How to Process Credit Card Payments on BlueHost

A lot of people build websites in order to generate income from it. This is the reason a lot of website owners set up credit card accounts for their websites, particularly for their business.


There are two different ways for you to implement this. You can:

  • Use a personal merchant account; or
  • Use a payment gateway account (third-party merchant)

The difference between these two is that, with a merchant account, you can process credit cards on their own. The latter, on the other hand, uses a middleman to facilitate the website’s financial transactions.

Merchant Account

A merchant account is a bank account that allows business owners to accept credit and debit card payments. It’s established under an agreement between you, the acceptor, and a merchant acquiring bank for settling credit/debit card transactions.


Using a merchant account is an excellent option for a company or business since it has an established line of credit from a reputable bank. Applying for an eCommerce credit line is almost the same as applying for a business loan from the bank.

If you’re planning to use a merchant account for your site, you can easily do so by applying from the bank. The benefit of using a merchant account for your business website is that you will be able to process financial requests easily and securely on your own.

Unlike using a payment gateway account, you won’t have to pay for monthly processing and transaction fees. This can be quite costly, especially if you’re running a business that processes thousands of transactions on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. With that said, if you’re a large and established company, using a merchant account for your website is the best route to take.

Payment Gateway Account

Using a payment gateway account facilitates the processing of payment card transactions. When a customer buys something from your online shop, they will have to enter their credit card details upon checking out. Your site will then send this information to your preferred payment gateway to authorize the transaction and process the payment. Once the credit card details submitted to the payment gateway matches the information on the file with the credit card company and the charge is verified, the money will be transferred from your customer’s credit card and into your site’s merchant account.

Payment Gateway

Some of the most popular and trusted payment gateway providers include:

  • PayPal
  • net
  • Verisign
  • Cybersource

Unlike using a merchant account, a payment gateway account is easier to acquire by small business owners. However, using a payment gateway account comes with a monthly processing fee, as well as a transaction fee. These fees are normally between 3% and 5% of the transaction value; while the monthly rates range between $10 and $100.

These rates are considered to be a huge investment and is typically used by large and multinational companies.

SSL Certificate and Credit Cards

BlueHost advises website owners to purchase a SSL certificate for their business website, especially if they’re using a merchant account. Having an SSL certificate can further boost your credibility and increases financial security for your customers.

These days, a lot of online shoppers are concerned that their personal information might get hacked from a business website. This is the reason credit card information are not emailed or stored in a website’s database. Another potential threat is that storing the full financial information of your customers is strictly prohibited by the Payment Card Industry (PCI).

On the other hand, website owners using a payment gateway account are not required to have an SSL certificate because payment gateway providers already have their own SSL certificate. Additionally, business website are not responsible for processing credit card transactions.

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