Want to take credit card payments online?
Today’s consumers can be hard to pin down. Their online, on-the-go habits are fueled by a never-ending stream of information and sales-pitches. When it comes to shopping, consumers know they are in the driver’s seat. If you are not selling everywhere they are buying, you’re out of luck.
That’s why smart businesses are prepared to take credit card payments online. At a time when smartphones are ubiquitous and the percentage of all U.S. sales from the internet is increasing at a steady clip, online payment processing services are pretty much a given for any business to compete. With an eCommerce site, a business has one more way to increase customer engagement and selling opportunities. And more loyal customers buying more frequently translates into greater revenue.
For those who are new to the world of online payments, or would just like a bit more insight, you’re in the right place. Let’s explore what’s involved and how to set yourself up for online sales success now and as your business grows in the future.
Considerations to start accepting online payments
Before we get into the nitty gritty of online payments, first things first. Do you have a website? If you do, you’ll need to integrate a shopping cart solution into your site. This may involve a payment gateway service, which connects your site to a payment processing provider. If you do not have a website yet, you will need to find a provider that can help you build one out for you. There are many options available, from turn-key solutions to fully integrated options.
While you are working out the details of setting up your website’s capability to accept payments, you should also decide what payment types you would like to accept. For example, it’s standard practice these days to accept Visa, MasterCard, and Discover, and some processors offer easy access to American Express card acceptance as well. Be sure not to dismiss payment types like eCheck and ACH, which can be convenient for both merchants and their customers. Additionally, accepting mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay offer customers the convenience and security they have come to expect in payments.
Another consideration is whether you will be accepting payments in other currencies. Cross-border online sales can be lucrative for many types of businesses, but there are some things to think about first. The most basic is how you want to settle the sales: do you want prices to reflect the foreign currency but settle in U.S. dollar, or do you want to present and settle in the foreign currency? The former is the simplest option for smaller businesses just venturing into global online payments, while the latter may be better suited to larger businesses that are also establishing a physical presence in other countries. There are other factors involved in global online payments, so it’s best to consult with a trusted provider before making any decisions.
- Do you have a website?
- What payment types do you want to accept?
- Do you want to sell internationally?
Payment security should be as much of a priority for online sales as it is for brick and mortar sales. While EMV chip card technology, which is becoming more commonplace since the fraud chargeback liability shift in October 2015, is designed to reduce the occurrence of card-present fraud, it does little to protect against fraud in card not present transactions such as those made online.
Fortunately, there are many solutions available to help merchants mitigate online payment fraud. For example, using address verification service (AVS) and card security code filters such as CVV, CVC, and CID, can help identify and screen out fraudulent cards. Use of device and IP address and geolocation services such as the one offered by MasterCard help confirm the identity of the purchaser as the legitimate cardholder, and are paramount to reducing fraud.
Additionally, tokenization is an extremely effective tool for reducing risk of data theft in a payments environment. Through tokenization, actual card numbers are replaced with a “token” that is used throughout all payments-related transactions, from one-time use to recurring purchases.
Finally, as with any card acceptance activity, merchants must keep PCI compliance in mind regarding online payments. PCI compliance for online card payments does not differ that much from card-present payments, only the shopping cart software and the online payment portal must also meet security requirements. Additionally, using things like a firewall, antivirus software, SSL certificates, and two-factor authentication are necessary to comply with PCI mandates.
Tapping into a processing partner to help
While all this information about online payments may seem like a lot to take in, much less act upon, there is some consolation—you don’t have to do it all on your own. By partnering with an expert and reputable payments provider, you gain access to the solutions, tools, and guidance you need to take your business online and reach an even greater customer market. Look for a provider that offers smart ideas, fast technology, and easy business building tools you can use to make the most of accepting credit card payments online. Armed with everything you need to take online payments today, you’ll see how mighty your business really can be.