How does online credit card processing work?

Accepting card payments online is an easy way to improve how your business operates and makes sales.

Here’s a quick guide to how the process works.

Online credit card processing (or processing any online card payments) is a much simpler process than you probably think, but there are a few essential things you’ll have to get in order before you can start.

There’s a few accounts you’ll need to set up, some security essentials you’ll need to make sure you have, and you’ll need to choose a card processing provider who can help you start using online payments without burying you in hidden fees.

So what do you need to get started with online credit card processing?


Online Merchant Account

You’ll need a merchant account if you plan to take card payments of any kind - not just online card payments.

This isn’t the same as your business account (where your money ends up), a merchant account is what will allow you to process debit or credit card payments and transfer the funds into your business account.

You’ll need to make sure your merchant account is set up to allow online payments when you set it up.

Person holding a payment card whilst on the laptop

Two people at a market paying using phone

Payment Gateway


Your online payment gateway is ultimately what will securely process a customer’s credit card transaction - essentially it replicates the function of a card terminal online.

It helps make sure you get paid and can also help with safety elements like checking for fraud.

When customers go through checkout they’ll be taken to your secure online payment gateway to enter their card details and authorise their payment.

None of the customer card details are stored by you, so you don’t have to worry about data security.

Virtual terminal


If an eCommerce store isn’t the right choice for your business, but you’d like to be able to take payments away from your store, a virtual terminal is a great choice.

Using a secure online portal, you can remotely enter customer card details to take payment for goods or services.

It’s a simple online payment method, which allows you to keep trading no matter where you’re based.

Many retailers with a virtual terminal use them to accept payments from customers over the phone, using a mobile device with an internet connection.

All you have to do is log into your virtual terminal and enter the customer card details into a secure form.

The details are instantly confirmed and checked before the payment is authorised.

Hand holding visa debit card with laptop open

Online credit card processing in action


  • Online credit card processing in action 1

    User enters their details into the application via the website

  • Online credit card processing in action 2

    The card details are sent to the Payment Gateway

  • Online credit card processing in action 3

    The details are sent to the Internet Merchant Account for processing

  • Online credit card processing in action 4

    Payment confirmation or rejection notification is sent back to the application via the Payment Gateway

  • Online credit card processing in action 5

    The money is transferred into your Business Account according to your agreed settlement window

Start taking online payments with Handepay


Being able to take payments online can add another dimension to your business, and it’s easier to get started than you think.

Get in touch with us today and we’ll take you through the simple process of setting up online payments for your business.

You’ll have no hidden fees and you’ll instantly be able to start taking payments in the ways your customers want.


Financial disclaimer:

Terminal hire contracts are provided by Merchant Rentals Limited, who is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for Consumer Hire under FRN 720500. Terminal hire can be for consumer hire and non-regulated hire contracts. Please check your contract carefully for details. Regulation of all consumer hire fall under the control of the FCA.

Handepay Ltd is authorised and regulated by the FCA for Consumer Credit under FRN 673564. Handepay is a credit broker for consumer hire not a lender.

Handepay acts as an introducer of card acquiring services on behalf of EVO Payments UK, the card acquiring service provider. EVO Payments UK is the trading name of EVO Payments UK Ltd, a payment institution that is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN number 959332).

Existing Cards Businesses- The one-month rolling terminal hire contract from Merchant Rentals is only available to businesses that are switching from their current acquirer to EVO Payments UK arranged through Handepay.

New to Cards Businesses- The 12-month terminal hire contract from Merchant Rentals is only available to businesses that are new to card payments and wish to receive acquiring services from EVO Payments UK, arranged through Handepay.

The Next Day Banking Settlement service provided by EVO Payments UK incurs an additional fee of £4 a month on top of your acquiring service charges and fees. Provided your card machine performs a reconciliation before 12am (midnight), you’ll receive settlement of funds the next banking day.

Editorial disclaimer:

The information we provide does not constitute financial advice and might not apply to your business. Always carry out research into your business’ needs when choosing a new merchant services provider.

Sometimes, we link to other third-party websites to provide you with additional information. At the time of publication, we consider the information accurate, however, we do not have control over their content and are not responsible if any information on these websites change.

The products we display on our website are for illustrative purposes only - if your business requires additional facilities, you may receive a different model than advertised.

All of the information contained on this website, including fees, services and functionality, are correct at time of publishing. E&OE.