Long time reader, first time poster...
I am currently prepping for my first e-commerce website. I am learning about all the possibilities to accept payments, but still have some questions unanswered. So, here I go:
1) As I am starting, I am considering a 3PP to accept payments on my website, just to explore how things are going. I can still get a full merchant account later on. However, I personally think most 3PP have some serious disadvantage: they have no custom forms (I hope I am correct on this statement).
I do not really wish to send my customers to a different paypal or 2checkout page, but just want them to fill in a custom form on my page, press buy and get immediate confirmation the transaction was succesfull and then be redirected to the service they bought. The whole process should take 20 seconds... I personally hate it, when you are redirected to different pages, then have to go through an elaborate process of paying, filling in my name, email, again, etc...
However, I don't think I have found any 3PP that is actually allowing me to make custom forms, transferring all data to them in the backend, without my customers having to visit their page? Unless for PayPal Pro, which is only for the US? I am located in Belgium. Why is PayPal Pro exactly for the US?
2) Do I have to take the approach of a personal merchant account, in order to achieve this? If so, is there a service which can deliver what I need in one packet? I've read in this forum so many topics about different services, covering different aspects of the transaction: the gateway, the processor, then I need a separate bank account, etc... I don't really understand why it has to be made so 'user-unfriendly'...
Is there a service that can give me a full-blown merchant account all-in packet: allowing me to accept credit cards in custom forms, where they are handeling the transactions and everything security related, and me paying a % on every transaction, no merchant bank accounts, no monthly fees, so that -when starting the business- I can grow slowly? Easy and transparent?
3) How are you guys handeling VAT? I am located in Belgium. We have about the hardest tax pressure in the world: 21%. If selling services online, do I have to charge the tax from my country of residence, meaning I have to charge 21%, or do I have to localise tax, trying to find out where customers are coming from and applying their tax-scheme?
Most of my customers will come from the US.
thanks for your advice!