In any type of e-commerce or online transaction, there are two steps for the seller (in your case, the photographer). You must have a ‘payment gateway’: this is the company that securely processes the transaction. The second step is a ‘merchant account’: this is the company that transfers the money from the customer to you.
We offer three options for accepting online payments, and you’ll need accounts with these services. Of course, there are fees associated with each step of the process, but we can help you determine which method is best for you.
- Authorize.net – They can be used as just your payment gateway, or as both your payment gateway and merchant account. The fees can appear complicated as they vary by type of transaction, and there may be monthly and per-transaction fees, but the customer support at Authorize.net is excellent at explaining exactly what each piece of the puzzle means. If you’re already processing credit cards in your studio, you probably have a merchant account and can link it to Authorize.net to begin accepting online payments as well.
- PayPal – We work with two types of PayPal business accounts, Website Payments Pro and Website Payments Standard. Either of these accounts acts as both your payment gateway and merchant account, and if you do not already have a credit card machine or merchant account, will likely be less expensive than Authorize.net. The key is your account must be a business PayPal account. The Pro account has a monthly fee from PayPal, as well as per-transaction fees. Your customers will remain on ShootProof for the entire checkout process and will have the experience of checking out seamlessly on what appears to be your website. With the Standard account, there is no monthly fee, only low per-transaction fees. Your customers will be taken to PayPal to complete their payment, then back to ShootProof once their payment info is entered. This is just a matter of personal preference. Seamless customer experience or no monthly fee? Decide which is most important for you, and go with that account. With both of these accounts, your customers can pay by credit or debit card, they do not have to have their own PayPal account.
Once you set up your account with either PayPal Pro or Authorize.net, you can run a test transaction with your own credit card in your Payment Gateway Preferences tab; no charges will remain on your account (though the transaction fees charged by these companies may apply). It’s worth a few minutes and perhaps a few pennies to make sure that your payments are being processed correctly.
If you don’t yet have one of these accounts, click the links above to sign up and get started. OR, you can enable the ‘Pay Later’ option (automatically enabled if you don’t have a payment gateway set up) and take care of receiving payments offline.