How do I take payments on my web site?
Quickly Accept Credit / Debit Cards Online
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It is surprisingly easy to take credit and debit payments on your web site and in some cases this can be done in a matter of minutes. Whilst there are a number of ways to achieve this we are going to focus on what we consider to be the best in terms of both cost and ease of use/application:-
Paypal – The Quickest and Easiest Method
Undoubtedly the quickest and easiest way to monetize your business by taking payments online is by using Paypal. If for some reason you haven’t heard about them, or already purchased for someone else using them then quite simply they are the most universal method of accepting payments online. Purchased by online retailing and auction giant eBay in 2002 for a whopping ¢1.5 billion they now accept over £50 million of transactions per day. With a vibrant and active online community and literally hundreds of shopping carts using the Paypal out of the box it is a sensible choice for any individual or business (old or new) looking to get online quickly or to extend their current payment options.
Applications are very straightforward too and as it’s near impossible to fail to meet Paypal’s acceptance criteria – on a basic level let’s just say that having a valid personal or business account will more or less cut it – and from here you can be requesting and accepting payments within a matter of minutes. And taking payments is quick too – buyers can purchase your products literally within two clicks if they already have a Paypal account, but if they don’t then they can simply enter their card details as normal or sign up for their own account so that making a purchase is quicker next time.
A major advantage of Paypal is that is a highly recognised brand, is accepted more or less universally and there are no less than 220 million account holders worldwide (which is a lot of potential clients). In addition Paypal shook off the image of ‘the choice of online Rouge Traders’ years ago and now offers a pretty substantial Dispute procedure for buyers who have received goods ‘not as described’, or indeed nothing at all. This has built in trust, which means that you can use Paypal in the knowledge that buyers will be happy to transact with you.
- Individuals buying and selling on eBay or via smaller online shops
- Small Businesses Looking to get online QUICKLY
- Businesses of all sizes looking to extend their existing payment options
What you will need
A valid bank account
How do I sign Up?
Simply head over to Paypal and sign up in minutes
Sage Pay (& Paypal) – The Most Robust Method
PayPal is great, but it isn’t for everyone and for businesses that are transacting in higher monthly figures they will want something a bit more robust. This is where SagePay steps in.
Sage Pay, originally known as PROTX and then purchased by Sage (the well known accounting software company) provides highly secure online card payment services to over 30,000+ businesses of all sizes. Whilst like PayPal there are no specific requirements for successful acceptance it does help if your business has a good trading record. Established businesses with a good record will find it very straightforward to get accepted, whereas a Sole Trader or new business may find it harder or even be declined. In this instance using PayPal to take online payments and build up your trading history will be the best way forward.
Sage Pay is a great option as it’s both secure, highly affordable and also integrates seamlessly with your online shop. With Sage Pay Flex it only costs £19.90pm and this suits small businesses very well, but for higher volume businesses (of more than 1000 transactions per quarter) where transacting can get really expensive it’s only £19.90 per month plus 12p per transaction. That’s really good value.
We think Sage Pay are an excellent choice for selling online, but when applying there is one thing we must tell you and that is that unlike Paypal there are other costs and parties involved that you should be aware of. To transact with Sage Pay you also need an Acquiring Bank (jargon as explained below). This isn’t any old bank, as accepted by Paypal, but rather a specialist bank that you must also sign up with. To Sage Pay’s credit they will assist you with this as part of the sign up process and if you don’t already have an Acquiring Bank then we do strongly advise that you go with Sage Pay’s preferred supplier and that is the Royal Bank of Scotland, or RBS – by doing this you can sign-up in one hit rather than to both organisations separately. Signup is pretty straightforward, but it isn’t instant – expect the whole process to take about 2 weeks and you will have to fill out forms with various financial information about yourself and your business. Granted the process is a bit more time consuming (to be fair anything is compared to PayPal), but it really is worth it to get a well established company, with excellent technical and customer support on-stream.
If you’ve used PayPal with existing clients and want to keep the flexibility of this service then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear that Sage Pay has resident support for Pay Pal and can fit it in seamlessly to their system. This gives your prospective buyers a further option for purchase (there is also the option for their excellent online terminal that is a replacement for the PDQ machine) and is a seriously sensible choice for any savvy online business.
- Businesses looking for a more robust and secure system
- More established businesses (but also available to businesses of all sizes)
- Businesses with high transaction rates (typically over 1000 per quarter)
- Businesses who want excellent customer service and technical support
- Businesses that need an online terminal or PDQ replacement
- Businesses looking to extend their current payment options / and with Paypal linking
What you will need
A Payment Processor (Sage Pay) and an Acquiring Bank (typically RBS)
How do I sign Up?
Simply head over to Sage Pay to sign up (and if you are an existing Slick Media client then we will happily assist you – we are an established Sage Pay partner)
Technical Jargon Associated with Online Payments
Payment Processor AKA Merchant Service
A payment processor is a company that attends to the actual processing of a credit card transaction, to be distinguished from the merchant (that’s you) account ‘bank’, which merely acts as the recipient of the transaction, proceeds. They come in various forms and the most common configuration is that the payment processor acts as the intermediary between you and your bank and you will pay them a small percentage and/or fee to take your payments and then pass it to your acquiring bank.
An acquiring bank (or acquirer) is the bank or financial institution that accepts the credit and or debit card payments for products or services on behalf of a merchant. Again you will find that they will charge a percentage fee to accept the payment and you should be sure to factor this in as it will also affect your bottom line.
Next Steps – Your Online Store
If you now have a Paypal account then you can actually request payments for your goods directly via email, but of course that’s only one way to take people’s payments online. To be a serious online business you are going to need an online store to bring all this together and Slick Media are established specialists in this area. There are a great many options available to you as a business, but our aim is to make this as simple as possible for you with our bespoke solutions.
We can integrate with a number of ‘payment providers’; with our favourites highlighted above and can provide high quality E-Commerce sites that will bring your business to the next level.
For more information on which E-Commerce solution best suits you please contact us and we will be happy to discuss your specific requirements.
Already have a WordPress Site?
Check out our later post on Best E-Commecrce plugins for WordPress and set up your own store. We can help if you would rather have a professional set it up for you!