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Who Else Wants to Understand How Online Credit Card Processing Works?

Nicholas Hurd

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How Does Online Credit Card Processing Work

Over the years, the Internet has become a miraculous marketplace of products and services spanning antique books to prescription drugs. With technological advancements, a variety of payment methods have allowed the exchange of goods to take place across the World Wide Web. One of the most popular means of purchasing items on the Internet is to use a credit card.

Today, the majority of online merchants accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. Through a rather successful credit card processing system, consumers and companies use shopping carts, merchant programs, and other means to make business transactions online. Despite the positive results of the arrangement, many new online businesses are still confused when it comes to the ins and outs of ecommerce credit card processing.

What Are Internet Merchant Accounts?

The typical merchant account is an account established between a retail business and a merchant bank, which permits the retailer to accept credit card orders from their customers. In the end, monies are received through the bank. If companies wish to accept credit cards over the Internet, they will need their own online merchant account. The process of obtaining an Internet merchant account to allow credit card transactions on the Web is a bit more difficult than gaining a ‘regular’ merchant account because the actual card is not a tangible item and actual signatures of authorization are never received.

Understanding Third Party Credit Card Processors

When another unit accepts credit card orders on the behalf of another company – this is called a third party credit card processor. While obtaining a merchant account is unnecessary through this process, a company is required to sell enough goods and services in order to cover the expenses associated with third-party involvement. The credit card process goes through the third party, which owns a merchant account with extra benefits of using their privileges to accept credit card orders on behalf of other companies. It is generally an expensive route to consider in the world of ecommerce.

Understanding Credit Card Processing

When it comes to ecommerce stores and the online credit card process, many businesses are stumped because they are unaware about the differences between what is called “payment gateway account" (the online card processor) and “Internet merchant accounts". It is through these two distinct pieces of the credit card processing puzzle that works as one to facilitate automatic payments.

Commercially related shopping carts usually have configuration settings that afford an online customer a number of options. Generally, an Internet merchant chooses the shopping cart and website hosting company, followed by ordering a merchant account based upon the gateways available with the shopping cart. A glaring difference between online transactions and the one that takes place in a store is that Internet merchant accounts normally do not hold funds for an extended length of time in the same manner as a typical bank account. Average and immediate transactions take place on a daily basis.

A payment gateway account is the online credit card processor that handles transactions by linking to credit card accounts attached to an online shopper and the merchant's Internet merchant account. Their responsibilities include processing verification and transfer requests. When dealing with ecommerce, there are also alternative payment methods, such as person-to-person payment services (like PayPal), which utilize credit card processing.

Orders are completed through the merchants’ web store and transactions are completed on secure web pages that verify the consumer's personal information, such as banking information (credit card or check), which is then encrypted to prevent the interception of a third party that wishes to steal financial details. The overall credit card processing system is designed to operate safe transactions over the Internet.

Shopping cart programs collects order information and sends it in a format suitable for credit card processing companies to understand and process. The credit card company then validates the card and the account. If all checks pass, then the credit card is cleared for purchases and word is sent back to the card processor that the amount requested is transferable. Denied transactions are assessed a code that alerts credit card processors the reason.

The credit card processor now relays a successful transaction to the shopping cart program, which then alerts the consumer that their order was completed or denied, and that the order is being processed for delivery. The credit card processor then passes funds transfer (known as a settlement request) to the merchant account company for the deposit of money into the merchant's bank account. An Internet merchant account will gather the funds for a certain amount of time and conducts scheduled transfers to the merchant's customary bank account, making the credit card process complete.

Nick Hurd is the Lead Developer of 1CartPlus a hosted shopping cart that is easy to set up for beginners and provides all the tools that a professional online marketer needs to compete effectively in todays competitive online world. Credit Card Processing using


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