When credit cards are processed in real-time on the Internet,credit card information provided by the customer during checkout process is typically passed to a service service called a “payment gateway”. Payment gateways connect the online store with a credit card processor, on one side, and with your bank on the other side.
There are a number of payment gateways that offer a different array of services. One of the most important things to look for in a payment gateway is whether or not the payment gateway allows you access to a secured area where you can manually void and refund previously processed credit card transactions. This will help you in handling fraudulent orders, as well as returns or cancellations. Another feature to look for is whether a payment gateway allows you to authorize, but not capture funds. As explained later in this chapter, this feature can be extremely useful when combined with the order editing and batch processing features that are part of ProductCart.
To Process credit cards in real time you will need:
- A business bank account
- A credit card merchant account. Your bank or gateway that you sign up with will help you get a merchant account. Note that credit card companies often handle online and offline credit card processing accounts separately. So even if you already have a merchant account that, for instance, is being used to process credit cards at your retail location, you will have to apply for an additional merchant account (for your Internet store).
- An account with a payment gateway. Some credit card processors also act as a payment gateway, in which case you would not be required to take this further step.
Usually, your Merchant Account Provider will already have a relationship with a payment gateway. ProductCart supports a number of payment gateways. See Supported Payment Gateways for more information.
Typically, payment gateways provide merchants with an administration tool to setup the account, view past transactions, process refunds, add new charges to a credit card account, etc. Inquire with your payment gateway about such a service. You will not be able to perform tasks such as processing a refund through ProductCart’s Control Panel. You will have to perform those tasks by using the payment gateway’s administration tool. For example, funds are not automatically refunded when an order is returned or cancelled.