Credit Card Online
Even in the twenty-first century, there are websites that offer goods and services without the option to pay online with a credit card. Most internet users are so sophisticated that they will leave the site and find another merchant. When the website owner learns of the many benefits to offering online payment options and the actual process, the risks are mitigated and most will take the next step to accepting online payments for their offerings.
Merchant Benefits from Accepting Online Payments
Innovative merchants have been accepting online payments through their websites for as long as the process has been available. Each one has realized a distinct set of benefits to their business, including:
• Broader customer base – Customers anywhere on the globe can find the website and make purchases. The merchant has the option to refuse to sell outside the United States.
• Drastically increased sales – Most merchants realize an increase in monthly sales somewhere between 50 percent and 400 percent.
• Increased cash flow – When a service provider accepts online credit card payments, the amount of money outstanding in accounts receivable diminishes. Business cash flow increases and more cash is available for business operations.
• Reduced overhead expenses – Each transaction is less expensive to complete since invoices, receipts, and refunds are automated through the website.
• Mobility – Merchants who make money by traveling to various types of events where goods are sold can collect immediate payment from the website. Many smart phone applications have been developed to allow merchants to accept online payments from the most remote locations.
• Leverage impulse purchases – When the website visitor is presented with the option to buy immediately, many purchases will be made because of the convenient payment option.
• Extended business hours – Even when the brick and mortar location is closed, the website will be available for local and distant customers who wish to make purchases.
• Faster payment receipts – Credit card payments clear the bank in less time than checks or cash deposits can be processed. Large purchases will be pre-paid to relieve the burden of delayed payments on the merchant.
• Easy merchant account setup – Most credit card payment processing companies offer many setup options that allow the merchant to tailor the software to accept certain types of credit cards within limits.
Misperceptions about Accepting Credit Cards Online
Lack of understanding is one of the most obvious reasons merchants have not adopted the process of accepting online credit card payments. Some common misconceptions will prevent some merchants from ever taking the step to accept online payments, including:
• Requirement to pay extra to accept American Express credit cards.
• Uncertainty around the risks of accepting student and bad credit credit cards.
• Unable to understand how the balance transfer occurs between the website and the bank account.
• Discover card credit is desired by some clients, but the merchant is not willing to offer the option.
Basics of the Online Credit Card Payment
Once the merchant is shown the actual process that is available through most of the credit card processing companies, the decision is made to accept credit card payments online. After the merchant applies online for a merchant account, this series of steps will take place every time an online purchase is made. Money will move from the online environment to the bank account through secure connections.
1. Internet user enters payment screen – Website design flow takes the visitor to the proper screen where payment is accepted, and the correct information must be entered to complete the order. Incomplete orders are not possible because of the screen edits.
2. Information collected by processing service – All information associated with the buyer is collected by the third-party processing service. Protection of the client’s personal and financial information rests on the external party and not on the merchant.
3. Credit card is authorized – Every number, date, and credit limit is validated by a standard repository of credit card information. If the credit card is denied, the buyer must provide a different credit card or abandon the process. The merchant will not run the risk of non-payment.
4. Order is approved on the website – Once payment information is provided to the website, the order is approved by the user to complete the payment action.
5. Payment is issued to bank account – Through secured connections, the credit payment is transferred to the credit card company, and the money is transferred to the merchant’s checking account.
6. Order is sent to processing queue – The final step in the process is for the customer’s order to be fulfilled by the merchant. The electronic order is sent by the website to the correct computer system for fulfillment.
Millions of online payments are made every day using every type of credit card imaginable from the major Visa credit cards like Chase credit cards or Capital One credit cards to the more obscure Delta Airline credit card or Alaskan Airlines credit card. As long as the credit account is in good standing, and the user can provide the required information on the order screen, the payment will be received and the order will be filled.
Risks Associated with Online Credit Card Payments
Some realistic risks exist for the merchant who will accept online credit card payments. The financial sector spends extensive time and money to provide the highest measures of security for the monetary transactions that are conducted over the internet. Even through the monetary process is secure, there are some risks to the merchant.
• Overwhelming sales volume – A new merchant runs the risk of receiving a very large number of orders that can deplete the entire inventory. Even if there are enough items to fill every order, the merchant’s time and manpower might be strained to fill the requests.
• Fraudulent activity – Most of the creative thieves will stop at nothing to acquire goods without paying for them. Awareness is the best defense against fraud.
• Chargeback requests – A client has the option to contact the credit card company and initiate a chargeback on any transaction. If this occurs and the order has already been shipped, the loss will fall on the merchant.
• Theft – When someone’s identity is stolen and fraudulent purchases are made, the merchant will absorb the cost of the transaction that is deemed fraudulent. Every merchant must take steps to reduce the risk of fake payments through additional data requirements on the website payment screen.
• International sales – Most merchants decide that international customers are not numerous enough to justify the extensive procedures that must be implemented to handle currency conversion, customs, or higher incidents of fraud.
Many different types of businesses would benefit from accepting credit card payments online. Specific information is available from many reputable credit card payment processing companies, and the merchant should review multiple options prior to deciding to open a merchant account. Financial institutions maintain detailed information about the risks and benefits to merchants wishing to conduct business through a website. Another good source of information is fellow merchants. Simply visit other websites and look for the symbol on the payment screen. Each processing company places a small logo somewhere on the payment screen. Only very large online merchants maintain their own payment screens, but smaller merchants link to existing screens that are maintained by the service provider.