What do you need to accept credit cards on your website?

According to an article in Entrepreneur magazine, up to 90 percent of online purchases are made by credit card; also sites that do not accept credit cards only convert, at most, 15 percent of their sales. Accept credit cards on your website is a relatively stress-free process that takes only a week of business set-up but can collect positive results for your business.

Requirements

You need get an offshore merchant account from a bank or payment processing services. Merchant credit card accounts allow money to be electronically debit from a customer’s credit card and deposited into your bank account. In many cases, a merchant account automatically provided as part of business performance package from the bank. You also need a shopping cart system on your website or as a minimum, an order form where customers can place items they wish to buy. There are many commercial and open source shopping cart systems available.

What do you need to accept credit cards on your website

Set-up

First, contact your bank or payment gateway to make sure that the account is active. You cannot proceed until your account is open and ready to accept payments. Then, insert login and transaction code through of your site’s content management system (CMS). Most shopping cart systems also offer the option of sending a test payment from your account to make sure it is operating properly.

Safety

A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate recommended for online shops. The SSL certificate encrypts the information and verifies the target server (your merchant account) before sending the data. Although not legally required, it is essential to an SSL certificate when you run an online store. Without one, confidential information of customers, including credit card numbers, are written in plain text and can be intercepted in transit or read by the server once the sale is complete.

Alternatives

Payment gateways provide an alternative to the creation of a merchant account credit card. When using a payment gateway, the credit card is processed by high risk gateway provider, which then receives a processing fee (usually a flat fee plus a percentage of the sale). Payments fewer expenses are deposited into your gateway account and then can make a withdrawal to your bank account.

Notice

Fraud by credit card is, unfortunately, a fact of doing business online. Fraud caused $4 billion worth of damage in 2008 and it is important to note that your business — not your bank or the issuer of the credit card — is responsible for reimbursement of fraudulent transactions. To decrease the risk of fraud on your website, work with your bank to gather as much information as possible about your customers. Make sure that the order form captures important data such as the number of three-digit CVV, expiration date and billing address.

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