I've been wondering about this for a while. I run photo workshops, and currently I don't accept credit cards, or online sign-ups. Looking around the internet, it seems like the photo community is split on this topic - as am I. I currently accept credit cards for print orders, my books that I sell, and teaching DVDs, but it has always seemed that giving up 2% or more of a sale wasn't worth it for a bigger ticket item, like a week-long workshop.
I was wondering if anyone has had experience switching to credit card acceptance, and whether it was worth it? My thought is that an extra sign-up or two would make it well worth it, but how important is being able to sign-up online or pay via credit card to people?
Regarding online signup or taking credit cards online - it is becoming more and more difficult to support credit card acceptance over the web. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) has set standards for security that many payment providers are now enforcing on their clients. This has serious implications for your web host.
The overall effect is that many website owners are switching to PayPal or other 3rd party payment gateways because the cost of becoming PCI compliant and undergoing quarterly compliance scans it just too much (on top of the usual 2% or whatever).
Before you decide to offer credit card acceptance via your website, ask your merchant account provider about their policy for PCI compliance.
"He was a wise man who invented beer. -- Plato"
I looked into using my host - GoDaddy - and signing up for their secure service, but as you talked about in your response, they wanted me to have a secure certificate, a dedicated hosting machine etc. All of which added up to a substantial amount over the basic web hosting package I am paying for now - an extra $30 or so a month if I remember correctly, and that didn't include the credit card processing.
I now use Google Checkout for my shopping card - I coded the card myself via PHP and MySQL. I think that if I started out with credit card processing, I would probably use either Google Checkout, or PayPal. I just can't see paying so much more a month, when I don't really need the extra hosting for anything else.
I have used PayPal in the past for both workshops and for book sells.
Majority of the time it works well, occassionaly I have a client that doesn't like
PayPal and I ask them to send a check.. Sure it seems like a lot to give up 2% to CC processing, but it seems most people want that convience and I would rather give up 2% than loose a client..