Online Business Credit Card Processing

Most businesses with websites need online business credit card processing so that their web visitors and customers can easily make purchases. This applies to all industries including restaurants, retail, non-profits and service businesses. Anything too complicated when making an online payment and the business risks losing a sale. Customers can get frustrated easily; they have little patience and will simply move on to another site.

A good example is PayPal. Some people get frustrated setting up a PayPal ccount and not everyone has a PayPal account for online processing. What if a restaurant only had PayPal to transact its online business credit card processing for takeout orders?  They would obviously lose a significant amount of business. Also, what if the business did not take American Express? Since some people only have American Express cards, that would also eliminate a small percentage of potential customers.

Until several years ago, most credit card processing companies had to use a third party “gateway” to accept payment for online purchases. These gateways were needed for security purposes, and the technology was still new, but there were only a few of them until now. We work with several processors that have their own gateway which costs less than most third party gateways which have per transaction charges and batch fees. I can also help you with integration and setup so feel free to contact me for a free analysis of your online or in-store processing needs.

A “payment gateway” or “gateway” is an ecommerce application service provider that is able to authorize online business credit card processing and basically act as the gateway or pass through to the credit card processor.

PayPal was of course another option and is itself a gateway and a processor. One of the first gateways, founded in 1996, was Authorize.Net.  In 2010, Visa, Inc. purchased CyberSource Corp. which was the parent company of Authorize.Net.  Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-visa-cybersource-idUSTRE63K2HB20100421

When the internet first came along and payment gateways were created for ecommerce, online business credit card processing costs were quite expensive and quite a bit more than the processing costs for in-store sales. You would think that online processing costs would be cheaper than instore processing costs, but that is not the case, even today, the only possible exception being if you are an online merchant using PayPal for high ticket items. While the costs for online processing have come down, it still costs small business owners more when they sell something online.

Example 1:  If you sell a $30.00 item online through PayPal it costs 2.9% plus $.30 for a total of $1.17 which is 3.9% of the transaction.  Typical processing costs through our payment processor are less.

Example 2:  If you sell a $20.00 item online through PayPal it costs 2.9% plus $.30 for a total of $0.88 which is even higher at 4.4%.  Again, our online business credit card processing costs are much less.

While most credit card processing companies today have their own gateways, Authorize.net is still a big player as far as payment gateways go and commands a large, but some say dwindling, market share of the online payments industry.

We Take a Three-Pronged Approach for Our Clients

Security First on the List for Online Business Credit Card Processing

I have met with and advised many businesses on gateway solutions.   First, I look at security which is an even bigger part of payment processing than it was just a few years ago. Merchants are required to answer a yearly questionnaire, have a security scan run on their system and are not allowed to have outside third parties tinker with their systems unless they are a certified QIR – Qualified Integrator and Reseller. Fees for PCI (Payment Card Industry) non-compliance can add up and a data breach related to your online business credit card processing can result in significant fines.

Second, Don’t Make Unnecessary Technology Changes

When consulting with a business owner on saving money on processing costs, I actually recommend a solution that will make as few technology changes as possible to their current structure.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If things are working fine and security is in place to meet all the PCI compliance requirements then we discuss various credit card pricing options and solutions.

Third, Lowering Monthly Online Processing Costs

Lastly, I examine their current merchant processing statement to determine what and how much I can save them on their monthly fees. This is usually the easiest part because of the rates we have and I like to same small business owners money and establish long term relationships, rather than trying to make a lot on a small number of accounts. I have learned small business owners hate being over charged and taken advantage of, so if you price them fairly and save them money, you have a long term client. Some sales agents just don’t understand that for some reason and get greedy.

Online Payments Page

Shopping Carts are Not Always Necessary

Depending on how your business is set up and what you are selling online, you might be able to set up a simple payments page without the need for setting up a shopping cart. For instance, Elavon has a gateway called Converge. Merchants can use the Converge gateway to set up a simple payments page to accept payments for a variety of products or services. It can be used by restaurants, dry cleaners, liquor stores, software companies or for services like plumbing, electrical carpentry or landscaping.

The page can be made to mirror the merchant’s own website so it doesn’t look like they are going off-site, but the processing takes place on Elavon’s servers so the data is encrypted and meets PCI compliance guidelines. Using their gateway will be less expensive than using a third party gateway that has a monthly and per transaction fee. Some even have a “batch fee” so they charge you just for settling out each day.

Shopping Cart Integration with Credit Card Processing Online

There are many different shopping carts and most of them will integrate with Elavon’s Converge gateway. This is one of the simpler solutions when it comes to online business credit card processing. We find that 3d Cart integrates well with Converge although there are other shopping carts to consdier as well based on the size and needs of your business. as well. There a number of factors you should consider and red flags to be aware of when looking at shopping carts though.

Shopping Cart Red Flags

  • Avoid third party gateways that are difficult to integrate and will cast you $500 or more to integrate Avoid gateways that have limited use and were not meant to work with shopping carts
  • Avoid gateways that only work with a limited number of shopping carts, in case you want to switch shopping carts some day
  • Avoid gateways that are not directly integrated with your processor

Credit Card Processing Online is Not Complicated

 Credit card processing online does not have to be complicated, so be wary if your sales agent or processor is making it confusing or is not able to explain things to you clearly on pricing and integration. Although you may have to hire an web developer familiar with shopping cart integration, this should not cost you much, so make sure you get two or three quotes in advance. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or are looking for a simple solution, I’m glad to help. I can offer you many more online business credit card processing tips as well.

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