dedicated to ecommerce. These platforms put the products or services you are selling online front and center. For this reason they are not a good solution for companies like dentists or plumbers, but might be the right solution for a clothing or wine store where the focus is on the inventory (products) available for sale.
- integration with shopping review sites
- tap into google search with custom URL’s, automatic redirects, and individual product page optimization
- live shipping quotes
- low inventory alerts
- 50+ payment gateway options
- Integration with Ebay, Facebook, and Amazon
If you want a full blown ecommerce site we recommend Shopify. Shopify has lots of features, great customer service, and is the only ecommerce site we reviewed that provides integrated online and in-store selling options, allowing you to streamline and consolidate your business operations.
Shopify Product Page
Shopify Shopping Cart
You can read more about Shopify and other full blown ecommerce solution in our Ecommerce Platform Buyer’s Guide, which will be the next article in this series.
Have questions or comments about how to add payments to your website? Drop me a comment in the comments section below.
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