Choosing an Online Payment Processor

You need to select the correct payment processor if you operate a business that accepts credit and debit cards online. An online payment processor is what handles the transactional burden — from capturing an order to delivering you a billing statement and working with your bank to ensure that you’re paid.

When a buyer purchases something on your site or in person at your brick-and-mortar store their credit or debit card details goes through a payment gateway or PoS terminal. The gateway encrypts the information to ensure its security and then forwards it to the processor that processes payments, which then transmits it to the customer’s card network. The card network checks with the customer’s bank to determine if there’s enough funds in the account to purchase the item. If the bank is able to approve the purchase then the card issuer will transfer the funds from their account to the bank of the merchant. The payment processor will relay this response back to the merchant’s site or PoS terminal and inform the customer that their transaction was successful.

When selecting a processor, be sure to consider security as well as ease of use and compatibility with the existing systems. Choose a processor that offers APIs and plugins to seamlessly integrate with your e-commerce platform or the POS system. Also, you should evaluate the customer experience at checkout and your team’s report and transaction management experience. In the end, make sure you are familiar with the contract terms and how easy it will be to switch suppliers in the future.