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Learn About Online Merchant Accounts

What is an online merchant account? Why do you need one? How do you get one? All good questions. We attempt to answer them for you here.


What is an Online Merchant Account? How does it differ from a regular merchant account?

An online merchant account allows you to take credit card payments online from your website. It may also be referred to as an Internet Merchant Account.

You will need a different type of merchant account to sell online than the merchant account you may already have for in-store purchases. This is because selling online carries special needs and risks that are not covered by your in-store merchant account. Getting one is easy though, just sign up for one of the top merchant company accounts recommended below.

Where do I get an online merchant account?
There are many online merchant account companies that advertise on the web. Some are (much) more reputable than others, so you must be careful! W3Now has worked with the following merchant account gateways for years, and our customers have given us positive feedback on them.

  • PayPal - Easy to signup and begin, all you need is an email address and a PayPal account. It's free of monthly fees. You pay a small percentage only when you make a sale.
  • Authorize.Net - A great choice for your online merchant account & payment gateway if you want your website to look "professional" and take credit cards directly on your website. Authorize.Net is an "online gateway" and when you signup they will recommend a good Merchant Account company for you to use.

What is an online Payment Gateway?
An online payment gateway is the software that allows a credit card to be approved online from your website. It bridges the gap between your website and your Merchant Account (thus:  Gateway). It is programmed into your website or online shopping cart by your web developer. Most commercial online shopping carts, such as our W3 Site Manager platform and Wordpress platform, come pre-programmed with a few different payment just tell it which gateway you are using and it works. We recomend the Authorize.Net payment gateway, as it gets the best feedback from our customers, and looks the most professional.

How do I know which online payment gateway I need?
Start by asking your web developer which payment gateways they can support for your website.


W3Now supports the following online payment gateways for W3 Site Manager and Wordpress platform sites.

  • Authorize.Net Payment Gateway + Online Merchant Account
  • PayPal Take Credit Cards or Payments using your PayPal account.

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