Processing payments on-line
This article gives you a quick guide to setting up credit and debit card payments on-line and is primarily written for schools and after school clubs interested in our Childcare on-line Booking (CoB) system, but is equally true for anyone wishing to set-up an e-commerce website.
Unless you want to go down the Paypal route (see Paypal below), the first thing you need is an internet merchant account from your bank, but it can be another provider and doesn't have to be with the bank you use for your day-to-day banking. There are a variety of different providers (although this isn't an exhaustive list) that include:
Streamline (RBS / Natwest)
You might already have a merchant account if you are able to take credit and debit card payments using a terminal and if this is the case you should be able to speak to your current provider and add on-line payments.
Once you have an internet merchant account, you'll need a payment gateway to process the payments (WorldPay provide both the merchant account and payment gateway). Our preferred payment gateway is SagePay who support a range of merchant banks and prices start from £19.90 per month (350 transactions per month, free fraud screening tools, 24/7 telephone and email support, eInvoice and phone payments included). Apply for a SagePay account.
The merchant account verifies credit card and customer information. This includes checking to see if the details supplied are correct (address, card number, etc.) and if the card has been reported stolen, or has enough funds. Sage Pay will also automatically apply for 3D secure registration for Visa and Mastercard. These are vital for securing yourself against online fraud and chargebacks. All Payment Service Providers will have a system for 3D Secure, the the actual process varies in length and complexity. If the transaction is successful, the merchant account then deposits funds to your designated bank account where you can then access them. Many small businesses choose SagePay, because the transfer funds each day, rather than hold on to them for 3 days, which helps you with cash flow. SagePay also have an excellent fraud screening system, which protects your business from fraudulant transactuions.
A payment gateway acts as an intermediary between your website and all the banking systems. This is a seamless process and your customer does not interact with the gateway itself. The credit card details are submitted via the gateway, which securely sends the information through the relevant financial networks to the merchant account.
The Childcare on-line Booking (CoB) system uses one of SagePay's protocols to ensure the requirements of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is less onerous and easier to comply. CoB current supports SagePay, WorldPay and PayPal integrations, but we are looking to expand these.
Paypal works differently from a standard Payment Service Provider and Internet Merchant Account. Of all the solutions it is the easiest to set up and receive payments. All you will require is a Paypal Business Account to get started. In terms of linking the two systems together it is simply a case of providing the registered e-mail address for your Paypal account. Generally you will not need an Internet Merchant Account to set this up as Paypal can link straight into your business's account. Despite the advantages you should be aware of Paypal's fees and rules regarding fraud and chargebacks.
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childcare on-line booking
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