So you have finally finished your e-commerce web site, hired the best web publisher, added all the bells and whistles, outstanding graphics, and great merchandise. Now, how does your prospective customer pay you for your products? Clearly, it is necessary for your site to accept, and process credit card payments, in real time. Failure to do so, would result in a failing enterprise.
Before you can begin the application process, there are several standards that all credit card processors have set. Follow this checklist and you will save yourself a significant amount of time, and aggravation.
1) The checkout, and transaction pages must be secure. This protects the customer from credit card, or identity fraud, which has become epidemic. You achieve this security by installing a secure socket layer certificate, or SSL. SSL encrypts information being entered on your site as it is sent across the Internet, so hackers are unable to steal the transmitted information. This Certificate has become very common, and any web host would be able to assist you.
2) A robust Shopping Cart software that utilizes the highest degree of security, and is compatible with the credit card processor. This program must be able to receive, and process orders. Collect personal data, and securely transmit the credit card data from software to the credit card processor. Most importantly, the software should provide the building blocks for a complete, successful customer experience.
3) Your server must have a firewall, especially if you plan on storing the credit card information on your server. Basically, a firewall is a combination of software, and hardware, that inspects incoming data, and filters unwanted, or potentially destructive packets of information. This firewall will not allow hackers to enter your server, and steal sensitive information.
When all these conditions have been met, you are ready to contact your bank to open a credit card merchants account. Once your account is opened, your bank will suggest a credit card Gateway. A credit card Gateway receives the customers credit card information from your web site, approves or declines the charge, and ultimately transmits money to your bank.
Although the process appears to be very complicated, it is quite straightforward when you know what you are doing. Plan ahead, avoid frustration, and provide your customers with an easy, secure experience that will make them come back for more.
Ted Roxan is a contributing editor of Internet Credit Card Processing Resource
For more details on Internet merchant accounts and Credit Card processors go to: http://myinternet-credit-card-processing.com/