I understand how you feel... getting into site creation and hosting can be pretty daunting at first, however after you get your hands dirty you'll start to pick it up in no time.
The recommendations made above are good ones. You should definitely make an attempt to get a merchant account if your credit/business history allows. If you are declined for a merchant account, a service such as WorldPay or 2Checkout will allow you to accept credit cards without your own merchant account.
If you're not sure what a merchant account is, it's basically an account with a company that will serve as a halfway point for money you collect via credit cards. They interact with Visa and Mastercard systems, collect the money from the transactions that you submit via a gateway like authorize.net, and send the money to your personal or business account automatically. For this, they generally take a flat per-transaction fee and a percentage of each transaction. In most cases (not all) a merchant account will also be cheaper than WorldPay/2Checkout/Paypal, as the transaction fees are generally lower.
As far as a hosting company goes, it doesn't have to be a gamble. Dan has put together a very nice site that includes a set of helpful articles and reviews on a handful of hosts. Keep in mind that the hosts listed here are not the only trustworthy ones out there, however it should give you a place from which to springboard your search. The URL for his site is: http://www.whreviews.com/
That's one of the few "honest" review sites out there. Another is http://www.webhostmagazine.com/
(the reviews section).
Hang in there! The more you wade in unfamiliar territory the more it becomes familiar--even if it's only by virtue of the fact that you've seen all of this unfamiliar stuff many times before.