Accept Card Payments Online

Published : Friday 10 November 2006

Accepting online payments has become increasingly accessible to small businesss and with the right skills can be adopted today ...

Please note: this content is 15+ years old, from a time when I produced content for SEO and key word purposes. It may be of lower quality and no longer accurate.

With customers wanting goods and services delivered in a timely fashion the demand for accepting online payments has never been higher.

Fortunately accepting payments online in real time is accessible to the smallest of retailers and can be implemented on any website at little or no cost by even the most amateur of web editor using popular payment systems like PayPal and Google Checkout.

Integration options

There are often a number of ways in which secure card processing can be integrated into your website which will vary depending on your provider but most merchants choose one of 3 roots or a variation on one of them.

Copy and paste payment buttons

By following a simple wizard and supplying information about your product or service most payment gateways will generate a simple button for your website.

This button will either allow the customer to buy the item directly or add it to a 3rd party shopping basket ready for purchase.

To implement this the person who edits the website simply copies and pastes the wizard generated code into their website.

Script and database generated buttons

Copy and paste payment buttons are great for getting started and a small number of products, but it can become time consuming and unwieldy when dealing with more than a handful of products. As such many retailers with larger inventories choose to integrate their product database into their website to generate these buttons automatically for each product.

This option is clearly more more technical and requires knowledge about databases and website development.

End to end solution

Development and scripting can be taken a number of steps further where all the basket functionality and customer handling is done through your own websitewhich provides a sleeker almost seamless end to end process for the customer, while still using the secure 3rd party card processing company.

This is the most complex of the 3 options and will often require a developer with experience in handling these types of transactions to implement it in an appropriate and secure manner.

Setup cost

This really depends on the service you subscribe to however typically the each online payment will incur a cost as a percentage of the total amount and in some cases there may also be setup or monthly service charges. In each case it is usually down to the level of configurability, security and service that you subscribe to that will determine the cost.

Responsibilities and liabilities

No matter how you choose to integrate card payments into your website it is important you fully understand your responsibilities& liabilities when it comes to bank card fraud.

If a card is used without the card holders permission, the onus will be on you the retailer to supply as any information to try and prove that the person you supplied was the genuine card holder.

In the event you are unable to provide this information you will receive a “charge back” to pay back the total amount that was taken for the transaction.

It is recommend you only ship to addresses checked by the online payment system usually know as Address Verification System (AVS).

Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS)

PCI DSS written by Visa and MasterCard is a worldwide standard for consumer data protection across the payment industry which was officially announced in January 2005 and endorsed by leading card schemes.

There are 4 levels of compliance however if you are using a 3rd party payment gateway and do not handle online payment details directly on your website you will be covered by your payment gateways compliance which is likely to be level 1.

If you are using or plan to use remote interfaces (such as SOAP) you will need a separate PCI compliance.

Some card schemes may enforce the standards with financial penalties for non compliance and in some circumstances card services may even be revoked if the user is compromised and/or non-compliant.

Which online payment provider?

There are many online payment providers to choose from however payment systems like PayPal and Google Checkout tend to be well known and trusted and have no initial fees.

Others such as WorldPay and Secure Trading are more configurable than the likes of PayPal but there are also setup charges involved and they often require more technical setup.


Accepting online payments has become increasingly accessibe and can be achieved by any business with a little effort.

Taking an online payment system a step further with a fully integrated approach can give a sleeker more professional feel to your website.

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