Accept Online Payments
In the core of any e-commerce business is to get securely paid online and usually in advance. This is essential for any B2C setup, although there are exceptions, such as B2B setups where customers buy on account or setups for ordering online and picking up the order at a physical store, fast food order online and collect (click and collect) are a typical example of the later.
Credit & Debit Card Payments (VISA & MasterCard)
The most common online payment method is the credit / debit card payment. Although there are some variances between industries, typically the regular card payments constitute between 50 and 100% of all payments. Therefore accepting credit / debit card payments on your website is absolutely essential. You can also accept Diners Club and American Express through most card payment integrations, but you may need to sign separate agreements with the respective card companies.
Own Merchant Account vs. Merchant Account-less Card Payments
There are two methods to accept card payments. The first one requires opening your own Merchant Account at one of the major banks. The benefit of this method is that you can choose a merchant bank and you can negotiate your fees with the bank, especially if you have a good relation already with a particular bank. The second one does not require having your own merchant account, but instead the money goes through a shared merchant account held by the payment gateway and then gets distributed to individual merchants, which adds some extra delay to getting the money into your own account.
For start-ups and small businesses on a budget, start with PayPal or Stripe integration. This gives you access to Credit & Debit Card Payments.
For larger businesses or start-up with bigger budgets, direct integration with multiple payment methods shall be considered. Having own merchant account is also a plus as it often comes with slightly lower transaction fees, comapred to merchant-account-less solutions.