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Overview on Accepting Online Payments on GunsAmerica
This is a brief overview of how to take payments for your sales here on GunsAmerica. It is called GunsAmerica Live Checkout. If you are an FFL dealer, you can take payments directly from buyers here via credit cards, using a standard merchant account. Non-dealers, even if you sell a decent amount of guns, may not use a merchant account to take payments for guns unless they have been given permission by their processor. Scroll to the bottom for screen captures of how our system works.
Live Checkout is simple to set up and use, and it works with any merchant account a few popular “internet gateways,” which are kind of like the internet version of a swipe terminal. Gateways take the click from the buyer and process the payment on the back end for you. All internet orders require a gateway, and you can sign up for a gateway account on your existing merchant account or by getting a new internet only merchant account. The details are below. Our checkout system is called “Live Checkout” and it appears now as a link in your My GunsAmerica panel.
For many years we have been advising our dealers here that very few merchant account providers allow for online orders for guns. Even if your swipe is approved for guns because you are a gun dealer, the account is generally not approved for guns sold online. In many cases, if you take payments for sales online and a chargeback comes into the bank, your entire account can be frozen for 60 days. This happens regularly with Bank of America, Chase, and other big banks, but even small local banks, who are often re-sellers for the big banks, can shut you off as well. Since 2007 we have been sending our dealers through a system we helped create, and we have recently switched our in house system to Merchant Services LTD (MSL).
Live Checkout sounds fancy, but it is nothing more than a merchant account approved that is approved for guns online, hooked to an internet gateway. MSL’s gateway system, called Durango, is also approved for guns online, and the rates at MSL are unbeatable for both online and swipe merchant accounts. Since we launched Live Payments in 2007 the gun market has heated up quite a bit and there are now other companies selling into the gun dealer merchant account market as well. Though we caution gun dealers to be careful about who they do business with in this regard, we will be a second gateway that is used by many of these new merchant account companies, called eProcessing Network, or EPN. We will also continue to support FastCharge, which is the gateway from the system we just retired to switch the MSL. Some of you may already have gateway settings for EPN, FastCharge, or Authorize.net and you can use them here. *Authorize.net recently changed their policy to be more gun friendly, and we now accept their gateway settings.* We do however suggest that you review your rates and contract, and that you use MSL and Durango, for a number of reasons. GunsAmerica is also a re-seller for MSL, and though we don’t get a lot from it currently, in the long run it will help keep selling fees down at GunsAmerica as well.
If you are already using our Live Storefronts or have Durango set up on your website, you already have your gateway ID and password and they have already been plugged into your account, but they have not been activated. Click the Live Checkout tab in your My GunsAmerica and check the box to turn your checkout on. Your numbers are already pre-filled. There is an Orders link in your My GunsAmerica that will give you access to the orders when they are placed, and you will get an email from using notifying you of pending payments.
If you have a regular swipe merchant account and you don’t have a gateway set up, you can get a “gateway only” account through MSL with Durango. This will treat your internet sales as “keyed in” and you will pay whatever your keyed in rate is on your swipe merchant account (generally ~4%). If you think you will be doing significant volume online, through GunsAmerica, you should just get a separate merchant account for internet. Please note that if you are shaking your head and saying “what?” because you were sold an account at .5%, you were tricked. There is no such thing as an actual swipe merchant at those rates, because the MC/VISA charges alone are more than three times that. You should contact MSL and send them three months of statements so that they can compare the real rates you are paying with the MSL rates (MSL will be cheaper). We have found MSL to be extremely straightforward and they have great customer service.
If you are an FFL dealer and you want your ads to include Checkout, click the button here to apply for a new MSL merchant or gateway only account if you need one, and fill out the information on our Live Payments page. MSL will contact you. If you already have a gateway account, click on the Live Checkout configuration tab from the Account Menu to enter your gateway information. Your gateway Account ID/Username and Password/PIN are NOT the same as your login ID to manage your gateway settings. If you need help finding your merchant password and ID please contact your gateway customer support.
If you do nothing on your account regarding checkout, GunsAmerica will for now be unchanged for now. The Buy It/Backup Buyer system works well and for now we are keeping it. If you do enable checkout, don’t worry, the charges aren’t charged until you go in and charge them, so if you have a busy store with guns coming and going, you won’t be caught in a chargeback situation from an irate buyer who can’t buy a gun you no longer have.
IMPORTANT POINT! Again, our system is set up so that the charges are not processed until you process them. The order waits in stasis, and the red “Sold Pending Payment” flag is set on the ad. We all know that a percentage of GA purchases fall through for one reason or another, and our system is set up to handle that. You can see below that the button “Charge Selected Items” lets you control the order completely. This should greatly reduce the potential for bad blood and chargebacks due to misunderstandings. Please see the screencaps below.
IMPORTANT POINT #2! Once you enable checkout, the backup buyer system is quasi-disabled. The Buy It will not come off the listing until a buyer clicks buy it then actually pays for the purchase, using checkout. You will be able to manually mark items paid as well, through a link in your email. You will also be able to create an invoice for people with whom you are in contact with through Ask Seller a Question. This will all be links in emails, so it should not be confusing. The system will not allow two people to pay for one order (unless you have marked it as more than 1 available), and the Buy It system will stack contacts as back up buyers when two or more people click Buy It but do not instantly pay.
EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO SELL is still not an issue with GunsAmerica classifieds like it is with the gun auctions, because you can always refuse the payment (see screen caps below).
If this seems confusing to you on first look, don’t worry. The Live Checkout system has now been rolling along for a while and there have been almost no problems with it. Once you contact MSL and get your gateway settings the whole system will be self explanatory, and it will save you a ton of time.