Most businesses with websites need credit card processing online so that their web visitors and customers can easily make purchases. Anything too complicated and a business risks losing a sale because customers get frustrated easily; they have little patience.
For instance, not everyone has a PayPal account for online
processing. Imagine if a restaurant had credit card processing online, but it
was only for PayPal account holders. 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, but there were only a few of them until now. We work with several processors that have their own gateway so it brings down the cost of using a third party gateway and the per transaction charges that they impose in their pricing structure. We can also help with integration and setup.
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
Since there were only a few gateways until recently, this resulted in the costs for online credit card processing being more expensive than the processing costs for in-store sales. While the costs for online processing have come down, it still costs small business owners more when they sell something online.
Most credit card companies today have their own gateways, but Authorize.net is still a big player and commands a large, but some say dwindling market share of online payments. I have advised many businesses on gateway solutions. I typically look at security first, make as few technology changes as possible to the current structure and price the merchant fairly to reduce their monthly credit card processing costs.
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 does not 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. Using Elavon's gateway will be less expensive than using a third party gateway that has a monthly and per transaction fee.
There are many different shopping carts and most of them will integrate with Elavon’s Converge gateway. There a number of factors you should consider and red flags to be aware of when looking at shopping carts, so it pays to do your homework before choosing a shopping cart and credit card processing company.
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. Contact me if you have any further questions or are looking for a simple solution, I’m glad to help.
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