Merchants, Affiliates, and High Risk Merchant Account Providers
MERCHANTS, AFFILIATES, AND HIGH RISK MERCHANT ACCOUNT PROVIDERS
What are the differences between a merchant, a merchant affiliate, and a high risk merchant account provider? There's nothing tricky in this question. There are really no hard boundaries that separate them. Combining the three, however, will come up with a powerful business team that can generate revenue multi fold. Will they be able to exist without one another? Of course. But a high risk merchant will eventually need a payment gateway to process his credit card transactions or a good international bank to handle his growing business. This growth will further be possible with the help of affiliates (a.k.a. sales associates) who help market the merchant's products/services.
USING MERCHANT AFFILIATES AS MARKETING TOOLS
If you've been around the industry for a while it won't be necessary for me to elaborate the whole idea of joining merchant/affiliate network programs. The concept is pretty simple. But for those who need a little insight, consider affiliates as your ticket to getting your products marketed and sold online without a drop of sweat. Just figure out a percentage of commission your affiliates will receive each time customers click or buy your products through banner ads that they posted on their websites. Voila. However you must also do your research on which merchant/affiliate networks are reliable and offer good service for competitive price.
Merchant affiliates do not own capital but have advertising and promotional skills that help earn themselves money off a merchant's sales. Most of these affiliates have established their personal websites and liked the idea of building a community of readers and supporters. Others have created forums where banners can be posted for members to see. Affiliates may be able to keep track of their commissions by looking at the merchant affiliate program's management software. Affiliate marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools for high risk merchants today.
PROTECTION, PAYMENT PROCESSING, AND PROFIT
Some high risk merchants begin without a merchant account. In the long run, it becomes imperative to apply for a high risk merchant account since the business will need to transact high volume credit card payments, via multiple currencies, and will need protection from credit card fraud. This is what a merchant account provider (MAP) does best. The higher the risk involved in your business, the more you will need the help of an offshore provider because, obviously enough, there's slim chance you will be able to acquire one domestically. MAPs have a host of services for merchants but pay only for what your business requires. For example, some of them offer manual terminals but you may not need them if you transact payments virtually. Look out for what type of anti-fraud tools they provide. Despite the armory of fraud prevention software they offer, chargebacks may still be incurred. How do you or your MAP handle that?
It's a good thing you have a host of choices out there. High risk merchant account providers do come up with unique features that separate them from the competition. Some of these features include various ways of accepting payments, handling customer disputes, or even mobility in selling. Go by the dictates of your needs. It will be naive to say that you won't spend a dime, but capitalizing on affiliate marketing as well as a good credit card processor will turn out to be dimes well spent.