The recipe for smooth internet credit card processing
Generally speaking, it’s easy for a small business to set up internet credit card processing and start accepting payments. But that’s akin to saying it’s easy to bake a cake. How elaborate will that cake be? How many layers? What flavors and frostings? How many are you serving? And how smooth will the process be from choosing the ingredients to turning those ingredients into a finished, decorated work of culinary art?
It all depends on the recipe, of course.
So how can you smoothly get from start-to-finish, up-and-running, with your online payment processing? We’ve got a recipe to follow that will help you as a business owner create a delightful online buying experience for yourself––and your customers.
List of Ingredients:
1) Business Plan
Start here, and then get all your other ingredients into the mix. Take the time to figure out what you want your business to be today and where you want to take it in three months, next year, and five years out.
If you want to start small and stay small, consider a preconfigured eCommerce platform that is designed to help you start accepting online payments quickly. Look for one that offers built-in apps, an easy payment gateway to the processor of your choice, and a fast and easy application process. This is your single-layer, basic chocolate cake recipe––but a good recipe that will make your website visitors happy and make your eCommerce business life easy.
If you want a three-layered cake with fancier frosting, so to speak, you’ll need a larger, more versatile payments processing expert. In other words, you will want to hire a baker that has all the best ingredients and the know-how to bake your unique cake, especially if you plan on serving lots of customers.
2) Designated Merchant Account
Smaller businesses might opt for an eCommerce solution from a payments aggregator or facilitator (also known as a PayFac) which makes it possible to accept credit cards without establishing an individual merchant account. This is an easy way to begin processing credit cards. The downside of working with a PayFac is that payment processing options are limited and fees are non-negotiable.
A business that has more complex needs–such as operating several locations or selling across many channels–would be better off opting for a “designated” merchant account. This type of account allows for an individualized approach, versatile payment options, negotiable fees, and customer support. It may also allow for greater access to your processor of choice. Seek out a merchant account that offers a package of payment services to make your business operations smooth as, well, butter.
3) Multi-layered Security
Think of this as the baking soda in a cake–without it, your end product is likely to fall flat. It’s the secret ingredient everyone wants. And, in fact, the most advanced security solutions are doing their work behind the scenes without anyone noticing. Look for words such as credit card “encryption” which protects sensitive cardholder data in transit during a transaction, and “tokenization” which protects data “at rest,” commonly used to secure recurring billing transactions for subscription services. Also find out about “chargeback protection,” which helps detect suspicious product returns, some of which may be fraudulent. Also, make sure there are mechanisms in place to protect against fraud when authorizing online credit card payments, such as the using CVV verification and Address Verification Service (AVS) to verify the identity of the cardholder. The more security layers, the better.
4) Payment Options
The ability to accept credit cards is a must for any business and there are lots of options. In fact, the more options you give your customers, the more likely they are to make a purchase. When choosing which payment types to accept online, first consider the major card brands such as MasterCard, Visa and Discover. Do you also want to accept American Express? Then, consider alternative payment types such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Also, think about if you want to sell to customers in other countries. Global online payments have their own set of requirements. Your answers to questions like these will help you determine which payment options you want to offer customers, and which providers can assist. Just keep in mind, when you add flavor options into your recipe, your customers will be even more delighted with the experience.
How big can this cake get? With larger, more flexible payment processors, you’ll be able to scale up your payments solution as your business grows. Maybe you want to start by just accepting a few payment types and add ApplePay later. Maybe you want to experiment with selling to customers in other countries–but in a year or two. A comprehensive payment processor such as Vantiv can support a business from the beginning as a small startup all the way to becoming a large, thriving business.
6) Integrating payments
Businesses are complex, with lots of pieces and parts coming together in different ways depending on the industry and other factors. Daily operations need to be seamless, or the whole thing can fall apart. Some payment processors help merchants integrate online payments with other business operations including accounting, inventory tracking, digital gift card offerings, marketing, customer analytics, sales figures and much more. The more a payment processor can help simplify your operations, the more smoothly you’ll be able to run your business. And, in the end, like a beautiful layered cake, the more likely your profits will rise beautifully.