When it comes to merchant processing on the Internet there’s a lot to understand. By accepting credit cards and debit cards you can dramatically grow your sales, but first you need to understand the basics. Below we’ll explore the three essential elements of merchant processing… Your payment gateway, merchant account and shopping cart.
Your payment gateway is what handles all of the sensitive information that’s involved with transacting credit cards. It acts essentially acts as a traditional credit card terminal does at most brick and mortar stores. When a customer orders something from you – your gateway will then securely receive the information and handle the communication through your payment processor. Then it will return with the status of the transaction.
Most payment gateways can be set up to handle a variety of different styles of merchant processing. Some of the most common methods of accepting credit cards are from your website, over the phone, or even through a “swipe terminal” at your retail store. Because of the sensitive nature of the information handled by your payment merchant tools gateway you should chose a well known and trusted one.
Your merchant account is a special type of bank account that allows you to accept credit and debit card transactions. It’s what connects your business, your payment processor and your bank together while merchant processing on the Internet.
One important thing to keep in mind about your merchant account is that it does not have to be through your business checking bank. In fact, most business owners chose not to go through their own bank because you can get much better rates and tools through one that specializes in online merchant processing.
After your transaction are “settled” they will be deposited from your merchant account directly into your checking account. This allows for fast access to your money.
Your shopping cart is an essential tool for several reason when accepting credit cards online. First off, you want as much information as you can when it comes to what your selling, to whom…etc. and your shopping cart will allow you to develop a detailed database of your customers.
Beyond that it’s what your customers will actually interact with on your website. Then your shopping cart will securely send all of the data to your payment gateway for merchant processing. After receiving the “OK” back from your gateway your shopping cart will then let your customer know the order was completed and either deliver the product (if digital) or let them know it will be shipped out.
There’s a lot of shopping carts to chose from and all have different features and abilities. One important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to spend a lot on your cart because there’s a vast array of secure, open source, options available for free.
While merchant processing can seem confusing to someone new to eCommerce it’s really not that complicated. You just need to apply for a merchant account and gateway combo. Then link their system up to your website with your shopping cart and you’re ready to accept credit and debit cards!