What Is Internet Credit Card Payment Processing?
Accepting credit cards online requires that you have either your own merchant account, complete with payment gateway and scripts to handle the information processing, or a third party account which is usually more geared to automatically processing Internet credit card payments.
If you have an established offline business, getting an Internet/MOTO credit card processing merchant account should be straightforward. If you're a new business, with no offline presence or trading history, you may want to consider the simpler approach of getting a third party payment processing account from the likes of Clickbank, 2Checkout, Verotel, Shareit or PayPal. When you have successfully established your Internet sales, you can provide evidence of business viability to banks that issue merchant accounts.
Depending on how you configure your online business, processing Internet credit card charges can be fairly simple or very complex. The quickest and easiest setup is to get a third party payment processing account, use their recommended HTML for a payment button and paste it into your sales page. When an order is processed, you'll get an email confirmation and can send the product to the customer. Of course, while this system is the fastest way to get set up processing credit card sales, it's not the best. The system doesn't capture the sales details and email information in your own customer database, and it doesn't allow you to provide instant, real-time product delivery, which is expected in most cases when digital goods are purchased.
To perform these more advanced functions, you'll need a set of scripts, most likely written in php, that process the information and write the sales data to your databases. Most payment processors will send data back to your servers after a sale to what's known as a "callback script" running on your server. The script captures the data and acts on it... writing the data to a database, adding the customer to your autoresponder account, emailing a "thanks for your order" to the customer and even redirecting the customer to the product download page.
If you get a shopping cart to handle multiple products at your ecommerce store, the system gets even more complicated because you'll need a way to pass multiple different possible product combinations to the third party credit card processing company. This will mean a different set of script acting to control the shopping card and how it sends data to the credit card payment processor across the Internet.
So, as you can see, a web-based system for processing credit card payments can be very simple or very complicated, depending on what you want to sell, and how you want to sell it online. Before you setup your system for taking credit card orders, be sure that it can adapt if you choose to add more products, change prices, add a shopping cart or even change the credit card processor. In short, make sure it's a flexible system.