|Make Money, E-commerce and Credit Card Processing Information|
Online Credit Card Processing - How to Accept Credit Cards - Ecommerce 101
Back in 1998 (through 2000 or so), I worked for a small company (called PaymentNet / then Signio) that handled online transactions. Verisign later purchased this company, and the product team I led integrated the "client" - the portion that took the credit card information and sent it to our servers for processing. The product name is Payflow Pro - maybe you've heard of it?
I'm going to limit this discussion to Visa / MasterCard credit cards -- Amex and others operate slightly differently.
First, there is the bank that the consumer's credit card is attached to. That bank is called the "acquiring institution" ... it handles the "credit" you have on your credit card.
Then, there is the merchant bank. That's where the business opens up a "merchant account" to be able to accept various forms of credit cards.
The merchant account is connected to another company called a "processor". This "hidden" layer is the company that actually moves the funds from the acquiring institution to the merchant account (that process is called "settlement"). The processor also handles talking to the acquiring institution to make sure that the customer has the funds available (a process known as authorization).
Some well-known credit card processors are First Data Merchant Services (FDMS), Nova and PaymentTech.
Sitting on top of the processor is one of two primary systems either a swipe-card terminal (like those you see in Wal-Mart) or a "gateway" company that does basically the same thing, but over the Internet - that's what Verisign Payment Services and Authorize.Net do.
Note that the waters are even muddier in many cases, for example, Wells Fargo can act as every piece of the puzzle in some circumstances.
So, what actually happens when you purchase something at Wal-Mart using a credit card?
a) You place your items from your "basket" onto the counter and scan them. the checkout system provides a total.
b) You swipe your card through a "terminal", which reads the # off the magnetic stripe.
c) Wal-Mart dials their processor, and asks if you have the funds available on your credit card. The processor talks to your bank (the acquiring institution). If funds are available on the card, they are marked as "held" in your account (an authorization) - if not, the transaction is declined (yuk). Authorizations that are never settled tie up your credit card funds for a period of time, usually 10 days or so.
d) At the end of the day, Wal-Mart marks all the transactions they want to receive funds for, and submits them to their processor in a "batch". The processor then contacts the acquiring institutions and transfers the funds to your merchant bank - which may make the funds available instantly (in a day or two), or may hold them for a while, or may hold the funds in a "rolling reserve" (keeping some funds held back in case a consumer fights the transaction, called a chargeback).
In the online world, replace the cash-register with an online shopping cart, and the electronic credit-card with terminal with called a "gateway" such as Payflow or Authorize.Net. the process is basically the same, with slightly more complexity.
Be careful going "a-la-carte" with ecommerce credit-card services: if the gateway you chose can't talk to the processor your bank uses, or your software can't talk to the gateway, you're hosed. That situation was MUCH more common (things not working together) back in the mid/late 90's than it is today. However, most "brick and mortar" banks (like your local branch) still don't have a clue about online credit-card processing ? if they attempt to sell you a "leased terminal", it's best to run the other way and find a solution from reputable online source.
As an online merchant looking to accept credit cards, all you really need to know is that all services purchased through a single solution will usually work together seemlessly.
Nick Temple is a former engineer for what is now Verisign Payment Services. He can be reached at his website, http://www.nicktemple.com. He is part-owner of the CommerceStore.com; complete online credit card ecommerce solution.
My site, CommerceStore.com handles the entire "shopping cart" and storefront process, including talking to the gateway. It knows how to talk to every major gateway (online credit card terminal) available. In addition, we have direct relationships with various banks that can help you open a merchant account in the US or in Canada, and the system works with PayPal. There's a whole lot more, including AutoResponders, built-in affiliate system, etc.
How to Boost Conversion Rates, While Lowering Merchant Account Fees!
Using an Address Verification System (AVS) when processing your online credit card transactions can help to reduce the number of fraudulent transactions you receive. However, most online merchants don't know that using AVS can also reduce your number of legitimate orders.
How To Eliminate Credit Card Refunds From Digital Thieves
Can you encounter the number of times where a Credit Card Sale was generated, only to receive a "Refund Notification" from your contracted e-commerce processor on behalf the "customer"?
How to Gain Your Visitors Trust
If you are serious about selling on the world wide web and being successful, your number one priority must be gaining your visitor's trust. Without trust you won't sale much and that's really being optimistic. How do visitors know that they can trust a web site enough to buy? In this article I'll show how to gain the trust of your visitors.
The Internet and Customer Care: Aid or Anarchy?
It was reported in 'Marketing' magazine this month, that Britain is becoming a "disaffected nation", with each adult apparently making an average of 12 complaints to service providers each year, based on a "Service in Britain" survey by ASR (Andrew Smith Research). In response to the rise of the 'assertive consumer', brands are endeavouring to make sure 'good customer service' is a recognisable characteristic in the form of testimonials, efficient call centre responses and empowering staff throughout the company to resolve problems. Most complaints were about power, utility or postal services at 42%, followed by supermarkets, telephone providers, TV or ISP providers and banks. Insurance companies were also in the top 10 with 21% of the articulate disaffected nation.
Is Your Business Afraid of the Internet?
My Business is Afraid of the Internet
Old Habits Die Hard in the Third Age Years
I spent a lifetime in retailing and I'm still at it in retirement; albeit virtually.
The Five Steps of E-Commerce
You set up a retail business, you advertise in your local newspaper, you get customers coming into your store, and you receive payment at the cash register. Create an online store, and...how do you get customers? How do you receive payment?
Overcoming Frustration with Technology
For whatever reason, when we get a new boost in productivity, whether that be from a tool, technology or technique...we quickly forget how much more efficient it's made us. It's human nature. It's like the commuter who gets angry about how bad traffic is, but forgets what a pain it was to wait for the bus. Or the cell phone user who complains about a bad connection, and forgets about the days when he had to fish for spare change to make a call from a pay phone.
Google to Compete with PayPal?
PayPal is secure in its domination over the electronic payment industry, at least for now.
Shopping Carts and the E-Aisles
Have you ever gone to the store and thought you only needed a few things so you didn't grab a cart? The next thing you know your hands are full and groceries are crashing everywhere making a big mess. If only you had gotten a cart. Shopping carts are not necessary on your website as long as you do not mind doing a little extra work (just like carrying all those groceries) and processing each order individually. If you choose to forego having a shopping cart on your site, it is important to remember you will have to calculate all the taxes and fees yourself. This delay will ultimately kill your sales.
Intranet Project Names - Some Ideas
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet."
Grow Your Business Using B2B Emarketplace ? Part II
Selecting the right emarketplace
Shop: Is Shopping Online Secure?
Is shopping online becoming popular and safe enough for you and I to do the vast majority of our shopping on the Internet?
Short Story: The Benefits of Shopping Online
Maria's new lifestyle: Short story about the benefits shopping on the Net has given to a dedicated artist.
The Ecommerce Business Plan
Simply put, business plans can make or break your business. Starting a Drop Ship business online is no different from starting a traditional non-online business. With the strong emphasis individuals place on writing business plans for starting up non-internet-based companies, it is equally crucial to prepare a business plan for your online business.
Make That 3 Billion
My previous article I wrote called "One Point Two Billion" attracted quite some attention, the downloads through all the article syndication services has been astronomical compared to any other articles I wrote which are still with them. It seems the numbers game is popular not only with the accountancy profession, but with just about anyone running a website who is interested in more sales from anywhere in the world. The internet has proved to be the great leveller, even a grandmother I know has made hundreds of thousands of dollars just from publishing a couple of e-books, business of that magnitude is not now confined to those people with large sums of investment capital, teams of accountants, planners, secretaries, swanky offices etc. Anyone, even you, can make money regularly on the internet, just aim for a goal and 'go for it!' The costs of setting up have never been lower, the ease of making web pages has never been easier, ( I make my web pages in Notepad, which is on every Windows computer), and the potential audience for your web pages has never been larger. So what are you waiting for? The sheer mountain of information available through e-books on any subject and especially on setting up a business on the internet would take you a lifetime to read through, so just be selective and read only what you need to know about and get started in that business. Businesspeople who have 'been there-done that', have written up an enormous amount of e-books to pass on their knowledge and experience, pitfalls to avoid, how to spend your advertising dollars, and just about everything else you need to know about to ensure success. So profit from their experience, avoid the pitfalls, do what they say you should do, and you should be in a profitable business in no time, just the way they did it. No large sums of investment are needed, just time and dedication. If you provide an excellent service that benefits all your clients, they will recommend you to their friends,if on the other hand you want to be a 'scammer' and a 'fly by night' operator determined to 'rip-off' as many people as possible, you will come to grief. You will find your web hosting account rapidly terminated, your e-mail account likewise, and your name plastered all over the forums and newsgroups. You get out of life exactly what you put in. There are still mysteries about life we still don't understand and this is the reason we come to grief, but on the other hand, if you work for the benefit of others, this 'mystery of life', for want of a better name,cuts in and helps us along, we go with the flow and good things start to happen. I could tell you of many experiences I have had, both good and bad, which I have learnt a great deal from, but space precludes that, maybe one day. All right, you win, I will tell you of one particular incident more recently and then move on with this article. I carried a St.Christopher medallion on a gold chain in my wallet for six years, given to me by the wife of a good friend overseas, 'it will keep you safe' she said. I received a new wallet for a Christmas present and changed everything in the old wallet into the new one, except the St. Christopher medallion, it was looking a bit 'worse for wear' and I decided to put it in the cupboard. That day I lost my mobile phone! For two whole days I felt a loss which can only be described as a 'bereavement'. I had lost touch with the network I was attached to night and day, seven days a week, I felt bereft. I did not know if someone was trying to ring me, whether something was urgent I had to know about, my sense of loss was total. Was this to do with the St. Christopher medallion? I thought surely not. That was on the Tuesday, by Thursday morning I had decided to put that 'good luck' St. Christopher medallion into my new wallet. My mobile phone turned up via a 'good samaritan' who would take no money as a reward whatsoever.I was never more pleased to see my mobile phone. So what happened here?Was it something to do with the St. Christopher medallion? Was it because I had 'bad thoughts' that it was the 'worse for wear'so discard it as inconsequential? I don't know the answer. There have been too many such incidents in my life it would take volumes to relate the details. We don't know these 'mysteries of life' but one thing is important -keep a positive outlook to everything and everyone and good things will happen for you. It's difficult to visualize how many people that are out there who can log on to your website. It's also difficult to understand what kinds of people they are, what background and education they have had. Why they are logging on to your new site. What do they expect to see, or learn, or buy? How will they benefit from visiting your site?. Will they buy a good product, or learn something, or get some amusement or entertainment from it?.
Conducting Business through B2B E-marketplaces
Businesses, which are still sitting on sidelines and not doing business on the Internet, should think seriously about their position! If you are one of them, chances are there, that you have to pay dearly for your indecision as you might lose significant market share to your more proactive competitors in a very short period of time.
How Measuring Key Performance Indicators Can Improve E-Commerce Strategy - Part One
The problem with most e-commerce marketing strategy today is that companies don't understand how they use things like web analytics. Most e-commerce directors or web marketers are given a budget and told to stick to it, and good analytics don't usually come cheap. Without web analytics you can't even begin to measure key performance indicators (KPI's), which should be a part of any good e-commerce strategy. We often see that marketers face a problem in that they know they need Web Analytics, they just don't know why they should pay for it and don't know what to measure. This three part series of articles will hopefully help clear up some of the things that marketers should measure as key performance indicators concentrating on one KPI per article.
Helping Your Visitors: a State of Mind
What does "helping your visitors" mean exactly?
Succeed With Your Own Home Based Business
An internet business is by far the best way to support yourself if you just cannot stand working for others for less money than you need to survive. It's also the best way to get out of a good paying job that just takes up too much of your precious short life working for someone else. Let's face it, you probably know someone who has an internet business. Do they look happy to you? Do they complain as much about work and money as you do? Probably not.
|home | site map|