Over the past six months, I’ve seen a growing number of clients who use Intuit Merchant Service (also known as QuickBooks® Merchant Service) to process credit card payments. Why this increase is a topic for another blog post. However, a constant question that I get from customers is: “How can I connect my Intuit Merchant Account with my online store?” In this blog post, I’ll provide an answer that will help those using Intuit Merchant Services and those considering it for their online store payment processing.
Let’s get some basics out of the way. In order to process payments online, you’ll need 2 key things: (1) a merchant account that is capable of accepting credit card payments, and (2) a payment gateway that provides a secure mechanism to connect your online store to your merchant account.
The key benefit of Intuit Payment Solutions is its tight integration with QuickBooks. Not only can Intuit Merchant Service securely process credit card payments, but it also synchronizes the transactions with QuickBooks. This makes it really easy to download deposit information and processing fees, reconcile accounts, and match income and expense transactions.
Moreover, Intuit Payment Solutions provides several channels to process customer credit cards: Mobile, Computer, Web Store or a Terminal. To accept payments on your online store, you’ll need to set up an account with Intuit Merchant Service for Web Stores. And for an additional $9.95 per month, you can add the Web Store processing capability to an existing Computer or Terminal Intuit Merchant service account. Once you’ve signed up, Intuit provides all the instructions and software to connect your online store with your account. Unfortunately, it only works with a small number of shopping carts, such as Homestead, Go Daddy, Web.com, and a few others.
If your shopping cart is incompatible with Intuit Merchant Service, there are 3 ways to circumvent the issue:
- Custom programming – Hire a web developer to write a custom payment gateway integration program to connect Intuit Merchant Services for Web Stores with your shopping cart. This isn’t a simple task, as there are no reliable off-the-shelf scripts to use and Intuit requires an extensive process to writing a custom integration. For more information, refer to Intuit’s Quick Reference guide for integrating with QuickBooks Merchant Service: http://qbms.developer.intuit.com/sdk/qbms/Get_Oriented/Quick_Reference_Guide
- Get a different merchant account: If option 1 isn’t viable, you could get a secondary merchant account and payment gateway with a different payment gateway provider. First, check your shopping cart developer’s compatibility list to see which gateways are supported. Your best bet would be Authorize.net, which has an extensive list of compatible shopping carts: http://www.authorize.net/solutions/merchantsolutions/merchantservices/certifiedsolutiondirectory/. Then contact your preferred bank or merchant account broker to set up a new merchant account with the selected gateway. The only drawback here is the lack of QuickBooks integration, but a third-party application, such as Unify, can integrate with various shopping cart platforms to download all the income-related information into QuickBooks seamlessly.
- Move to a compatible cart: This is probably my least favorite but if all else fails, move your shopping cart to one of the carts supported by Intuit Merchant Service.
Innovative Gateway Solutions (www.innovativegateway.com) is an Intuit company that offers a separate merchant account and payment processing gateway. However, it does not integrate with QuickBooks; so even though it’s an Intuit company, you don’t get many of the integration benefits as with Intuit Merchant Solutions.
Although Intuit Payment Solutions offers a smooth and easy mechanism to accept online credit card payments, it is limited by the number of compatible shopping cart platforms. However, there are alternative ways to accept credit cards with your online store and third party integration applications can help you reconcile your accounts without manual effort.