How to Accept Credit Card Payments: A Complete Guide

Updated: March 25, 2024 is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Gone are the days when cash was the preferred medium of payment. 

There are a lot of hassles that come with dealing in physical currency. You have to worry about having enough cash on hand and make trips to the bank or ATM.

Instead of losing a customer due to inconvenience, it’s best to have a convenient payment option. And there’s nothing more convenient than whipping out a fraction of an ounce of credit card.

Today, this guide will teach you how to accept credit card payments to help your business make more money.

Let’s dive in. 

Why Have Credit Cards Become Popular

Credit cards have become a necessity in every adult’s life. Many people carry around more than one credit card daily. 

Why? Because there are perks when it comes to using a credit card over cash. 

Now let’s review some of the perks: 

Ease of Use: If you need to make a large payment, you might not have the cash on hand. But with a credit card, you can easily create a payment with just a swipe. 

Spending Ability: Let’s say that you don’t have enough cash in your checking or savings account. With a credit card, you get more purchasing power. Instead of spending all your money at once, you can spread out the payments over days, weeks, or months. 

Security: Carrying around large sums of cash can be dangerous in case of loss or theft. Credit cards provide an additional layer of security. Nobody else can use your card without a code. You can also report your card stolen and freeze your account. If a thief manages to use your card, you can dispute any transactions you’re uncertain of. 

Reward Systems: With the level of competition that comes with credit cards, banks are always trying to find a way to get more card users. They entice people by offering one of three reward structures: cashback, points, or miles. Perhaps the greatest reward you can get is from boosting your credit score. 

How to Accept Credit Card Payments for Businesses

Your customers need to have a smooth purchasing experience. They won’t just wake up one morning and decide to buy your product. 

Before they make a buying decision, they will consider your product over others. So the worst thing that can happen at the buying stage is to have a bad experience. 


We learned from HubSpot that 58% of American consumers will switch companies because of poor customer service — a stat based on the Global State of Customer Service by Microsoft

So whether you’re selling a SaaS product or barbeque on the street, you need to make sure that your customer’s purchasing experience is effortless. 

Keeping the above in mind, here are the three primary ways to accept credit card payments: 

  • Online payment 
  • Merchant bank account 
  • Card reader machines 

1. Online Payment

For eCommerce businesses, you need an online credit card processor. This allows your platform to accept online payments. 

One of the most popular online payment processors is PayPal. The most significant advantage of PayPal is that you can conduct your business all around the world. 

Another popular option is Stripe. Stripe is much like PayPal but offers more features and power tools. One feature is the ability to customize a proposal page. You can display your product with the price and features all-in-one place. This is extremely beneficial for email offers. 

With PayPal, you’re stuck with the standard checkout page. 

To set up an online account on one of these payment processors, all you need to do is fill out the signup form and verify your account. Once this is done, and your account is created and verified, it’s an easy step to attach your bank account and W forms. 

Once verified, you can create call-to-action (CTAs) from your website to checkout pages for smooth transactions. This method can work for both debit and card payments. 

You should know that you will need to pay some merchant fees when using this payment gateway. For example, you can check out the PayPal US Merchant Fees for sales in the US.

2. Merchant Bank Account

If you do not want to use PayPal for online payments, create a merchant account. 

This ensures that you get an online merchant gateway in your name without relying on a payment processor. This, in turn, leads to lower merchant fees when you sell something online. 

There are many advantages to merchant bank accounts. You can get a credit card machine that accepts cards online and physical locations. These include both debit and credit cards. 

One disadvantage of this method is that it is difficult to get this kind of service from big and reputed banks. If you have no history with them, they run the danger of credit card fraud due to longer processing times. 

However, due to reliability, lower merchant fees and transactions have low rates. This is one of the popular payment processing services.

3. Card Reader Machines

If you have a physical store, you have the advantage of accepting many forms of payments. 

There’re many types of credit card machines. Some allow for contactless payments via QR codes with the help of a virtual terminal. Some turn your smart device, such as a phone or tablet, into a card reader. 

Mobile card readers are becoming an exceedingly popular option for accepting payments. Mobile card readers are easy to use, convenient, and make for fast transactions. This type of transaction can help you save a lot of hassle. 

These machines’ basic process is that they plug into your mobile phone and turn your phone into a card processor. 

If you want a chip card reader or a card swipe machine, this can be an excellent fit. 

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