Merchant account vs. payment gateway

So you want to accept credit cards on your website? What is all involved?

What is a Merchant? Merchant is a company like Wells Fargo, Elavon, e-OnlineData, etc. There are thousands of merchants out there to choose from. You should expect top pay $20/month for a merchant account plus other fees.

What is a Payment Gateway? A payment gateway is a company like which routes the funds to your merchant account. You should expect to pay $20/month for a payment gateway plus other fees.

All In One Solutions - A company like Paypal is a all-in-one company that is both a merchant and payment gateway all in one to make it easier.? A couple options are Paypal ( or a Square ( solution which is both a Merchant and a Payment Gateway. These companies accept flat transaction fees vs. monthly fees. Also, these companies have credit card swipers which plug right into your smartphone?.

What should I chose? The easiest and cheapest way to get started is Paypal Standard or Square since their is no Merchant monthly fee, but the companies will take a higher cut on each item. There is no easy answer, but it all depends on the type of volume you expect to sell. If it's merchandise you are selling in addition to your service, we recommend PayPal standard.

Cost & Fees
  • Monthly Fee for the Merchant Account
  • Monthly Fee for the Gateway
  • Flat Cost per transaction (Ex. .30)
  • Percent Cost per transaction (Ex. 2 to 3% average)
Recommended Solutions
  1. Paypal
1. Paypal

Paypal has 2 different options:

  1. Website Payments Standard - No Monthly fee
  2. Website Payments Pro - $30/month

View more details and View A Comparison Chart of the 2. At 3plains, use website payments pro, but then you pay another $30/month. It's more seamless/professional so customers pay on your site vs. paying on paypals. What's the main difference between the 2 above?

Please watch this video to explain it. The biggest difference is customers make payments on YOUR website rather than link to PayPal. Will this help your business or hurt it? It's up to every business owner to decide and figure out the volume of sales as well. is $30/month extra worth it? Will you make up the extra amount in sales and do you want people to pay on your website to make it look more professional to the user?

These questions are for you to answer and we can help you decide if needed. A good starting point would be Website Payments Standard and moving up to a Websites Payments Pro if your not sure. If you have the money, Website Payments Pro is the way to go for the extra $30/month or $360/year.


Check out

Payment Gateway Account

  • Setup $99-$299
  • Monthly Gateway - $15
  • Per Transaction - .10

Internet Merchant Account

  • Monthly Statement - $10
  • Per- Transaction - .25
  • Visa/MCard Rate - 2.39%

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