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Online Payment Systems
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Online Payment Systems

Online credit card payment processing is essential to the success of a commercial website. With online credit card payment processing, transactions can occur 24 hours a day at the convenience of the customer. To accept credit cards payments automatically from your web site, a merchant account and payment gateway or similar payment processing service is required.

Types Of Credit Card Processing Services
The oldest credit card processing method is where the merchant bank is a separate business entity from the payment gateway service. Merchant accounts typically require a minimum credit rating. Payment gateways do not typically require a credit check. In recent years, numerous credit card processing companies have emerged with all-in-one solutions. Some of them are actually all-in-one solutions and some are simply cooperative ventures between merchant banks and payment gateway services.

Merchant Account & Payment Gateway - Cost Effective and Reliable
Many large banks and financial institutions offer merchant accounts. They may or may not charge an applicaton fee, depending on what type of account you have with their bank and sometimes merchant banks run no application fee promotions. The discount rates (fee based upon a percentage of each sale) and transactions fees are typically based on the volume of transactions and the amount per transaction. Deposits from daily transactions can be made directly to your checking account electronically. It typically takes a few days for the funds to transfer after the payment gateway has captured the funds. Merchant banks and financial institutions are required to follow strict Mastercard/Visa regulations. Merchant account providers have historically served as banks and have left the actual processing of payments to payment gateway services such as Authorize.Net. Nowadays, there is a trend towards merchant account providers teaming up with payment gateway services and offering complete merchant account and payment processing packages.

Authorize.Net Payment Processing Gateway Service
More about Authorize.Net payment gateway services.

PayPal Payment Services
PayPal is an all-in-one payment service. They are not a bank or a merchant institution. PayPal seems to be a type of a holding company, which has managed to get around many of the traditional banking system rules and regulations. The standard PayPal IPN system can be used to send and receive payments. It can be used to receive payments through an automated online shopping cart. A credit check is not required in order to use the standard IPN method with the shopping cart, however a bank account must be confirmed and a credit card must be on file in order to lift limitations on the account. PayPal accounts can be upgraded to use more sophisticated payment processing methods by submitting a credit application. There are additional fees for PayPal Pro services and the server must support their software, which must be installed before the shopping cart can integrate with Web Payments Pro and Express Checkout.

Other Types of Payment Services
Along with the evolution of Internet marketing and online merchants, new types of payment processing services have emerged. They may or may not be backed by banks and may not be regulated in the same way as traditional U.S. merchant institutions. Some are geared towards easy qualification and fast setup. Of course, along with this convenience may come a much higher cost and a greater potential for service issues. The best and most established merchant banks operate within a much larger organization and they do not want to deal with collections. Beware of companies who offer credit to anyone. They seem to come and go and they don't typically provide very good customer service.

Manual Payment Systems
Some customers would rather mail a check or provide a credit card number via phone or fax to the merchant, who then processes the order manually during normal business hours. However, manual orders for e-business transactions are increasingly becoming the minority, with good reason. Online payment processing is more efficient for the merchant, more convenient for the customer, and it elimintates the need for the merchant to handle credit card numbers.

Offline Credit Card Processing
An offline credit card payment option encrypts and saves credit card information for later manual processing. This option can be used with any merchant account that provides a method to manually process transactions when the credit card is not present.

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