Online payments through your website
Building e-commerce transactions into your website allows customers to order goods or services and make secure and private payments for their purchases through your website. This is likely to be the best option for businesses with extensive online stores or catalogues.
You can build e-commerce into your website through:
A merchant account with a bank
To pursue this option you will need to establish a merchant facility with your bank that lets you accept credit card payments online. Some banks even offer software to help you set up an online store.
Talk to your bank about how they can help and what costs are involved. It can be worth shopping around as different banks have different fee structures for merchant accounts and internet payment gateways.
An online payments service provider
There are a number of services that will process payments on your behalf through a payments system built into your website. Companies like PayPal and Paymate offer various payment options for businesses, and charge fees for doing so.
A payment gateway
A payment gateway, such as eWAY, links your shopping cart to your bank's merchant facility. Some small businesses choose this option because it can be easier and quicker than setting up a merchant account with a bank, while avoiding some customers' dislike of multi-step payment processes like PayPal.
Some web hosting services also provide payment facilities. Ask your web host or designer for information about how they can help you.