Taking card payments online opens your business up to a whole set of customers. You can meet the modern appetite for online shopping and boost your overall sales profile. Whether you have a large retail empire or a small single shop, it’s easy to enable your website to process online payments quickly and securely.
Find out everything you need to know about how to take credit or debit card payments online. We outline how online transactions work and explain when you receive payments in your business account.
What are online payments?
Online payments allow customers to buy your products or services through the internet, so they can shop from their computer, laptop, tablet, or phone.
The online retail market is growing quickly – the Centre for Retail Research estimates the UK will process £67.38bn in online sales in 2017, up 12.6% from 2016. Now, more than ever, it’s important for small businesses to unlock their services for customers who want to shop online.
How to take card payments online using your website
There are a few things you need to set up to get started with online payment processing:
- A shopping cart, where your customers can add and review their items before purchasing.
- A merchant account to process funds from online transactions. Your transaction fees (which will either be a percentage or flat-rate, depending on your business) will be deducted from your merchant account before the money is sent through to your business account.
- Once your merchant account has been approved, you can set up an online payment gateway, which will allow you to process transactions online.
What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway connects your website to the banks involved in online transactions, acting like the online equivalent of a card machine. While the process might sound complicated, it only takes a few seconds:
- After the customer inputs their card details and submits the transaction on your website, the payment gateway processes their information.
- It passes the transaction through various security checks and then sends the information to the customer’s bank.
- The card provider will check to make sure there are sufficient funds to cover the transaction, and possibly run their own 3D secure authentication checks.
- Once approved, the transaction is transferred back to your website for final approval, and the customer will receive confirmation.
- The funds from the transaction will be transferred to your merchant account, where they’ll be verified and approved before moving into your business account.
Read more about what a payment gateway is here.
How will customers pay me online?
Customers can carry out their orders through the shopping cart on your website, which can connect to your payment gateway via plugins. They can pay using credit and debit cards from all major card providers, including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
Alternatively, if you want to take payments by phone, mail, or fax, you can sign up for a virtual terminal, which allows you to enter customers’ details into an online portal to process transactions.
What are the benefits of accepting card payments online
Beyond allowing you to connect to an entirely new customer base, accepting payments online can bring a whole host of benefits to your business:
- Quick and simple transactions: It’s fast and easy for customers to make purchases through your website, allowing you process transactions in a straightforward and profitable manner.
- Improve customer satisfaction: The popularity of online shopping means customers expect to be able to make purchases online, and having a payment gateway will allow you to meet this need.
- Safe and secure: All transactions are encrypted, and we use fraud prevention software to protect both buyer and seller details, so you can rest assured that all payments are safe and secure.
We can have you set up and ready to take online payments in as little as 24 hours – get a free quote and speak to our experts for more information.