Credit Card Processors

Most of us use credit card processors on a daily basis, whether we’re shopping online for a gift for mom or setting up an online store to cash in on the e-cigarette craze. However, few of us actually understand what a credit card processor does. For most consumers, the convenience of swiping a debit or credit card is good enough. Furthermore, if you run a business that accepts debit card or credit card payments, you will likely save money if you understand how the payment gateway system works. Payment gateways are used to handle credit card transactions through online shopping carts. Businesses of any size from multi million dollar corporations to mom and pop shops around the world have been using credit card processors for years now as a way to accept fast, easy, and safe payments from their customers. This provides a low cost and convenient solution to those seeking an alternative to cash payments. When was the last time you witnessed someone pull a check book out of their pocket to make a purchase? Instead, what do we do? Pull out the plastic. Payment gateways allow you (as a business owner) to take credit cards online.

What are Payment Gateways?

The terms “credit card processors” and “payment gateways” are not interchangeable. When you go to a store or gas station, or some other physical location, you swipe your debit or credit card and provide either a PIN or signature. This is called a point of sale or POS transaction. The card data travels by a phone or Internet connection to a series of secure servers that carry out the transaction in the blink of an eye. These servers do a number of things during that very short time. They match all the data (the information contained within the magnetic strip), the data entered such as PIN number, then they compare available balance with total sale, check for security freezes on the account, and even run a series of algorithms based on prior transactions as to whether this purchase should be flagged for further investigation. Some full featured solutions such as Flint can provide everything many merchants need in one place, under one roof but that is more the exception than the rule.

How to Accept Credit Cards Online

Any merchant who sells their goods online will have an online shopping cart and will have used a credit card processor. That processor will often provide you with a payment gateway which will enable you to process credit card payments from your customers safely and securely. The information entered at the point of sale or “POS” needs to be processed somewhere. That is where the credit card processors come into play. They provide that connection between customer, retailer, and the credit card company. They provide that connection with the strictest of industry standard security protocols, so that the customer and business are both protected. Not only is it required by the law to handle credit information in a secure manner, it’s also good business sense. Credit card processors do this very well and because of this, they are familiar with the different laws and regulations that must be followed. Furthermore they have implemented a variety of systems to take care of such necessities including proper PCI standards. Of course, it does become important to ask yourself, “What am I looking for”? Do you want service that meets the required standards, or one that goes above and beyond to bring more value and satisfaction to you and your customers? Will that provider be prepared for later iteration policies and requirements more readily than the rest?

Choosing a Payment Gateway

Often times, business owners are caught up in the every-day function of their business, and don’t look at the underlying support system. Streamlining this system can not only speed up your day to day transactions, it can save you money. It’s easy to see why working with a payment gateway specialist is beneficial for the business owner or manager. Rather than locking you into one set of services with a contract, the right payment gateway team can work with you through a variety of vendors.  Your payment gateway provider will also help you get the best rates and to setup your merchant account. A dedicated payment gateway specialist knows the insider terms and the industry inside and out. He’ll be there to guide you and get the credit card processing services you need at the best rate. If you do not have multiple options for your merchant account explained to you by your potential or current payment gateway provider, find out why. Your particular business may have only a select handful of account setups that will work ideally for you. If you think your services are not what you need, you should consider shopping around. The right team will take time to answer your questions fully. They are not only in the business of making a sale, but rather in the business of making it easier for you to complete sales.

Have a question? Need general information, rates, or help with getting started? We are happy to help even if you just have a quick question about the industry - even if you are "not ready yet" - even if you just want a little free advice. We regularly earn clients' business years after we first speak. Please visit our contact us page or call us at 207-772-8737 any time.

All the best - Matt