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This overview is intended to help you understand what the word "E-Commerce" means and what you need to know in order to turn your web site into an online store.

Accept credit cards online

There are several major requirements for setting up a fully functional e-commerce website which could include the following:
  1. A shopping cart
  2. A payment gateway
  3. A merchant account.
Differentiating among these three items can be somewhat confusing, so we take many steps to make this process easier.

When building your web site you need to ask the following questions:

Do you need real time credit card processing?
Do you have a merchant account set up?
Do you want a shared or dedicated SSL certificate to encrypt sensitive credit card information from your customers?

Do you need real time credit card processing?

When setting up a website you need to know if you want to process credit cards online via a "payment gateway" or off-line at a Point-of-Sale (POS) terminal. Both systems work basically the same: they verify the credit card number, check the expiration date, confirm the card has available credit, sends the information to your merchant account, and sends an approved or declined message to you or your shopping cart. We support many of the most popular payment gateways, and most can be accessed for use with your custom shopping cart. Payment Gateway companies are services you must subscribe to, so there are fees involved with setting gateways up. These fees vary and may include a setup fee, a monthly fee, and per transaction fees (or any combination of all three). Gateways interact with your merchant account to charge a credit card (authorization) and collect the money to deposit into your bank account (settlement).
Do you have a merchant account set up?

eCom Merchant SolutionsSo you have a shopping cart, and a payment gateway. Now you need a way to accept payments made for the products you sell. A "merchant account" is a type of relationship you have with a bank or other financial institution to accept and deposit credit card payments. Generally, your local bank will have a process or service in place that allows for online transactions. If not, or if they want to charge fees that are unacceptable to you, there are a myriad of other companies who specialize in merchant accounts. As with payment gateways, a merchant account is a service, and there are fees associated with this service. Fees can range from application and/or setup fees, licensing fees, discount rates (a fee that goes to the bank and the processor to cover the costs of the transaction), monthly service fees, per transaction fees.

We have long term working relationships with several vendors that provide both gateway and merchant accounts. We will assist you in finding the merchant solution that fits your requirements and budget.
SSL Certificates

SSL Certificates (Secure Socket layer) encrypt sensitive credit card information from your customers so it's safe and secure. When taking customers' Credit Card numbers, your customers want to be assured that data is being sent securely over the internet. SSL certificates are used to to encrypt data as it is being sent, so that the information cannot be intercepted and read in transit. SSL encryption requires the use of a "Certificate", which can be thought of as a "key" that "locks" the incoming data during transmission from your customers to your web site, and "unlocks" it when it arrives so the information can be viewed by you to fullfill your orders.
As you probably correctly guessed there is a cost to obtain a "Certificate" and we can assist you in its purchase and install it for your web site. There are several different types of certificates available ranging from domain only verification to company verification where the issuing company verifies your company information through independent means. An example of this would be https://secure.yourdomain.com. We can assist you in the purchase and ongoing maintenance of your SSL certificate.

Click for additional information on e-commerce, e-commerce solutions and our in-house shopping cart.

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