How To Link Your Payment Accounts To A Website And Start Taking Online Payments
E-commerce spend is growing at a rate of around 7% a year in the UK as more shoppers latch on to the convenience of buying pretty much anything they can think of from the comfort of their own home, and have it delivered within 24 hours.
Even for smaller companies, having an online presence opens you up to a much larger customer base, and it’s relatively cheap to create an e-commerce store today compared to a few years ago.
If you are going to set up online, either as a fully digital business or to supplement a brick and mortar store, one thing you’ll need to sort out is how you’ll take payments.
Fortunately, if you already accept card or digital payments instore, you have much of what you’ll need to start taking online payments.
Here is everything you’ll need to link a payment account to your ecommerce website to start taking online payments.
Open a merchant account (if you haven’t already)
Along with a business bank account, you’ll need a merchant account to accept online payments.
A merchant account is where the funds from a transaction go while the customer’s payment details are being validated.
When customers pay online, the funds enter the merchant account while your bank checks the customer has enough funds to follow through with the purchase, as well as double-checking their details for any irregularities.
This process usually takes less than 24 hours, before the money is finally transferred to your business account, but it can take up to three days or longer in select cases.
Opening a merchant account first means you won’t get tripped up at any of the later hurdles in this process, so it’s wise to research reputable merchant account providers at the start.
What online payment system is available through your web host?
All web hosting platforms are different and the pay portals they're able to accept might differ slightly.
Look into what pay portal options are already available through your site’s web host - you can usually find this information in the admin tab or control panel of your web builder.
If you outsource your web hosting to an external company, let them know you’d like to integrate a payment system into your site to start accepting payments.
They may charge you as they do for the other services they provide, but they’ll be happy to walk you through the process or handle much of the technical work if you’re unsure.
Which payment gateway should you choose?
A payment gateway is a tool that allows you to accept payments online. A great way to think of it is as an online version of a card machine.
When it comes to payment gateways, you have two options: Hosted or non-hosted.
A hosted payment gateway will send a customer away from your website to confirm the purchase with an external payment platform. Popular hosted payment gateways include PayPal and Stripe to name a few.
Once the transaction is complete on the hosted payment gateway, customers will be directed back to the original site.
Non-hosted payment gateways are gateways that are placed directly into your site and do not require the customer to be transferred elsewhere. They’re offered by external payment gateway vendors.
This puts all of the responsibility of managing, processing and storing the customers’ card data in the hands of the business itself. To accept payments this way, businesses must install a payment gateway solution directly onto their site, as opposed to having customers directed elsewhere.
Pros and cons of hosted and non-hosted payment gateways
Some business owners prefer the convenience and reliability of popular hosted payment gateways as they take much of the complexity out of their hands. On the other hand, they’re placing the fate of the transaction in the hands of an external business - something not every business owner is a fan of.
Some prefer non-hosted solutions as they like having full control over the process, and completing everything in-house, though this can be a much more technical process and requires a good working knowledge of HTTPS queries and APIs. They can also be more technically difficult to maintain in the event of bugs or other errors too.
You will also need to pay fees on each transaction you take, which can vary widely depending on your gateway provider. Some gateway providers can also throw in unexpected hidden fees, which can eat into your profits.
Handepay’s payment gateway
Handepay’s payment gateway services have zero hidden fees, for completely open and transparent transactions between your customers and your business.
It’s important to look into exactly how much you’ll be paying to figure out which payment gateway is your best option.
You’ll also need to check your chosen payment gateway can handle all the online payment methods you expect to accept on your site. This includes credit and debit cards, but could also include options like Google Pay and Amazon Pay.
Pair your business and merchant accounts with your payment gateway and activate it on your site
If you opt for a hosted payment gateway, you will be able to link your business account to the provider’s platform and the payment process would be handled externally. Your chosen provider will set up the connection between its platform and your website’s cart once you’ve handed over all the necessary details.
To integrate and activate your hosted payment gateway on your site, follow the instructions provided by your gateway vendor. Or reach out to them if you need help.
In the case of a non-hosted payment gateway, you will still need to provide your business payment details to your chosen gateway provider, before integrating the payment solution into your site.
Non-hosted solutions are a little more technical and will require someone with good working knowledge of PC systems to install.
Need a hand? Speak to Handepay.
At Handepay, we specialise in card payments and offer numerous payment gateway and merchant account options to suit your business.
Get in touch with Handepay today if you’d like to discuss your needs further and how we can help your business find an online payment solution that'll work for you.
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