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Handling Credit Card Payments On Your Website

So your slick new website is up, running, loaded with products and raring to go. But have you forgotten one vital element? Is your site ready to handle online credit card payments?


How To Accept Online Credit Card Payments

To be able to process the online credit card payments made to your website, you will need to work with an approved Payment Service Provider (PSP). A PSP is the go-between for ecommerce sites and the credit card networks, so that when customers check-out their shopping cart and enter payment information, the payments can be authorised and collected for you. The money is then transferred into your Merchant Account for later payment into your specified bank account.

The Role Of A PSP

PSPs do more than just handle online credit card payments. They are able to accept payments electronically from a range of payment methods including bank transfers, debit cards and even vouchers. Alongside this service, they provide guarantees against risks associated with the payment transfers.


Choosing A PSP

When choosing a PSP to handle your online credit card payments, here are the top things you need to consider:

1. Compatibility
If you use any third-party software on your ecommerce site you will need to check the PSP’s own system is compatible with it, to ensure a smooth payment process.

2. Merchant Location
Many payment partners are only available to businesses with a merchant account in a particular country. You can narrow the field of potential PSPs considerably by cutting out any whose requirements you don’t meet.

3. Currency
What currencies are you expecting to handle? Will you accept payment in a variety of currencies or require customers to carry out the conversion themselves before payment? Most PSPs support a handful of currencies while others have a more global reach.

4. Costs
Different PSPs structure their fees in different ways, which can make it difficult to compare costs. Some charge a percentage of the value of the transactions, others have tiered fees, and some charge a monthly setup fee. Most operate a system combining all three pricing structures. You may receive a reduced rate when the overall transaction value for the month exceeds a stated amount.

5. Volumes
Consider how many transactions you will need the PSP to process each month. As mentioned above, many offer a sliding scale of fees that reduce as volume increases. In order to calculate the best deal, you will need a clear idea of the number of transactions and their average value that will be processed each month.

6. Redirect Or Keep On Site
Most payment systems that keep your customers on your site during the payment processing stage will charge a set-up fee. Cheaper services will transfer customers to their own website before taking payment. You will need to choose between the seamless customer experience offered by onsite processing, and the cheaper transaction fees offered by offsite processors.

7. Payment Methods
Identify which payment methods your target market like to use, then check your potential PSP can handle them. Not all PSPs process all methods.

8. Recurring Payments
If you are offering a subscription based product or service, check your PSP can handle recurring payments. This will make membership renewal effortless for your customers, and boost your retention rate.

By considering each of these factors in turn you should be able to identify a PSP well matched to your business needs. When you begin contract negotiations be sure to ask about how long you will be tied into the PSP. A relationship may look good on paper, but how it works in real-life is a different matter so you need to build in opportunities to review how the relationship is working for you both.

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