What Are Payment Processing Fees and Why Do They Matter?

Perhaps payment processing fees aren’t the first items on your agenda when setting up an online storefront. However, it’s necessary to understand them prior to launching your store.

If you want to sell anything online (whether it’s a product, a service, or a downloadable item), you need an online payment system in place to collect money from your sales. Before you choose an online payment system, though, factor in the processing fees that each system requires.

Understanding online payments

Online payments may sound complicated in theory, but a good online solution or tool requires that you only input the amount of money that you expect to receive from each sale. The payment system that you have in place will take care of the rest.

In order to sell products or services on your site, all you need to do is set up a “pay now” button.

The leaders in the online payment space are companies like Stripe, PayPal, and Square. These companies provide a high level of protection by ensuring that payments are 100 percent secure when they’re processed online. They are also easy to use — once you sign up for one, integrate it into your site to begin making sales. On WordPress.com, there are options for integrating online payments with Stripe and Paypal, and you can do even more with a full eCommerce site and WooCommerce.

Making sales from your WordPress.com site

So, how do you integrate an online payment system into your site? As complicated as the concept sounds, setting up an actual sales mechanism on your website is rather straightforward.

All WordPress.com paid plans allow to collect one-time purchases and recurring fees using features in our powerful Payments block. In essence, it only requires connecting a Stripe account and inserting a payment button with the block editor.

Once you complete this process and publish a post or page, your payment button goes live too. Then you can manage everything and track your earnings from inside your WordPress.com account.

For a more advanced eCommerce setup, a similar mechanism is installed when running your sales via the WooCommerce plugin. WooCommerce comes with both PayPal and Stripe. You can also add other online payment systems for free. Take advantage of WooCommerce when you choose either the Business or eCommerce plans.

Online payment systems make selling products on your WordPress.com site possible without much effort on your end. But you should be aware of the small fees you’ll be paying in order to use these payment platforms.

How payment processing fees work

Payment systems like PayPal and Stripe make money through payment processing fees. For every transaction made using a payment system, you pay a fee that’s comprised of two elements: a percentage of the total amount of the product sold, and an additional fixed fee.

According to PayPal’s current documentation, when you sell something within the US, the fee is 2.9 percent of the total cost plus an added $0.30 per sale. Stripe’s processing fees are the same as of this writing.

This is just the benchmark amount. It fluctuates based on the country where the sale is made. For sales outside of the US, you can expect fees to range from 3.4 percent, plus $0.30 to 4.9 percent plus $0.30 per sale. Here’s more information on fees you can expect when you’re using the Payments block.

Incorporating fees into your prices

If you only operate within the US, then your calculations are fairly straightforward. For example, if the price of your product is $100, then the PayPal fees are as follows:

$100 x 2.9% + $0.30 = $3.20

The amount that you will receive after making this sale will be:

$100 - $3.20 = $96.80

This doesn’t sound like much of a difference at first, but once you begin to sell dozens or even hundreds of products, the fees will add up.

Therefore, think long and hard about how fees will impact your overall profitability when pricing your items. It might be a good idea to increase the base price of your products to accommodate for the fees that you will have to pay back.

Payment processing fees are inevitable, so it’s important to account for them. Fortunately, they also tend to be small — and the convenience of the online payment systems make them worth it. As long as you don’t let payment processing fees take you by surprise, they won’t stop your online business from thriving.

Discover more about on website payment technology in a free guide!

ebook cover - online payment technology for websites

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