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Having an online store has been a game changer for many business owners today because of the numerous benefits that it offers in terms of reaching a wider audience and making more sales.
However, a big part of the benefits of running an online store is the automatic transaction process.
Quick and automatic processing of transactions makes it possible for the seller not to be involved directly in collecting money from the customer and working the counter every time a customer buys something.
This system is great because it gives the seller more time to invest in other aspects of the business while the cash collection is done automatically on the website.
However, in order for this method to work, the online store needs to be connected to a payment processor/gateway.
This can be any of the following; Stripe, Paypal, Apple Pay, Square, Paystack, AliPay, BitPay and more
This will ensure that the website is properly equipped with the right program, security features and interface to accept and process payments.
Payment processor api when integrated will make it possible for the website/online store to accept credit cards and other alternative payment methods.
Also, it will also ensure that the customer information are encrypted and well secured.
So, before you go ahead to choose which payment processor to connect to, I am going to try to list out some features that you should look out for before deciding on which one to integrate.
Payment Processor Fees
Before you pick a payment processor it is very important that you check out their pricing and any other fees involved.
Sometimes some processors charge hidden fees that they will not expressly post on their website, so you should as a matter of due diligence check for any sign of it.
When ever you see an asterisk on the pricing page and the footnotes on that page does not give you a clear explanation of what it means, you should make further inquiries.
The best approach will be to reach out to the customer service of the company and request for further details before buying into the service.
Better still research for other processors that explains upfront all the fees that they charge. This fee could be in the form of;
Subscription or transaction fee
While some payment processor company may charge a subscription fee, where you pay once for the service may be monthly or annually, some other charge based on transactions.
This will be a decision that you have to make on which one you find comfortable and willing to go with.
However, if you are on a tight budget and don’t have money to pay upfront for a service, then you should go for the per transaction plan.
Even so, despite the subscription fees some processors may still charge extra fees when you have a lot of transactions.
In all this, the credit card companies will still deducting their own fees.
Onsite or off-site Payment Processor
Some payment processor company offer the feature that enables you to process transactions on your website.
The process is made possible through the payment processor API that will be integrated on your website.
While some others have to redirect the payment processing off-site to their platform to be able to carry out the processing.
Depending on what you prefer and are able to and the resources available to you can choose whichever processes method that you like.
Having to process payments directly on your website can be very rewarding, it ensures that the customers have a smooth transaction and thus are less likely to abandon their carts.
This will require a lot of resources on your part to provide a secure site where customers’ details will not be exposed to fraud and malicious attacks by hackers.
However, if the transaction is redirected to an off-site platform, in other words the website of the processing company, you can be assured that the customer’s details will be protected.
More so, whatever is the required regulations for safe handling of information will have been moved off your shoulders and the company will handle all the legalities involved.
But the downside is that there is a high chance that some customers will not want to go through to a different site to make payments.
This in its self can potentially lead to more abandoned carts.
A good way around this bottleneck will be to make use of popular and well trusted brand names in the industry.
This can help reassure customers that they are dealing with a credible source and thus they might just go through and complete the transaction off-site.
Accept wide variety of cards
It is usually helpful to integrate a payment processor that is able to process a wide variety of cards, at least 3 to 5 credit and debit cards.
This is to ensure that a lot of customers are able to make payment regardless of whatever card they have.
However, many processors are now working on accepting many cards, but you still have to know what you are getting.
Payment Processor with Data encryption
It is very reassuring to know that a payment processor offers data encryption and also that they are PCI compliant.
PCI simply means that they conform to a set of safety regulations set by the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard.
More so, the company should have support for VeriSign SSL certificates, transaction billing address and CVV2 verification.
These things are important if you are very particular about security, so check for the details or contact the company for more information on their security features.
Data encryption is a very important feature to be looked out for, because if customers get defrauded after doing a transaction on your website, that could lead to a lot of legal issue.
International and Multi-currency processing
If you plan on selling beyond the borders of your current country then you should always look out for processors that will offer you that possibility.
This is because you want customers from other countries to be able to make transactions on your website with ease.
If a processor is able to process different currencies the better it will be for you and your customers, but this is actually a feature that many processors are beginning to have now.
However, you should also be objective about the logistics and think of the countries where you will be promoting your products or services to.
Customer service is a critical part of the process, because there is no ruling out that you will not have issues at some point.
But the goal is to be able to get a quick and positive response that helps resolve whatever problems you eventually have.
Some processors may not have a great customer service but provide a good service, you have to know what your opportunity cost is and decide on which to subscribe to.
A good way of knowing more about the quality of their customer service is by simply going to online forums or by googling it and you will be able to see other people’s experiences with the company.
Finally, even though you are not able to get all these features from one payment process, at least always make sure to go with one that has a good security framework because that is how you will be looking out for your customers and your business.
These are some of the important features to look out for, however, there could be more and I will make sure to continue to update the list so as to help you make the best decisions always.