Studies have shown that e-commerce sites accepting credit cards at the time of product ordering will have sales at least 25 percent higher than sites where payment must be phoned, faxed or mailed. The easiest and least risky way to take credit card payments is to get an Internet merchant account and contract with a credit card gateway service.
You may already have a merchant account agreement with your bank to accept credit cards in person or over the phone, but most banks require a separate merchant contract for accepting payments on the Internet. Check with your bank for the terms of your existing account. Your merchant account credit card network must be compatible with the credit card network used by your payment gateway service (see below).
Credit Card and EFT Gateway
If you don't already have a merchant account, or your current account isn't authorized for Internet use, it's usually best to arrange your merchant account and credit card gateway service together. A gateway service works like this:
- Your shopping cart software passes order information to the secure server provided by the gateway.
- The gateway's secure server uses 128-bit SSL encryption (including security certificate) to allow your customers to safely send credit card information to them.
- If the credit card information is valid, then the gateway accesses one of the private credit card networks and attempts to get approval for the charge.
- An appropriate success or failure message is passed back to your shopping cart software so the order can be completed.
- The gateway provides you with password-protected access to the secure server so you can record when shipments have been completed (if appropriate) or adjust amounts when necessary.
- Funds are transferred to your Internet merchant account.
When your site is properly linked to a gateway service, your customers' credit card numbers never even pass through your server. That greatly reduces the risk to you of credit card theft liability.
Gateways may also allow you the option to accept checks online via EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). Using EFT, customers can authorize direct transfers of funds from their checking accounts to yours via the secure gateway environment.
Our Convenient Packages
There is a huge range of service features and fees charged by merchant account banks and gateway services. It's important to choose stable companies with trusted business reputations and an aggressive approach to security and privacy. Shopping for these services and making sure they are compatible can be confusing and time-consuming.
As part of our excellent service, we've done the research for you. We've made strategic alliances with the best companies we could find. Consequently, we can offer you comprehensive, reasonably priced packages exactly tailored to your needs. Read more about the details of our merchant accounts and gateway/EFT services, and we think you'll be pleased with what we've put together.