While cash payments may have been the standard a decade ago, the times have changed. Today it would be shocking to shop at a store that didn’t accept credit cards. New advancements in technology now allow consumers to pay via phone.
If you’re looking to start an eCommerce business you’ll first need an eCommerce business license. Next on your list will be understanding how eCommerce credit card processing works. Whatever payment processing companies you decide to use will need to allow transactions to process without issue to keep things running smooth, even during seasonality in business. More than this, customers expect this process to be available electronically.
Your customers don’t need to understand this process, they just need to know that it works. As a business owner, however, it will help to know the basics of credit card processing.
What is eCommerce Credit Card Processing?
The process of accepting payments online from customers is known as eCommerce payment processing. All payment processing is done through secure gateways made to protect your customer's card information. More than this, processing gateways establish secure connections between businesses and merchants.
Here are some key essentials that you’ll need to know when it comes to eCommerce payment processing:
- Your eCommerce store links to a secure payment processor
- Customers enter their card information into your secure payment gateway. The gateway encrypts the card information before it gets sent to the processor.
- The processor then sends a signal to the bank in order to confirm if there are available funds, or if there are any limits on the payment
- If the transaction is approved, it goes through and the customer's bank account is debited that amount.
The whole process takes hardly a few seconds, as you’re probably familiar with if you have bought anything online before.
Credit Card processing is a vital part of any eCommerce business. The credit card processing service you choose allows you to move money from customer accounts to your business account. More than this, these processing services allow you to do so both quickly and conveniently. Regardless of if your customers are looking to pay their invoice or purchase an item or service, they’ll need the option to do so electronically.
Ever wonder why electronic payments process so fast? Well, it’s because of the behind-the-scenes operations that make payment processing work like magic. While a customer really doesn't need to understand the complexities of credit card processing, it’s vital that eCommerce businesses, bill payers, and banks do; at least a basic knowledge of how it works.
eCommerce credit card processing involves three entities: customer interfaces, merchant accounts, and third-party providers who collect funds or approve purchases. As a business owner, you’ll have decisions to make in all three areas. The decisions you make affect your fees, customer service, and the overall experience you provide to your customers.
Knowingly, it’s important to understand what all goes into eCommerce credit card processing before you accept any payments or choose a processing provider.
Merchant eCommerce Credit Card Processing
When customers make a purchase the money doesn’t just vanish. eCommerce credit card processing systems do not link to personal accounts either. So, where does the money go? Into a merchant account of course!
A merchant account is a bank account that gives businesses the ability to accept multiple forms of payments. Typically, these payments are with credit or debit cards. Merchant accounts only exist in a partnership with merchant acquiring banks. The bank will oversee and facilitate any and all payment authentications. After electronic payments are processed and approved, the bank will distribute the funds into your merchant account.
Because payments arrive before the customer pays their bill, your merchant account will be considered a line of credit. Therefore, it is best to apply for these accounts with your current bank. You can open an account with a different bank of your choosing. However, you lose the convenience of having everything in one place. Like any line of credit, you are responsible for unpaid charges and fees.
Before you make your way to the bank, you’ll want to have some important documents with you:
- Papers explaining what your business is and how it will operate
- Personal Banking information
- The current years tax returns
- Operational payment model
In addition to these documents your bank may require a credit check. This is to ensure you’re in good standing with loans, and that there are no foreseeable financial issues. Once your merchant account application is approved, happy selling!
Best eCommerce Credit Card Processing Companies
Merchant accounts are not your only option for credit card processing. Popular eCommerce platforms like eBay, Shopify, and Etsy have their own built-in payment processors. In most cases they’ll charge you monthly ecommerce credit card processing fees that cover online transactions. These types of eCommerce platforms are easy to use and allow you to fully customize your website.
If you’re interested in using an eCommerce platform you’ll want to consider all of your options before making a final decision. Each platform will have its pros and cons. However, what’s most important is that the platform you choose is easy for you and your customers to use.
Fully understanding how credit card transactions work will allow you to make an informed decision.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when researching your options:
- What features does this service offer?
- How much does this service cost?
- Is there enough customer support available to meet your business's needs?
Keep in mind the things that are non-negotiable too. If you run across a platform that doesn’t have something you’re looking for, eliminate it and keep on moving. There are far too many options out there for you to stay hung up on one.
Now that you know the basics of eCommerce credit card processing you can get started with your search. We’ve decided to help you out by listing some of the best eCommerce credit card processing marketplaces below.
We may be a little biased, but if you’re a food and beverage industry we have just what you need. BlueCart is an all-in-one online eCommerce marketplace that offers flexibility and personalization. If you're unsure of the marketplace definition, let us explain it in BlueCart terms. With BlueCart you have the option to conduct B2B wholesale transactions, direct customer transactions, or both! If you’re looking for a platform that lets you sit in the driver's seat, this is the marketplace for you. You’ll never have to worry about being left in the dark either. BlueCart provides you with a dedicated support team that is focused on your success. Their platform also doubles as a payment processing tool. You’re able to manage payments, including ACH payment, send invoices, and fulfill returns all on one central platform. Your payments are always secure with this digital storefront. If you think BlueCart sounds like the right fit for your business, schedule a free demo to learn more.
For businesses that see lower purchase volumes, PayPal is one of the best platforms to use. It is a familiar face and easy-to-use. So you can rest easy knowing your transactions are always safe and secure. There are no costs associated with creating an account either. Once your account is created you can accept online payments immediately. If you run into any issues with your account PayPal has a customer support line available seven days a week from 6:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. PST. Their online chat feature can also provide you with assistance for questions and minor issues.
Stripe offers a user-friendly processing platform that can be used via desktop and mobile. For those who want a full customized experience, Stripe is a good starting point. There are no monthly fees, but there is a 2.9% online transaction fee + $0.30. However, you can opt to speak with a customer rep about a customized package for your business. Getting started with Stripe is simple, but not every business can utilize the platform. Stripe has unique business rules that restrict certain businesses from using their services. Before starting the sign-up process, be sure your business is compatible.
Square is known for its transportable square-shaped card reader. Small businesses tend to love Square because it is a simple tool that provides flat-rate pricing. For the traveling seller, or business with a digital and physical storefront, this might be the best tool for you. It’s also a great option for a business that is just getting started. With no monthly fees for credit card processing you’ll have a little extra cash to invest elsewhere.
Are You Still Processing?
Don’t freak out if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your options. We understand that it’s hard to find a platform that offers all the features you want for your business. Knowingly, it’s our job to help clients like yourself effectively manage their online payments.
Take control of your business by using an all-inclusive eCommerce platform like BlueCart. It’s easy to get started and we waste no time during the onboarding process. Instead of spending your time scouring the internet for credit card processing platforms, start learning ecommerce email marketing strategies to increase your eCommerce sales.
Frequently Asked Questions About eCommerce Credit Card Processing
What Is eCommerce Processing?
The definition of eCommerce processing is accepting payments from customers through secure gateways. eCommerce processing is an important function for any online business.
How are eCommerce Payments Processed?
Once a transaction is authorized and settled through the bank, funds are then distributed into a business bank account. It usually takes 1-2 days for the money to transfer into your bank account.
How Can I Accept Credit Card Payments on My Site?
Any eCommerce business can accept credit card payments by using an eCommerce credit card processing software. Some hosting sites offer widgets and integrations that automate this process for you.