Online shopping, e-book, coupon, and auction sites - not to mention membership and adult entertainment sites - all require webmasters to have the ability to accept their customers' credit card payments. While Paypal is often a popular choice for some of these internet merchants, setting up a professional merchant account usually proves to be beneficial financially and also in terms of customer confidence and satisfaction. You can enhance the credibility of your business by processing your own credit card transactions. When retail stores decide that they need to accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and other payments, they can usually approach a local bank to sign up for a merchant account. Their operations are low risk since they are handling their customers' cards in person and are unlikely to face a lot of chargebacks or disputed transactions. Online, things are quite different. Many internet merchants are labeled as "high risk" because they do not swipe their customers' credit cards nor can they obtain their signatures acknowledging the sales taking place. Though there are, of course, many ways for them to handle their businesses securely, they are not usually eligible for credit card processing from a local or national bank. Instead, they turn to service providers who work with online companies specifically. Dedicated, cheap internet merchant accounts are relatively easy to find and set up. Businesses will typically have to provide their website address, financial information, and names, contact information, and a personal guaranty from the site or store owner in order to start the application process. Though certain businesses (like gambling sites) are prohibited, most ecommerce industries are a good fit for this type of merchant account. If you are looking into starting a travel website business, beyond thinking about hosting and domains, you also need to think about ecommerce merchant processing. Getting cheap rates, user-friendly software, and lowered fees will help get your business off to a great start!