E-Commerce Merchant Accounts
This overview is intended to help you understand what the word "E-Commerce" means and what you need to to know in order to turn your web site into an online store.There are three major requirements for setting up a fully functional e-commerce website:
When building your web site you need to ask the following questions:
Are you going to use an existing software package like Miva Merchant to handle your shopping cart/storefront or are you developing your own shopping cart application?
Before you start your ecommerce endeavor, you will want to choose whether you are going to use a vendor built shopping cart system or a custom developed application. Using Miva Merchant, a vendor built tool, gives you many advantages:
However, a custom-developed shopping cart system has benefits of its own:
Do you need real time credit card processing?
When setting up a website you need to know if you want to process credit cards online via a "payment gateway" or off-line at a Point-of-Sale (POS) terminal. Both systems work basically the same: they verify the credit card number, check the expiration date, confirm the card has available credit, send the information to your merchant account, and send an approved or declined message to you or your shopping cart.
Orlando WEB Development supports many of the payment gateways that are included within the Miva Merchant solution, and most can be accessed outside of Miva as well for use with your custom shopping cart. Payment Gateway companies are services you must subscribe to, so there are fees involved with setting gateways up. These fees vary and may include a setup fee, a monthly fee, and per transaction fees (or any combination of all three). Gateways interact with your merchant account to charge a credit card (authorization) and collect the money to deposit into your bank account (settlement).
The Miva Merchant solutions supports nearly 20 different gateways. Outside of Miva, OWD supports U.S. Merchant Services, Verisign PayFlowPro, Cybercash, and Authorize.Net. As there are so many other Payment Gateways available, we are unable to know whether we have the tools already available for them to work. However in most cases, we can support your payment gateway. Please contact us if you do not see it listed.
Below is a link to ratings for various Payment Solutions. Investigate each one in order to ensure you're picking the right solution to your needs: http://ecommerce.internet.com/reviews/glance/1,,10355_5,00.html
Do you have a merchant account set up?
So you have a shopping cart, and a payment gateway. Now you need a way to accept payments made for the products you sell. A "merchant account" is a type of relationship you have with a bank or other financial institution to accept and deposit credit card payments. Generally, your local bank will have a process or service in place that allows for online transactions. If not, or if they want to charge fees that are unacceptable to you, there are a myriad of other companies who specialize in merchant accounts. As with payment gateways, a merchant account is a service, and there are fees associated with this service. Fees can range from application and/or setup fees, licensing fees, discount rates (a fee taht goes to the band and the processor to cover the costs of the transaction), monthly service fees, per transaction fees. Merchant accounts may have two other types of fees: a reserve fund, which may be required to cover charge backs, and charge back fees, which are similar to NSF fees a bank charges for returned checks. Try doing a search for "merchant account" in your search engine of choice and the possibilites are endless.
The Orlando WEB Development E-Commerce solution and Miva Merchant provides you with a Complete Online Store!
If you have any questions, please contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
David B. Cate - Webmaster
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