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.