You may have noticed that most iScripts products allow you to accept online payments from your customers. If you’re offering goods or services online, it is imperative that you are able to accept online payments. In case you have made any online payment processing before, you should at least have an idea on how easy and straight forward it is. All you need to do is to plug in your payment gateway information in your website’s administrative panel and you are in business. However, we understand that it may look like a daunting task if you have never setup a real online business before.
This article should give you some idea about the different options available to accept online payments. As my experience is generally U.S. based, some of the topics are U.S. centric. If you find things different in your location, just let us know.
How do I start accepting credit cards online? This is a very common question everyone asks. The answer actually depends on a few factors.
1. Where are you based?
If you’re in the USA, you have a lot of options. If you are in Canada, you may have a few less options to consider. And for the rest of the world, sad to say, very limited options. If you are outside the United States or Canada, PayPal seems to be the safest bet. It’s relatively easy to open a Paypal account and start accepting online payments immediately.
2. Do you already have a merchant account?
A merchant account is basically a bank account that handles your funds received via credit card. They normally charge a certain percentage off for every transaction. This is called a “discount rate.” If you have a storefront or a retail business and you are swiping people’s cards, then you already have a merchant account.
If you want to start accepting payments online, you’ll need to give your merchant provider a call and ask for an Internet merchant account—this is different from a regular merchant account, because it allows your customers to pay you online by entering their credit card information directly into your website. This enables you to accept credit card orders without your customers having to fax, phone or mail in their orders.
3. If you do have a merchant account, do you already have an account with a payment gateway like Authorize.net or PayPal?
If so, chances are you already know what you’re doing and you aren’t even reading this article. If you don’t, then you can read on and we will give some more details on what a payment gateway is and what your options are.
A payment gateway is an e-commerce service that authorizes payments for e-businesses and online retailers. It is kind of like the middleman between your customer and you or your merchant account. It is the equivalent of a physical POS (point-of-sale) terminal located in most retail outlets. They normally have a merchant login where you can manage your account, run reports, submit refunds, and even send invoices.
Payment gateways typically charge a monthly fee (PayPal is an exception) and sometimes a setup fee. Many of them also require an online merchant account, but will usually help you get one.
There are two main options for accepting payments online. These include merchant account solutions and third party gateways. For most merchant gateway solutions, credit card is entered on your site, while for third party processors credit card info is entered on their site.
Merchant Account Solutions
If you already have an established offline business, chances are you already accept credit cards and you have a merchant account from your bank and have some kind of electronic terminal in your shop/workplace for swiping credit cards. Bear in mind that if you do have a merchant account, you will need to apply for a separate Internet merchant account. If you don’t have a merchant account, the system works like this – you have to apply for a merchant account from a bank; it doesn’t have to be the bank you currently bank with, but that is of course the more practical approach. The bank will provide you an ID or account number, and without it you can’t accept credit cards.
Moreover, you will need a credit card processor which will actually look after the transaction details. No worries, your bank will handle this or will recommend partner companies. They normally charge a fee which usually includes a setup fee, a monthly minimum and then a percentage for each transaction. You will need a merchant account to take Visa, Mastercard, etc and a separate merchant account to take American Express.
Here are brief reviews of major merchant account solutions:
Auhorize.net has earned a very good reputation as the leader in online payment gateways for small businesses. They have great features with a no-nonsense gateway that just works. They provide a more direct solution than PayPal Standard and offer a completely branded payment experience for your customers. Their services are superb and reasonably priced. In general, Authorize.net has received positive feedback from new customers getting going with their service while existing customers are still using it. For integrating with most iScripts software you just need the account name and teh transaction key you get from Authorize.net to plugged in the admin panel.
PSiGate provides the essential tools to facilitate the processing of secure electronic transactions, and makes your e-commerce business accessible to clients worldwide. PSiGate can provide merchant accounts and gateway services for North American clients. In addition, they provide several free tools that are part of each account. They provide each merchant an eTerminal for phone and fax orders, real-time online reports of customer transactions and a Fraud Shield module.
LinkPoint will enable you to accept credit cards in real-time on your website. They provide a cheap and simple solution for accepting credit cards for phone and mail orders. The LinkPoint gateway supports most major shopping cart software. In case you are using one of these shopping cart applications (like most iScripts products), most of the work has already been done for you. Set-up is as easy as entering your Merchant ID number and they offer the lowest rates and fees in the industry.
WorldPay is ideal for U.K. businesses and is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland. It’s an excellent payment processor and the fees you paid in startup can be quickly recovered. As a reputable name in online payment processing, your customers would feel comfortable using Worldpay. It is fully customizable, however, this is reflected in the signup cost.
Verisign offers a lot of solid features such as recurring billing and fraud prevention. The recurring billing feature is standard, but does offer an API from which a recurring billing profile can be created. The Verisign Payflow Pro gateway is capable of sending custom emails. You can send email receipts for customer records or send them a notice that their card was declined. Verisign’s fraud prevention services are broken into two separate packages; each having its own add-on features that enhance the level of protection. Finally, Verisign offers a Buyer Authentication program for customers who want to use Visa’s Verified or Master Card’s Secure Code features.
Other Merchant Gateways are being introduced to the marketplace with different value added services. Most of them offers a Authorize.net emulator due to the acceptance of Authorize.net. You can integrate any gateway which supports a Authorize.net emulator with single line of code change.
Third Party Processors
On the other side of the coin are the third party processors. Payment processors basically allow you to use their merchant account for a fee and in most cases you can be set up in a matter of hours and start accepting credit cards right away. This by far the best option if you are just starting out in e-commerce.
Paypal is known for its rapid growth and use on Ebay, it is also the simplest and fastest payment processor to setup and use. The system includes a handy “button maker” so you don’t have to know or learn any of the intricate ins and outs of how to use it. For the more techy savvy, it does have all the powerful back end systems to communicate with your database through the IPN system. Recently Paypal junked their system of only allowing customers to make credit card payments after they had authorized their account. This means that customers have to wait till their credit card statements have been received before they could purchase anything. Now that this has been scrapped, Paypal is the ideal choice for e-commerce users and most of all their rates are comparably cheaper.
2checkout or 2Co is ideal for those who are not ready for a merchant account, but need a way to process online payments from customers. With 2Co, you don’t have to sign a contract nor do you need a software to get started, everything you need is provided right from their website. You will receive free technical support online, a free shopping cart, and free website codes as well. There are a couple of fees, but not as much as with other payment processing services. You have to pay a one time fee of $49 for signup as well as fees per sale which are currently $0.45 and 5.5% of each sale you make and payment processed.
PayLeap simplifies the electronic payment process by combining payment systems into one platform. They offer fast and reliable installation process in order to maximize the efficiency of your company. Merchants using PayLeap can process electronic payments in real time in any method utilized by most businesses. Their single service enables your company to manage payments made by wireless or online through an e-commerce web software.
BluePay is a premier credit card processing service that utilizes cutting-edge technology and encryption security throughout the transaction. In just three easy steps, you can be receiving credit cards at your business within hours of finishing the online application. You can then access your account online to check transactions, manage your account, and organize your records. BluePay provides a wide variety of merchant accounts for you to choose from, each designed to fit and grow with your business needs.
Google Checkout is an online payment processing service wherein users store their credit card and shipping information in their Google Account. It also offers fraud protection and a unified page for tracking purchases and their status. With Google Checkout you can easily make online purchases and track all your orders and shipping in one place. Their fraud protection feature covers you against unauthorized purchases made through Google Checkout, and you are assured that your purchase history or full credit card number is not shared with sellers. You can also keep your email address confidential, and block unwanted emails from stores where you previously used Google Checkout.
Brain Tree is a Paypal company that includes support for debit/credit card payments, Apple Pay, Android Pay, PayPal, Bitcoin and many other forms of payment. Brain Tree gives merchants the ability to create methods for direct payment, subscriptions, marketplace and contextual commerce. Partners include Uber, TaskRabbit and StubHub. Brain Tree is currently available in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, UK, Greater Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.
Ogone– Ingenico helps business owners accept payments online, on mobile devices, over the phone and by mail. Over 50,000 merchants use Ingenico and the company has coverage in 120 countries around the world. They began processing merchant credit card payments in the 1990’s and it is now one of the leading eCommerce payment providers in the world. They have regional offices in France, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, UK, US, Switzerland, India and UAE. Accepts credit and debit cards from around the world, as well as PayPal, Bitcoin and Open Invoice.
Paymentwall is available in over 200 countries. It is used by 90,000 businesses from around the world and accepts more than 120 payment options in 75 different currencies. Shoppers can make payments on their desktop, mobile device and Smart TV. Payment wall offers analytics, advanced reporting and fraud prevention. Payment methods include all major credit cards, bank transfers, Mint, PaySafeCard and many more options from around the world.
Payfast is an online payment processing company located in Cape Town, South Africa. They are currently available only for businesses and websites in South Africa. Payfast has over 30,000 South African receiving accounts. Payment options include Visa, Mastercard, Bitcoin and Instant EFT bank transfers.
PayFlowis a PayPal payment gateway designed to integrate seamlessly with eCommerce shopping carts and checkouts. It allows online merchants to accept PayPal and PayPal credit for their customers without disrupting the user experience. There are no monthly fees, and PayFlow charges $0.10 per transaction. It’s integrated with almost every payment processor and allows businesses to accept payments overseas in 22 currencies and in 190 markets around the world.
Paytm is aneCommerce site based in Noida, India. Much like Amazon, Paytmallows merchants to sell on their platform. Paytm is accepted in retail stores and online all over India. Paytm truly is a one stop shop. It allows online shoppers to pay their gas bill, buy a bus ticket, shop for clothes and pay your tuition fees all from one website.
RuPayIndia is a debit card created by the National Payments Corporation of India that competes with MasterCard and Visa and is accepted by businesses in India. RuPay is part of an initiative set forth by the Reserve Bank of India. Aside from helping millions of merchants, RuPay also enable rural farmers to be paid for their agricultural products quickly and have access to ATM’s. It is also accepted at automatic teller machines in India and to international companies through Discover Financial Services.
SagePay is a payment platform based in the United Kingdom and is used by 55,000 businesses. Payment processing methods include online, in store POS, over the phone and by invoice. They accept payments in over 25 currencies worldwide including PayPal and UnionPay.
Skrill, formerly Moneybookers, is a payment processing site that stands out in the crowd by specializing in online betting and gaming. Their website states, “Trusted by millions to make all kinds of global payments simple, safe and quick. From betting to trading, from shopping to gaming.”Skrill is based in London, but has offices in Stockholm, Vienna and New York.
Stripe is located in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. If you’re looking for a payment gateway specifically created for developers, then Stripe is a great choice. Simple and easy copy and paste coding allow users to integrate attractive and user friendly shopping carts and checkouts that work seamlessly with existing websites. Use API’s like Java, Curl, Python, Ruby, PHP and more. Stripe is available for businesses based in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia,
Square, Inc. is a Utah based company that was the first to turn cell phones and tablets into point of sale registers. The small square has a phone jack that plugs into iOS and Android devices and allows merchants to accept credit and debit card payments. They also have the capabilities to take NFC payments like ApplePay and has issued a new square device that reads cards with chips.
WePay is a payment gateway used by companies like Meetup, Freshbooks, GoFundMe and Constant Contact. The company was created primarily with developers of large scale platforms like crowdfunding businesses. They also help create a seamless and easy to use checkout experience for sites that are more complex than traditional online stores. It was originally created for multiple parties to come together and fund projects and trips, and it now helps startups, marketplaces and crowdfunding platforms run their business.
Wirecard has been a leader in outsourcing and white labeled cashless payment solutions since 1999. Wirecard has its main headquarters located in Munich, Germany. They have over 22,000 customers and works with over 200 international payment networks. They have since expanded into several countries including New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Turkey and South Africa.
WorldNet TPSis based in Dublin, Ireland that produces EMV enabled products and provides Omni-channel payment processing. They are one of the first European companies to develop mobile payment apps that allow credit and debit card payments on smartphones and tablets.
Worldpay one of the leading omni-channel and multi-currency payment processing companies in the world. They work with small businesses and multi-national corporations alike. Their website states they process approximately 31 million transactions on an average day and process around 42% of all UK transactions. They are primarily located in the UK, United States, India and Canada, but also have offices in Mexico, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, the Netherlands, Singapore and Argentina.
Xsolla is a payment processing company used primarily for the video game industry. Their headquarters are located in California, but they also have staff in Russia, Ukraine, Kiev and Seoul. One of their payment system products, appropriately called “PayStation”, allows players to make in-game purchases. Xsolla integrates over 700 payment systems from all over the world, including bitcoin, PayPal and Amazon Payments.