Taking Money Online
What does it take to accept credit card payments on your website??
There are several methods for taking money online. In order to take payments directly on your website you will need a merchant account, a payment gateway provider, and a secure webpage with the appropriate fields for taking payment information. Most payment gateway providers offer several options spanning multiple technologies and cover a wide range of possibilities. Some of those options can include hosted order pages (these are hosted by the payment gateway provider and involve your website redirecting the user to the payment gateway provider’s website) or payment gateway API’s (Application Programming Interface can be used to take payments directly on your website without redirecting the user). Other solutions involve third parties handling the transaction for you like PayPal, Google checkout or Amazon. The payment page utilizes the payment gateway to verify the credit card information and then transfers the money to your merchant account.
What is a payment landing page?
A payment page should be a secure web form which has fields to collect credit card payment information. These pages can be written using several programming languages so you need to make sure that your payment gateway API supports whatever programming language your payment landing page was written in. Depending on which API you choose it’s possible to utilize payment landing pages which are hosted by your payment gateway (Hosted Order Page); however, this option is far less customizable and forces your customers to leave your domain and go to the hosted page. After the order is completed they should get redirected back to your site and finish the order process.
What is a merchant account?
Merchant accounts are bank accounts which can accept payments from a payment gateway so that you can take payment for products or services over the internet via your website’s payment landing page.
What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway acts like the middle man between your website’s payment landing page and your merchant account. The gateway authorizes payments, validates credit cards, looks out for fraud, performs PCI compliance and provides an interface for you to view your payment transactions. Payment gateway providers typically charge a fee per transaction and some of them charge a monthly fee. See below for fee chart.