ACCEPTING CREDIT CARDS - OVERVIEW
Processing credit card payments on your web site
is a critical requirement for most e-commerce sites.
Its use is so widespread that it's easy to assume that
the whole process is very straightforward. Actually,
this is not exactly the case.
In order to be able to
process credit card transactions, your site will need
to interact with several separate entities.
Generally, accepting credit card payments
on your web site requires the following:
Here's a detailed step-by-step look at how a typical
Typical Credit Card Transaction
- Opening a Merchant Account
at a bank.
- Establishing a link with a
Processor companies provide a link between your web site,
a credit card network (e.g. Visa, Mastercard, American Express)
and your bank.
- Setting Up Your Web Site
to communicate with your Processor. This requires configuring your web site
for secure communication with your visitors - that is to say,
a way for your web site to work via SSL
(note that your site secure URL's will start with "https://" and
and establishing a secure link to the processor company.
If your site has a relatively low volume of transactions
and you are willing to to pay higher fees
there are some providers that can do most of the mentioned tasks for you.
The most popular options here are described in these two
Payments via Third Party Processors
Payments via PayPal.
While we would like to stress that these organizations provide
convenience at a price (read the articles for details), working
through them is often the best choice for beginners.