What do you need in place to develop a successful e-commerce business? We have prepared this simple step-by-step checklist to help you…
Before you can apply for a merchant account you need to have a finished website, so that the processors can make a realistic assessment of your business. It should include a clear and detailed description of your products and services, and their prices. It should also include other important details such as delivery methods and terms, and it should comply with all aspects of the compliance checklist for CNP transactions.
• BANK ACCOUNT
You will need to have a normal bank account in the bank of your choice. This should be in the name of your company. Some merchant banks offer to open a regular bank account alongside the merchant account, but many prefer to pay daily, weekly or monthly by SWIFT and will require information on your bank account as part of the merchant account approval process. Either way it is in your interests to have a separate bank account where you can receive proceeds of sales, pay your suppliers and manage your money.
• MERCHANT ACCOUNT
A merchant account is essential to process credit card charges from your website. The account may be direct, or via a PSP. The merchant account is a special type of bank account designed for receiving money from credit and debit cards. From the merchant account, funds can be transferred to your normal bank account. Here at WorldMerchant, we specialize in opening and managing merchant accounts.
• PAYMENT GATEWAY
Besides a Merchant Account, you will also need a payment gateway. This is basically software that processes the payment by encrypting, exchanging and transferring information to and from the payment card network, such as whether the transaction is approved or not. It’s the online equivalent of the physical credit card terminal you see in shops and businesses.It must be compliant with certain industry security standards such as PCI DSS and 3D authentication (Verified by Visa/Mastercard Securecode) and may also include anti-fraud analysis and other forms of protection against risks.
• SHOPPING CART
Most processors will require that you install a shopping cart. This is a special software application that allows you to sell multiple articles, and offers your client ease of use and security up until the stage of making the payment (checkout). This software must be compatible with the Payment Gateway – so could leave installation of the shopping cart until last, after your merchant account has been pre-approved and you have decided, based on that, which payment gateway to use.
• SECURITY STANDARDS
Any business that wants to accept electronic payments must comply with certain legal and card association norms regarding security, data protection and fraud prevention. Essential tools you will need include an SSL certificate, protection for your server against hacking or DDOS attacks, and special training for your staff who might handle sensitive information.