How to Build a Website That Takes Credit Cards

by Barb Nefer

When you're building a website on which you will be selling goods or services, it's important to be able to accept credit card payments. This will give potential buyers an easy way to pay, which will encourage them to buy from your website. You don't have to go through all the trouble of opening a traditional merchant account and creating a secure website to accept credit cards. There is a much simpler method.

Open a PayPal account. For most small merchants, a Website Payments Standard account will be sufficient. This account will allow you to accept Visa and Mastercard with no setup charge, monthly fee or cancellation penalty. You pay by the transaction, with the amount running between 1.9 and 2.9 percent, plus a 30 cent flat fee.

Purchase a top-level domain. This is a domain like or Even if you will be using a free Web host, you should purchase a domain and redirect services. If your business takes off, you can move to a paid provider, and you won't lose traffic because you can keep the same domain.

Create the pages for your website. Often your Web host will have built-in tools. Otherwise, you can use a word processing program such as Word and save your pages as .html. If you have enough experience, you can use a program made specifically for Web page creation, such as Dreamweaver. You will need to create a home page that shows all your products and individual pages that describe each product.

On each product page, insert a "Buy It Now" or "Add To Cart" button, which you can create in your PayPal account. You set up the amount for each item, and PayPal generates the code. Then you simply insert the code on each product page, and purchasers can use the button to buy items and pay for them via credit card.

Periodically update your website as needed. Once you build your website and start accepting credit cards, you will need to make changes if you raise or lower prices and add or discontinue items. You will need to generate new buttons via PayPal for the changes and insert them onto the proper pages on your website.


  • check People making purchases online want to make sure they are giving their payment information on a secure site. If you use PayPal, you don't have to worry about making your pages secure because your buyers will use PayPal's secure pages to complete the transaction.


  • close When you accept credit cards, customers can dispute the payment with their credit card company if they believe there is a problem with the transaction. When you use PayPal, they can also file a dispute directly with PayPal. Always keep full documentation of every transaction so you can defend yourself in case of disputes. Otherwise, PayPal or the credit card company might refund the customer.

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About the Author

Based in Kissimmee, Fla., Barb Nefer is a freelance writer with over 20 years of experience. She is a mental health counselor, finance coach and travel agency owner. Her work has appeared in such magazines as "The Writer" and "Grit" and she authored the book, "So You Want to Be a Counselor."

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