Is it a bad idea to have a direct credit card buying option on my website?


I'm preparing a digital product that I'm going to sell in the days to come. I am a programmer, so I don't have any problems in preparing my website and even setting Paypal to handle my payment system.

It seems that Paypal is the easiest and is probably the one I will be using. But I'm wondering, is it a bad idea to have a direct credit card buying option? I don't know how the procedure would work on charging a credit card directly, but I can safely say (from a programmer's view), that SSL would be invaluable for this one. Do you think that messing with that would be redundant for the needs of a startup?

Ecommerce Payments Website

asked Jun 19 '11 at 19:49
Spyros P
132 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

2 Answers


This depends entirely on the product / market fitness of your offering.

Generally, technical folks have no problem with checkout via Paypal; however, for consumer-facing goods, this can hurt your conversion rate -as a lot of folks haven't got (or don't intend to get) a PP account.

Charging CCs directly is more straightforward from all user's perspective; however it puts a lot of complications on the software / business side. Fundamentally, you'll need:

  • A merchant account
  • A credit card processor
  • And either a dedicated CC vault, or a PCI-compliant codebase on your site, to store CC numbers if desired

Generally, either your bank, or Paypal's website payments pro can do most (or all) of this; however both requires passing a credit check, will do some amount of background search on your business, and will require a monthly fee.

Furthermore, since you're a Startup, your number one priority at this stage should be learning about your customers. For this reason, I'd advice to stick up a standard PP "buy now" button, launch, and start learning, instead of messing with this, which could prove to be both costly, and, as you say, redundant.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

answered Jun 20 '11 at 05:08
Silver Dragon
146 points
  • Thanx for the great reply. I saw that PP can do this thing for me if i ever need to. That's nice to have the option if things go well in the future. Thank you :) – Spyros P 13 years ago
  • Correct answer. Don't even think of putting up a form asking for a credit card number on your site. You'd get into all kinds of really nasty trouble. – Alain Raynaud 13 years ago


I'd like to provide a counterpoint to Silver Dragon. I think a credit card option is a must, and it's easy to do.

I think it's safe to say that there are far more people (myself included) who have credit cards and use them online, than those who use Paypal. Do you really want to force your customers to get a Paypal account? A lot of them won't bother and will go somewhere else.

I sell digital goods, and I use Paypal Website Payments Standard to process credit card payments. There is no credit check and there is no monthly fee. They just take around 3% commission on sales.

From a technical perspective, you just need to put a Buy Now button on your website, so it's not complicated at all. Paypal has its share of issues but it's the easiest way to start taking credit card payments. The alternative is to get a merchant account etc., as Silver Dragon suggested, and here I agree that it's not the best option when you're just starting out.

answered Jun 20 '11 at 07:43
Alex Aotea Studios
665 points
  • Alex, thank you for your answer. Actually, i was discussing with a friend who told me the same thing. It's definitely the way i would like to do it. – Spyros P 13 years ago

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