How to Start Accepting Credit Card Payments Online

Setting up an online payment system in your e-commerce website may seem difficult. Yet, here are seven simple steps which will lead you to the fastest way to get off the ground and start selling online easily.


1) Choose a Payment Gateway Provider

Payment Gateway Provider is secure software for online shops that authorises credit and debit card payments. It is like a "virtual terminal", which connects an online shop with its merchant account at a financial institution that works as a bank to authorize card payments (read more here).

Securely handling customer credit card details online is a technical challenge and also subject to strict regulations. Choosing a payment gateway and merchant account provider Cardinity enables you to delegate the responsibility of handling credit card payments and ensuring PCI compliance, allowing you to fully focus the attention on your shop.


2) Set up a Merchant Account

A merchant account is a special bank account that keeps the funds after a customer has paid for his purchase on your website until they are transferred to your company’s bank account. Once you have set it up, you can receive payments from all around the world (read more here).

It is beneficial to choose a provider that can supply both the Payment Gateway and an Online Merchant Account since it can generally result in lower service fees.

Here are simple steps to setup both Payment Gateway and Merchant Account using Cardinity:

  • In order to register a website, you will be asked to fill in a short application form here.
  • After the latter is reviewed, a full application form will be issued here
  • You will have to provide some documents and a website address you would like to register to which Due Diligence procedure will be applied. 
  • The registration process usually takes up from one day up to a couple of business days. Shortly after, you will be ready to start selling.


3) Setup a Shopping Cart (Online Store)

Shopping cart software is what powers an e-commerce website and allows you, as a seller, to easily manage and present your product catalogue. There are many tried and tested solutions to choose from, both free and commercial, such as PrestaShop, WooCommerce or Magento (more options) – all of which come with integrations to various Payment Gateway Providers, including Cardinity.

Cardinity provides a smooth integration between your e-commerce system and Cardinity payment service. The requirements of every business are unique, and Cardinity allows you to tailor the card payment processing tool to your specific needs. Easy-to-install modules are provided for the most popular e-commerce systems (Prestashop, Magento, many others). For others (e.g., osCommerce) or custom e-commerce solutions Cardinity also provides PHP, Symfony and Java programming libraries. Lastly, API integration is available and well documented, using which any e-commerce system can be connected to use Cardinity. However, this method requires more time and effort than using modules, as some additional programming is required.

Important: Each module has its own installation procedure.


4) Protect Your Ecommerce Store from Fraud

An SSL certificate is an essential component of any reputable website nowadays. It ensures all the sensitive information (such as credit card details) sent from the customer’s computer to your website is encrypted and cannot be viewed by a third party. A certificate can be acquired from both commercial and free providers such as Let’s encrypt or GeoTrust. Technologies such as 3D-Secure implemented on the Payment Gateway side also help to prevent unauthorized transaction chargebacks.

As soon as you start using Cardinity, the 3D-Secure will be applied automatically. A set of specific security standards in order to protect card information during and after a financial transaction, called Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance, will be ensured as well.


5) Choose Pricing Model

There are a few most widely applied pricing models that you can choose from when setting up your Online Payment system - usually per-transaction fees, monthly usage charges or both.

In case of Cardinity there are no monthly or set-up fees. You can accept all major credit and debit cards for a minimal cost for as low as 0.25 EUR flat fee per transaction + 1.7% from the payment amount. It is probably the friendliest price in the market that can decrease even further depending on your turnover.


6) Ready to Accept Worldwide Payments?

Try to sell some key products in a few markets, so that the test would prove if you are ready to expand and invest more heavily. If the result is affirmative, here are three critical areas of planning which you have to keep in mind before diving into international market.

Firstly, you have to determine your buyer-persona: where do they live, how old they are, what do they buy and how do they shop? In order to identify the latter, use your internal data.

Secondly, think about how will you accept international payments: by direct debit or online bank transfer? Yet, if you have chosen Cardinity as your payment provider, your client will be able to pay with any currency.

And finally, plan how will you enter the market: will you optimize your current website or will you set up a local web presence in particular countries? If you tend to optimize the website, put an emphasis on ability to accept international payments. And if you choose to set up a local web, keep in mind that such elements as currency conversion, translation, and delivery cost calculation will be of the big necessity.


7) Be Prepared for a Payment Dispute

Most of sale transactions happen smoothly, but sometimes a customer may file a dispute, asking to reverse the transaction. Why does it happen? There are a few reasons which usually occur:

  1. The buyer may not receive an item which was ordered. In order to prevent this, provide realistic delivery dates, use online tracking of the goods, and order shipping insurance. Always inform your customers if something is out of stock.
  2. The item which was received may be significantly not as described. To prevent such misapprehension, always provide detailed descriptions and pictures, and kindly answer item-related questions customers may have.
  3. A buyer may claim that a purchase was made without his / her knowledge or consent and ask for a chargeback. Sometimes this may be a simple mistake, but it also may indicate a fraud. If so, try to do as much as possible in order to keep both your customer’s and your store’s data safe: Cardinity ensures compliance standards which help to protect card information.

In any case, think of a dispute as an opportunity for you to provide great customer service which would help to turn a buyer into a returning customer.