Ecommerce processing

credit card machineBefore you open an ecommerce merchant account, it’s important that you understand what is available to you.  It’s also important to understand what can expect once your account is open so that you’re not blindsided with additional fees and penalties.

Of course, an ecommerce merchant begins with a website… and I’ll assume that you all have one.  The website should display your products or services that you are selling.  If you are selling more than one product, you should consider implementing a shopping cart application.  This application will essentially group the items together for the consumer and allow them to check out once with all the products.  If you only have one service or product, a shopping cart is not necessary.

Once your consumer is ready to process their transaction, your site needs a means to send the transaction through.  First and foremost, you need an ecommerce merchant account and this can be set up through most national Acquirers.  Be aware that an ecommerce merchant account will carry higher discount rates and fees than the conventional bricks and mortar accounts.  And this is largely due to the risk these account carry.  Ecommerce accounts are prone to hacking and information is easier to steal.

When you’re applying for your merchant account, you can ask about the different web applications they support to allow your transactions to be processed.  You essentially have two options at this point.  You can either go with an off the shelf, plug and play application that is easily coded into your website or you can opt for a more intricate solution.  The plug and play solutions that acquirers will offer are very effective and little HTML knowledge is required to get these implemented onto your site.  However, they do not allow for a lot of customization on the payment page and you’re limited to the services your Acquirer offers.  More complex and customizable solutions may be available through your acquirer or otherwise, you may need to go through a third party company that is certified with your acquirer, to purchase a solution.  These solutions require more coding and work to implement but offer the ability to customize the payment page to ensure the flow of your website is consistent.

Once you’ve set up your site, you need to understand what risks are involved.  The reality is fraud is high with ecommerce accounts.  Fraudsters like to target ecommerce merchants because there’s no real true way to ensure that the person on the other side of the computer is truly who they say they are.  However, you can and should implement some fraud mitigation processes.  Have Verified by Visa and MasterCard SecureCode implement.  These require the customer to enter in an additional passcode to verify their identity before allowing the transaction to process.  Also, if you are signed up for these programs, you are protected against fraudulent chargebacks.  Also consider implementing Interac Online.  Interac Online allows your customers to pay for their transactions online with their bank account and properly authenticated and approved transactions are not subject to chargebacks at all.

Ecommerce doesn’t have to be a mystery.  Just make sure you know what you’re getting into.

About Admin

Matthew Hunt has been helping small businesses get set-up with Canadian Merchant Account Services since 2007 and helped 1000's do so. Join Matthew on Google+.

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