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In: Ecommerce, Support

Processing Credit Cards Online: What You Need To Know

by Atak Interactive - Oct 11, 2012

As the demand for the convenience of online shopping grows, the necessity for easy and secure credit card processing is increasing. There are dozens of providers, who offer processing of your customer’s credit cards, but they’re not all the same and it can sometimes be tricky to fully understand the whole system. ATAK Interactive takes the process out of processing credit cards online and gives you the information you need to make the right decision for your ecommerce website.

The First Step Is Understanding

In most ecommerce website cases, a payment gateway is the most common way to process credit cards. Before you can begin to make any decisions about what is best for your business, the first step is to fully comprehend the process whereby the customer is charged and the merchant receives the payment. When the customer enters their credit card information into an ecommerce website, the information is first sent via your payment gateway to the merchant account (seller’s account). The merchant account takes the credit card information and sends it to the credit card provider of the buyer (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) to verify the submitted information and available funds. Once the credit card provider confirms the availability of funds, the approval is sent back to the merchant account, which then sends the approval back to the payment gateway. Once the payment is approved and processed, the merchant receives the payment into their account via the buyer’s bank.

Something to keep in mind is that the payment gateway and the merchant account are two separate entities, but often payment gateways work with merchant account providers to offer customers an inclusive package that can be less expensive than purchasing each separately. With that said, it is wise to do some research and go with the payment gateway/merchant account combination that is most efficient for your business. For example, the payment gateway Authorize.net offers a directory where you can choose from a number of merchant account providers that seamlessly integrate with the payment gateway.

Be Aware

There are many different factors that can affect a good credit card processing experience.

  • Security. The most important aspect of credit card processing is security of both your account and your customers’ account. The standard for all credit card processing systems is PCI DSS compliance, which means that the practices of the credit card processor meet all guidelines and security standards. You should never use a credit card processing service that is not PCI DSS compliant.
  • Protecting yourself. According to the most recent CyberSource Online Fraud Report, U.S. merchants lost an estimated $3.4 billion in 2011 due to fraud. Although it often comes at an additional fee, it is worth protecting yourself and your business as cyber thieves become more advanced at stealing information.
  • Getting help when you need it. Find out what the processing service’s customer service policies are and do some research online to see how other customers rated their customer service experiences. You may pay a little more for services that offer better customer service, but you’ll be thankful for the assistance when you need it.
  • Cost. Make sure you have the whole picture of any fees associated with your payment gateway and merchant account. Typically, payment gateways and merchant accounts charge a monthly fee in addition to a per transaction fee, but there could be other fees in the fine print that aren’t evident at first, such as a low volume transaction fee, for example.
  • Consider add-ons. Does your business include products or services that require a recurring payment? Would you like to offer the option to store your customer’s shipping address and billing information for future purchases? These and other add-ons are important to think about when comparing payment processors.

With the numerous credit card processing services available to use for your ecommerce site, it is easier than ever to set up an online store, but increasingly difficult to choose which solution is the best fit for your business. Consulting with an experienced ecommerce web design professional like ATAK Interactive can save you time and money by recommending a payment gateway and merchant combination that will support your business.


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