Best Payment Processors to Use to Accept Payment on My Website

One key business solution merchant website owners always look for is a dependable payment processor to accept payments for online transactions. To the uninformed, however, payment processing is a perplexing subject. There are many complex issues to start with, specifically with regard to the basics of payment processing, payment gateway configuration, and some aspects of third-party payment processors. Before we get down to the best payment processors, here are some essentials about payment processing itself.

About Payment Gateways

A payment gateway is a third-party company, like a bank, which connects your e-commerce software to your merchant account. This real-time facility allows you to accept credit cards, debit cards, and other forms of online payment. Though not essential, a payment gateway has many benefits, such as:

• You will have a feature that will provide your customers real-time feedback on their payment status, most importantly if the payment card is not accepted for any reason.

• You ride on speed and efficiency. If your business conducts large transactions, then you benefit by speed, efficiency, and significantly lower processing fees.

• You start straightaway. No waiting time is required to start your business. A payment gateway starts accepting debit or credit cards immediately. To summarize, payment gateways accepts information, encrypts it, and transmits it over the web.

Setting Up Gateway Configuration

Setting up your payment gateway essentially consists of two steps.

• The first step involves your merchant account and your gateway provider. You need to provide access to the gateway provider by making available all needed information.

• In the second step, the payment gateway will configure with the payment processor. All that a payment processor will ask you is to log in, proceed to configuration and payment methods, and then select the payment gateway. You may ask whether you can configure different checkout choices. Yes, you can. You can either authorize funds or ask the customer to make real-time payment during actual checkout. Your decision will depend upon your business model. Real-time payment requires that you ship the merchandize within a specified period. In the event you are unable to do so, choosing the other alternative is a better option. The choice of “Authorize Funds” allows you to put a temporary hold on the customers’ funds till you ship your product.

Understanding Third-Party Processors

Simply put, a third-party processor is a vendor who charges your customers’ credit cards on your behalf and then transfers the money electronically to your account. Many online merchants prefer to have both the third-party processor and the payment gateway. This way, you can ensure that your prospective buyer has his or her preferred payment method and is not turned away. Now that you have the basics, we can focus on what features the best payment processors have.

A good payment processor

• Provides merchant account services efficiently. Good customer support is essential. Availability of 24×7 help provides a lot of reassurance that there is someone to troubleshoot your problems.

• Has an effective antifraud solution in place. You hear a lot about credit card frauds going on these days. Credit cards are stolen, lost, or misused by false information. The best payment processors verify billing and shipping addresses with those provided by MasterCard/Visa. In addition, card security codes are put in place to verify that the buyer actually owns the card. • Provides you with accurate financial information.

• Has a recurring billing feature. This simply means automatically collecting payment installments after a fixed duration.

• Have reasonable rates and fees. However, you must remember that each payment processor may have different sets of rates. For example, they may have an assortment of rates, such as discount rates, chargebacks, or transaction rates, in addition to application fees, ongoing fees, and settlement fees. Choosing the best payment processor will entail evaluating all financial aspects of the charges and fees.

• Is dependable in all respects. Any weak link in the payment processing system means loss of customer confidence, and this translates into loss of business. There are many dependable and well-known payment processors out there. All you need to do is evaluate the benefits and disadvantages each processer has.

Some of the well-known names in the business are Google Checkout, PayPal, MiraPay, and Authorize.net, to name a few. They have survived the competition and are thriving because they have built customer trust by providing a dependable, secure, and fast payment environment.

Ten Steps for Finding the Right Adult Site Payment Processor

The scenario seems simple enough. You have an adult site. You want to get a decent amount of money out of it. You need a payment processor. You go online and search for the words: payment processor. Presto! You’re done.

Wrong. It’s not that easy. How exactly do you go through more than a million results to find that one payment processor that could get things running smoothly? Here are ten steps to make your life a little bit easier:

1. Assess you needs as an adult site operator. First things first. Answer this question: What exactly do I need from a payment processor? In assessing your needs as an adult website owner, try to look into other things such as the amount you process in a year and what percentage of that amount comprises of chargebacks. If it’s a high number, you might want to look into payment processing services that offer additional security and fraud scrubbing measures.

2. Set realistic expectations. Adult sites are considered “high risk” — this translates into bigger fees and usually slower approval times. Meaning be prepared to dish out the cash for service in this specialized field. Make a criteria for your payment processor selection. Are you looking for a payment processor for adult sites that charges low fees versus one that can provide you with a more personalized service? How often do you expect to get your payouts? There are a million questions you could ask, but you are the only one who could really determine what you need.

3. Try to find a payment processor for your specific industry. While it is generally not a bad idea to look for a wide range of general e-commerce payment processors, you will eventually find out that this route is very very time consuming. Always remember that adult sites are a red flag to payment processors – meaning, even if you get a million search results for payment processor, not all of them will be willing to serve adult site operators. When starting your search, try to look for payment processors using keywords like “adult payment processor” or “adult site merchant account” This narrows down the results to payment processors more suitable to the adult industry sites.

4. Go shopping. When you think you’ve found that one payment processor that seems perfect for your adult site, don’t stop. Even if it takes days…or weeks..more, continue searching for more payment processors. It’s hard. It’s tiring. But it will be worth it in the end.

5. Narrow down your list to the top ten adult site payment processors. The criteria that you made when you were still setting your expectations (Step 2) are a valuable tool at this point. Cross check your candidate payment processors against that list and try to cut it down to ten finalists.

6. Tables are great comparative analysis tools. Now that your list is down to ten payment processors, place them all in a table and make a detailed comparison of how one processor holds up to the others. Try to see what advantages one has over the other or what one payment processor lacks over your other chosen candidates.

7. Get to know the company. This is where a bit of the dirty work comes in. While a search for adult site payment processor will yield thousands of results, shaving down the list to the truly reliable ones can be quite difficult. A good first step to this elimination process is reading up on the company. Find out how the company started out and how long it’s been around. Knowing the proprietor’s background can also be a big help. For instance, try to find out if anyone in the company has previous experience in banking and finance or with online merchant accounts or even in the adult industry itself. This is a good way to know if the company really understands the nature of the business and how to deal with its clients.

8. Test their promise. A lot of adult payment processors will promise you the sun and the stars, but how do you know who’s telling the truth and who is just pulling your leg? The second test for a suitable adult site payment processor is their turn around time for email queries. Try sending in an inquiry with even the simplest question. Find out if the company knows its stuff and if it can answer you in a short amount of time.

9. Contact your chosen payment processor. After an exhaustive evaluation, you should now be ready to choose which payment processor is right for your adult site. Call, email or send in an inquiry to the payment processor to signify your intent of utilizing their services. Be prepared to provide all the necessary information which may include your company’s incorporation details, contact information, monthly sales volume, average number of sales transactions per month, monthly chargeback volume ratio or any other information the payment processor may require.

10. Read your contract thoroughly. Its time to set your mark, but one final piece of advice before you do: Read EVERYTHING thoroughly. Know exactly how much you are paying and what you are paying for. If you have any questions about anything at all, go ahead and ask them.

The world of payment processing for adult sites is vast and unpredictable. With the number of service providers out there, it may get confusing and frustrating. Try looking for a merchant account provider that can help you meet these easy-to-follow steps. You can also try your luck with the many other available online payment processing services out there. Use these steps as guidelines to finding that one payment processing company that you can start a great business relationship with.

Small Business: What Payment Processors, Shopping Carts?

What type of shopping cart / payment processor a business should implement? The answer is not quite so simple and in this article, and I’ve outlines the processes and technologies that go together to deliver a payment and affiliate solution and offer some choices.

Payment Processors

A payment processor is ‘the thing’ that sits between your website (typically a shopping cart) and your banks internet gateway into your account. It’s the bit that does the ‘heavy lifiting’ for credit card processing.

Payment processors include, but aren’t limited to: Authorize.net, 2CO, Securepay, EWay and PayPal.

PayPal does fall into this group, although it works a bit differently to the others.

Most of these processors offer an interface that we can code directly to and hook websites up to. This will eliminate the need for a shopping cart but, in my opinion, you are seriously better off considering a shopping cart to make your life easier.

Shopping Carts

This is the piece of software that controls your products, how much you charge for them, the description of the products, any sales discounts, postage / freight, coupon codes etc.

There are lots of shopping carts around, some are good, some are mediocre and others are just awful to use. Not all shopping carts support all payment processors nor do they interface with all software that will run on your site. Point in case, the integration with Wishlist Member between Shopping Carts can be limited.

Typically, there are two styles of shopping cart – hosted and self hosted.

1 Shopping Cart is a hosted shopping cart – someone else hosts the software, does all the system admin etc. You get an account on it and list your products.

Self hosted solutions include OS-ECommerce, Zen Cart, WP-E-Shop and WP-E-Commerce.

The beauty of having a shopping cart is that you can generally have a combination of payment processors and offer more choice to your customers and it is much, much easier managing a catalogue of products rather than individual payment buttons for products.

PayPal Only

Many small online business owners start off this way – create a PayPal account, generate the payment button, paste it into the website and away they go. It’s a good way to start if you have a small number of products, however trying to manage multiple products this way can be time consuming, confusing and problematic.

PayPal will do recurring and one off payments – the money is placed into your PayPal account and you can transfer it to your bank account.

What should you choose?

I think the question is – what do you need / want and what can you support yourself?

Hosted shopping cart solutions will generally cost you a monthly fee – there is a cost to maintaining the service. For that monthly fee, most of the headaches disappear. The downside – a prime part of your business is in someone elses hands – be very, very certain that your dealing with someone reputable.

Self Hosted shopping cart solutions will have a higher start up cost – you have to install and customize the solution however, ongoing costs are typcially much, much lower. Most of the solutions I’ve seen just seem to run once they’re installed and may, or may not, require software updates or upgrades. I strongly suggest you have a techie type on your team that you can call on when issues arise.