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How to accept credit card payments for your Australian small business

How to accept credit card payments for your Australian small business

Before you can start taking orders from customers, you’ll need to set up a payment option that’s simple and allows them to pay without any hassles.

It’s likely you’re considering opting for credit card payments as a convenient and secure way for your customers to pay for your goods and/or services.. So, how do you start the process of accepting credit card payments?

How to accept credit card payments for businesses

Accepting credit card payments for your small business, while beneficial, could initially be a challenging task. The process differs depending on the type of business and payment model.

Here are two potential ways to get your small business set up to accept credit card payments:

A merchant account with a bank

Getting a merchant account with a bank is generally the most challenging route you can take. But, once the account is set-up, it’s the most efficient solution as well.

A merchant account with a bank allows you to create your own payment gateway instead of relying on services like PayPal. With this payment gateway, you’ll be able to accept credit card payments from your customers in a safe and secure manner. By opting to create your own payment gateway through a merchant account, you’ll get access to physical card-reading devices found in brick-and-mortar stores, as well as the payment processing portals used for online sales.

Moreover, by securing a merchant account with a bank, you will most likely have fewer merchant fees per transaction, depending on the industry you’re in.

The process of getting a merchant account can be difficult, especially for smaller businesses, as banks are usually concerned about the risks of credit card fraud and customer complaints.

To increase your chances of getting a merchant account, you could consider contacting a smaller bank or a bank you have an existing history with.

Moreover, a bank would be more willing to give you a merchant account if you have a physical store, as the goods are delivered as soon as the payment is made, which reduces the chances of fraud. If you have an online store that sends the products days or weeks after the payment is made, the bank will likely refuse your application to open a merchant account. In such cases, you could consider using online options that enable you to accept credit cards.

Online merchant gateways like PayPal or Stripe

If you own a credit or debit card, you’ve probably used an online merchant gateway to make a payment at least once. This is one of the most popular ways for small businesses to accept credit card payments online. Also known as a credit card payment gateway, an online merchant gateway is similar to a credit card machine that is online. Your customers can submit their credit card details on a secure webpage to make payments for your services or products.

Setting up an online merchant gateway for your business is relatively easy as you just need to provide a company like PayPal all your business details and identification. Your PayPal account will then be directly linked to your bank account.

Online payment gateways are extremely user-friendly as you can create buttons like ‘buy now’ on shopping carts. You can even allow the customer to choose from various plans or buy-now-pay-later options. You can then add these buttons and customisations on your website for your customers to access.

What fees will apply when you accept credit card payments?

There are three types of fees you will typically be charged to accept credit card payments for your business. The amount usually varies depending on the payment platform. To know the exact amount, you could consider requesting a quote before signing up for a merchant account or payment gateway service.

1. Set-up fees

Some payment solutions may require you to pay a one-time set-up fee or a service fee to create the payment gateway or account. The amount usually varies depending on the size of your business, type of payment solutions you choose and other factors.

2. Account fees

You’ll generally have to pay an account fee on a monthly or yearly basis. This fee is based on several factors like the size of the business, the estimated number of transactions and the features of the package you choose. As account fees are usually a fixed price and are charged at regular intervals, it’s relatively easy to budget for it. However, you need to ensure that you choose the right type of plan and fee structure for your business.

3. Payment processing fees

Usually, you will be charged a payment processing fee, either a percentage of each transaction or a fixed dollar amount. For example, PayPal charges between 1.1 per cent to 2.6 per cent plus a fixed fee of $0.30 per transaction in Australia and up to 3.6 per cent for every transaction in a foreign currency. The fees could also vary depending on the package and features you choose.

While it’s essential to choose the right credit card for your business that provides a host of features, it’s also crucial to select the best way to accept credit card payments for your small business. So, it’s worth comparing various payment options that can help you find a suitable solution for your business and your customers.

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Georgia Brown before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.



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Learn more about credit cards

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

Can I use PayPal to transfer from a credit card to a bank account?

You can easily link your credit card to your PayPal account. When you need to make a payment, PayPal makes an instant transfer from your bank account, provided you’ve linked and confirmed your credit card details.For credit card holders, you can transfer funds from eligible cards listed in the “Instant” section of the money transfer page.

Here is how you can transfer money from PayPal to your bank account:

  1. On the “My Wallet” tab, select “Transfer Money” and then click on the “Transfer to your bank account” option.
  2. Choose the bank account where you want to transfer the money and click “Continue.”
  3. Enter the amount, review and click “Transfer Now.”
  4. When you confirm the transfer, the amount should be moved to the bank account linked from the chosen credit card.

Should I get a credit card?

Once you've compared credit card interest rates and deals and found the right card for you, the actual process of getting a credit card is quite straightforward. You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at a bank branch. 

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

How to make a credit card online

If you’re wondering about how to make a credit card online application, here are some steps to follow:

  • Test the market. Many credit card options are available online. Compare providers by fees, interest and perks to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Complete the application. Once you’ve selected a card, head to the provider’s website and complete the online credit card application form. Forms vary by providers.
  • Provide details. Most cards require you to meet age, residency, income and credit status condition, and you need to provide details like a bank account statement to prove this.
  • Review details. Ensure the information you’ve entered is correct.

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

What can I do about my Commonwealth Bank expired credit card?

You’ll typically receive your replacement Commonwealth Bank credit card before your current one expires. 

Once you receive the replacement card, you may need to update the new card with all the direct debits that you had set up on your expired Commonwealth Bank credit card. These could include insurance payments, electricity or gas bills, and monthly entertainment subscriptions.

To see a list of all your regular payments in NetBank, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to NetBank
  2. Click on ‘settings’
  3. Go to ‘product requests’, and select ‘credit card regular payments’. 

If you don’t use NetBank, you can see the list of your regular payments on your most recent credit card statement. Keep in mind, this list may not be complete and you should also check your past statements or your transaction history. 

If you haven’t received your replacement card before your current card expires, call 13 22 21 and the bank will send a new card to you. 

It is important that you safely discard your expired credit card. This often means cutting it up with scissors and throwing it out. 

Can I transfer money from my American Express credit card to my bank account?

If you’re an American Express credit card customer, you may not be able to transfer money from your credit card to your bank account. However, you may be eligible for cash advances, which involves withdrawing money through an ATM. 

To qualify for a cash advance, you’ll likely have to enrol for American Express Membership Rewards. Consider checking your online credit card account to see if you can withdraw a cash advance and, if so, the fees and charges you’ll incur for this transaction. 

You should remember that cash advances are different from balance transfers, which were available with some American Express credit cards earlier. Balance transfers allow customers to consolidate debt from high-interest credit cards to a credit card offering a lower interest rate. If you only recently applied for an American Express credit card, balance transfers may not be available irrespective of the card you own. 

What should I do if my ANZ credit card has expired?

Your ANZ credit card is considered expired only after the last day of the month and year marked on your card. For instance, if your card’s expiry date reads 03/22, it is valid until 31 March 2022 and expires on 1 April 2022. Typically, you should have received a new credit card by that date, and you won’t have to request a new card. 

Once you get the new card, you should remember to switch any automatic payments you have - such as a utility or mobile phone bill - from your expired credit card to your new credit card. Equally, if you are using CardPay Direct to repay your ANZ credit card debt, you may need to update the credit card account details for that service as well. 

In case the new card doesn’t arrive by the expiry date of your current credit card, you can call ANZ on 13 22 73 to find out the reason and if you need to request an expedited card. Please note that if you were planning to close your credit card account or request a credit card upgrade, you may need to call ANZ at least before the 25th of the month your current credit card expires in, as that’s when they may send you the new credit card.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

How to get a credit card for the first time

A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.

If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.

Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.

When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.

How do I transfer money from my Commonwealth bank credit card to my bank account?

Your Commonwealth bank credit card may include a cash advance benefit, but you won't be able to transfer money to your bank account. 

You can, however, withdraw cash from your credit card at an ATM. You should remember that you have to pay a fee for such transactions, and you’ll be charged interest from the day you withdraw the cash. 

Unlike other credit card transactions, you don’t get an interest-free repayment period for cash advances. Also, you may not be able to access your full credit card limit for a cash advance.

What to consider before transferring money from your credit card to your bank account in Citibank?

You can transfer money from a Citibank credit card to a bank account depending on the available limit of each. The process is known as a cash advance transaction, and Citibank should allow you to transfer some portion of the total credit limit.

Transferring funds from a credit card to a bank account is likely to attract additional charges, so please consider the following potential costs:

  • A cash advance fee, which is a per cent of the total transfer amount
  • A 2 per cent transaction fee when you transfer money from a Citibank credit card to a bank account
  • Cash advance interest rate applicable on the transfer amount without any interest-free period.

To learn more about such transfers, you can contact the bank via the online service desk, email, or by calling 13 CITI (13 24 84).

What should you do if your credit card is compromised?

Credit card fraud is a serious problem. If your credit card is compromised and you’re wondering what to do, here are a few precautionary steps to take.

Contact you credit provider – Get in touch will your credit card provider. If you feel your card has been compromised, you should be able to lock or block it.

Monitor your accounts – Keep an eye on your credit card accounts. Any unauthorised transactions could be a sign your credit card has been compromised.

Check your credit rating – It’s also important to check your credit rating, to ensure you’re not a victim of identity theft or some other financial mischief.