We understand that Internet payment processing can be difficult to grasp, especially for start-up businesses. Keeping that in mind, we have put together a guide below to help give you a better understanding.

So, continue reading to find out everything you need to know…

There is only one place to begin when it comes to secure payment processing and this is by establishing why you should bother with online payments in the first place.

To be frank, consumers expect online payments nowadays, and this is a trend that is only going to grow and grow. If you do not present this option you are going to fall behind your competition by a substantial amount. 

In addition to this, by offering an online payment option you will have the ability to appeal to a greater number of potential customers, consequently enhancing your profit levels.

You are essentially making your products more reachable to different consumers. You can speed up the process as well, as manual payments can take a long time to clear, whereas online payments are processed at a rapid pace.  

For individuals and businesses that are new to the world of online payment processing, it can often be a bit confusing and one of the reasons why this is the case is because of the terminology used.

Let’s clear this up with some of the basics.

You will have probably heard of the term ‘online merchant account’. You need a merchant account if you are to accept payments online. This account is where the customer’s funds will go once they have made a purchase. It is basically a special type of bank account that allows you to receive money from debit and credit card transactions.

Other common terms include ‘payment gateway’ and ‘payment processor’. Let’s begin with the former. This is a service that directs an online payment request from your site to the payment processor.

The payment processor then validates the debit or credit card details of the purchaser. It makes sure they can cover the payment by checking that they have enough funds in their account. They will then authorise the payment if sufficient funds are available.

Now, instead of seeking a payment gateway from one company, an online merchant account from another and a payment processor from another business, what is advisable is to seek a payment process provider. 

This is a company that provides a bespoke solution to cover the entire payment process, ranging from acquiring your merchant account to offering an identity verification service to providing secure payment gateways. This makes life much easier for you!

Now you know a little bit more about the dynamics of payment processing and what is legally required of you if you wish to take online payments. So, let’s take a look at some of the services you will want to benefit from in order to really maximise your ecommerce presence.

Let’s start with payment methods.

Payment Methods

When it comes to online payment processing you will want to present your consumers with various payment options. This includes all of the major credit and debit cards, as well as alternative payment solutions, with PayPal being a prime example.

Taking advantage of multi-currency payment solutions is also advised for growing businesses and established firms. Perhaps you want to take advantage of recurring payments as well, such as subscriptions. Diverse payment options ensure customers are not isolated.

After all, not everyone has a Visa card!

Aside from maximising the benefits of your online merchant account with various payment methods, one important factor that cannot be ignored is security. Secure payment is of paramount importance. The process needs to be fully PCI DSS compliant.

This is pivotal.

What does it mean for you? In essence, it assures you that they meet the twelve security requirements that are put in place by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.

Overall this assures you that they generate and maintain a secure network, that they take steps to protect data of all cardholders, that a vulnerability management program is built and maintain, that strong access control measures are implemented, that they maintain a security policy and that they monitor and test their systems and process on a frequent basis.

Another area of Internet payment processing worth thinking about is mobile optimisation. In fact, this is where a lot of companies are missing out at present, as they are overlooking the importance of having an effective mobile commerce solution.  

Now is the time to adapt your ecommerce offering to make sure it suits the growth of mobile Internet. Mobile Internet is only set to get more and more popular and thus if you want to maximise revenue m-commerce is a must.

Maximum transaction fulfilment is only going to be achieved if your online shopping options and payment options are geared to use on both desktop screens and mobile screens.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking simply shrinking the screen is going to be enough.

What about back office services? It is extremely advantageous to benefit from a service that takes your transactions from the start to finish.

Don’t overlook the importance of gathering statistics, preparing accounts, bookkeeping and such like. In order to maintain precise reporting figures, you need a stream of internalised workflows.

How can you expect to move forward and expand if you do not have effective accounts and reconciliation systems in place?

From quarantining dubious transactions, to running summary reports, to searching transactions… you need to be provided with the ability to do all of this! Intelligence on your customers allows you to target them better and it ensures you are constantly improving and generating the maximum returns from your ecommerce presence.

After all, you cannot remain stagnant when it comes to the online world, or you will only be left behind.

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of how payment processing works, the fundamentals of what you need and the services you should consider making the most of if you truly want to excel.