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It seems that everyone has a web site of their own. Home-based businesses have sites that are informative and professional. Many popular brick and mortar businesses also have an online presence. Everyone encourages you to make a purchase at their online store from the convenience of your home with their online payment processing system. In many instances they offer web-only discounts, free shipping or a gift with every purchase to entice potential customers. However, you may have some concerns about entering your credit card information.

How can you tell if they are legitimate? Is it safe to make purchases? Online payment processing is the method used for processing credit cards or electronic checks for e-commerce store purchases. Most web sites offer shopping carts that provide merchants many payment gateway choices. A payment gateway is the part of the transaction that has access to the information attached to a debit or credit card account. This information includes the account holder’s name, billing address, CV, and expiration date. It works in much the same way a point of sale system works at your favorite retail location. Payment gateways offer a variety of services to online merchants.

Though they may vary from one vendor to another, they all provide authentication for credit and debit card transactions. They are able to send and receive data over a secure connection that provides privacy for the web customers. This ensures the page used for online payment processing, which is where personal information is entered, is safe from the prying “eyes” of computer hackers. When the data is sent to the online merchant, the software creates a file in a format that can be accepted by the payment gateway. Once all data is received, the transaction commences and the request for authorization is made.

The customer’s credit card company confirms the information, validates the account and authorizes or declines the charge via their online payment processing system. If an authorization is received, the funds are removed from the customer's account and deposited into the store’s Internet Merchant Account. Usually a confirmation or order number is created for the customer. If the charge is denied, a specific code is returned that indicates the issue. When making purchases online, look for the security seal. If it is not mentioned on the home page, check the frequently asked questions. This indicates that steps have been taken to protect the identity and banking information of customers.

Posted in ACH, Checks, Credit Cards, EFT, Uncategorized on Jan 08, 2010