How To Accept Online Card Payments as a Small Business in Australia

Roberto Efflandrin

Making credit or debit card payment online - a process where customers of online merchants click through a few prompts, fill in their card details, and voila, their purchase is confirmed. For those that don’t know too much about what actually goes into setting up such a mechanism for an online business, it is actually a collaboration between different service providers and banks.

This article will go through the ways to receive online card payments and introduce you to Wise Business, an alternative business account option to manage your international business.

💸 Looking for a stress-free international business account that can integrate with Pin Payments or Stripe; with multiple cards, local and foreign currency account details?

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Ways to accept credit card payments for businesses

There are a few ways to set up credit and debit card payments to receive online customer payments. Let’s go through your options below.

Setting up a merchant account and a payment gateway service

Setting up a merchant account is the traditional method to accept card payments online. This is when your e-commerce business enters into a contract with a merchant acquiring bank. This could be with your business banking provider or another bank, depending on if they offer merchant account options and your business meets eligibility requirements.

With a merchant account you’ll also need to set up a payment gateway. Payment gateways act as the customer facing interface or the “check out” portal on your website that enables your business to securely accept customer card details.

Merchant accounts vs Business accounts, what's the difference?

One common dilemma new businesses face is confusing business accounts with merchant accounts. The good news is, they are related, but do not serve the same function. A merchant account has the sole purpose to receive cashless or card payments, which then must be transferred to a business account for the funds to be used. This being the last stage of the transaction chain.

Using a third party payment processor

The second way to accept customer card payments is by using a third party payment processor. A third party payment processor is an intermediary business entity that has their own relationship with merchant acquiring banks.

This means they provide the online payment gateway and merchant bank services without you having to go through multiple entities. Here are some of the top payment processor entities that some Australian businesses use.


Stripe is a global payment management company that develops software and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for e-commerce businesses. With Stripe, merchants can accept and send payments from around the world, while integrating several payment APIs that their customers can use to make payments. To sign up with Stripe, online businesses can make an account and start receiving payments instantly from their customers.¹

Read more: See how Wise works with Stripe


Paypal is an online payment processing system that allows individuals or businesses of all sizes to receive and send payments globally. For businesses, the Paypal Commerce platform is a bundle of comprehensive tools to enable growth, and offer their customers more ways to pay.²

Read more: PayPal Business Price Comparison Research

Pin Payments

Pin Payments is an Australian based payment processing company, acquired by Pin Payments enables small businesses to accept and receive online card payments from their customersquickly and easily. Pin Payment account holders can also add a secure payment method to popular business applications or customise their own integrated payments method for their business websites.³

Read more: See our Pin Payments Review

Payment gateways + merchant accounts or third party payment processors? Which way to go?

This all might sound a tad technical and you’re probably wondering if one way is better than the other. Let's go through some pros and cons of each option, so you can decide which could be more convenient for your business.

Payment Gateway + Merchant Account option

Pros Cons
Accept and receive card payments through a local bank Can be difficult to get approved, especially for small businesses
An intermediary account between bank and business High set-up costs and sometimes long account opening times
Greater security with underwriting processes, insurances and Strict agreements between parties
In-person support options with certain banks Can require an international payment gateway for accepting online international payments (higher fees)
Great for businesses with in-person, over the phone and online payments Have to pay separate entity fees for each service


Third Party Payment Processors

Pros Cons
Quick and easy account set up with some providers offering no fees to make an account Not as established as a direct contractual relationship with a merchant acquiring bank
No lock in contracts or upfront commitments Subject to third party business decisions and strategy changes.
Customise several popular payment integrations including foreign currency payment options Transaction fees can be high and changed at any time
Expand your revenue base with global reach Less personalised customer support mechanisms
Can cater to all business sizes, but great for small online businesses Account freezes from dispute investigation can be disruptive to your business activities

When deciding on which option is best for your business, consider what industry you are in, the size of your business, what your budget allows and how quickly you want to start accepting payments. However, if you want to be able to accept card payments quickly, a third party payment processor might be the most convenient option.

What fees will apply when you accept credit card payments?

Now that we’ve gone through the nitty gritty on what's available to e-commerce and online businesses, let's go through some of the types of fees you may be expected to pay.

  • Establishment fees
  • Ongoing Account keeping fees
  • Transaction fees
  • Fees related to refunds and dispute investigation
  • Terminal set up and maintenance fees
  • International payment fees
  • Foriegn currency conversion fees
  • Card association fees

This list of fees is not exhaustive and rates vary between provider and the method you’ve chosen for your business to accept credit card payments.

Are online payment services safe to receive credit card payments?

The short answer to this question is yes, online payment services are safe to receive credit card payments. However, there are some caveats to security and things to look for when it comes to using these services.

As the card data you’ll be processing is sensitive information, it's imperative you go with a provider that meets PCI compliance standards. You should always check what other measures each provider has in place to mitigate fraudulent activity and online security breaches such as:

  • Software and system update schedules
  • Encryption and tokenization
  • SSL certificates
  • Security audits

These measures can signify that their systems are secure and trustworthy to handle customer card data.

Wise Business account and Stripe

Now that we’ve covered how your online business can start accepting online card payments, the next step is choosing a business account that suits your business needs. The Wise Business account is a great alternative for international businesses looking for a hassle free option to manage their business from anywhere. Another benefit of the Wise business account is that it can be connected to a Stripe account, which makes managing the money collected from customers quick and easy.

To learn more about how much Wise could save your business, check out the Wise Business account. You can sign up online with a few clicks — in minutes.

Open your Wise business account
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  1. Stripe payments
  2. Paypal Commerce platform
  3. Pin Payments guide

Sources checked on: 16 June 2022

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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