As a merchant, you want to provide your customers with a smooth, user-friendly checkout process, while giving them a sense of confidence that their personal details will stay secure. You also want to know you're going to receive payments quickly and efficiently.
After consulting many online business owners and even running a couple of successful ecommerce sites of my own, I'm here to share what I've learned. I'll tell you exactly how to set up your payment processes, what to pay special attention to, and what to avoid at all costs.
This may sound overwhelming if you're setting up your online shop for the first time, but there's no need to panic. You don't need a technical background to accept payments securely on your website. The process can be simple and hassle-free if you follow the steps in this article. I have some expert tips for you as well!
7 Steps to Accept Online Payments on Your Website
1. Choose Online Payment Methods for Your Website
There are tons of different payment methods to choose from, and with the rise of fintech and ebanks, new methods are popping up all the time. Today’s consumers are used to getting what they want, and they expect to be able to use the payment method of their choice when shopping online.
If you want to accept payments on your website, the first step is to decide which payment methods you’ll offer. This decision is entirely up to you, but it’s generally a good idea to accept a variety of payment methods. This will help you reach more customers and improve their buying experience. People are much more likely to complete a purchase if they can pay with their preferred method.
To ensure the best conversion rates, you'll want to accept the most common payment methods:
Credit and Debit Cards
Many online shoppers choose to pay with a credit or debit card, such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover. It's probably worth it for you to accept all the major cards. Each one has its own process and fees, so you’ll want to make sure you know exactly how much each transaction will cost you.
Accepting credit card payments can be hassle-free if you work with a payment service provider. You won’t have to set up a merchant account, which requires you to manage the whole payment process on your own. You also won’t need to worry about PCI compliance, which is essential for security. Pay.com has Level 1 PCI DSS compliance – the highest level possible.
This type of payment method is becoming increasingly popular, with big names like PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay being used by millions around the world.
It's a convenient way for consumers to make quick payments on any internet-connected device without having to enter their personal or financial details. In today's ecommerce market, accepting digital wallets on your site is a must.
These are some other payment methods you may want to consider, depending on your business and target audience:
Some customers may not have a credit or debit card, or may not feel comfortable using one online. This is where ACH (Automated Clearing House) payments come in. Customers in the US can use the ACH network to transfer money directly from their bank account to yours, with no credit card or wire transfer involved in the process.
The ACH network can also be used to transfer funds through eChecks, which are basically electronic versions of paper checks.
With this payment method, the consumer authorizes a business to withdraw a certain amount of money from their account each month (or in another time frame). This can be a good option to have if you offer subscription or membership services, but if you're just selling products, you can probably leave this one off your list.
How to Easily Accept Multiple Payment Methods
Does this mean you have to run around opening accounts with all the different payment method providers and figure out how to set each one up on your site separately?
Luckily, no! Pay.com is a payment service provider that lets you choose from a wide range of payment methods and easily integrate them with your site. It's a great way to offer your customers the convenience they're looking for and keep them coming back.
2. Calculate Your Fees
Payment method fees are part of the price of doing business, and it's important to understand them before you get started. Be sure to read through your payment service provider’s terms and conditions so you know exactly how much you'll be charged each time you receive a payment.
Some payment service providers charge additional fees on top of the fees charged by credit card companies and payment gateways. To avoid unwanted surprises in the future, you'll want to choose a provider that’s completely transparent about the fees it charges.
Over time, you can track how frequently each payment method is used. This will help you predict your monthly or yearly expenses for each method. If a certain payment method is costing you more than you think it’s worth, you might decide to remove it from your site.
Pro Tip: Transparency works both ways. If you're going to charge your customers any processing fees, be sure to include that information on your website so that they’ll always know exactly how much they’ll be charged and what they’re paying for. Honesty can go a long way toward boosting potential buyers' confidence in you.
3. Set Up Your Payment Methods on Your Website
The next step is connecting your site to all of the payment methods that you've decided to accept.
You can do this the hard way by manually setting up a business account with each company and integrating it into your site. If you feel like you have enough technical expertise to deal with any hiccups or bugs that may come up, this can be an option. But let's face it: it's a hassle. It can also take some time to get approved for all the different methods.
These days, there's a much easier solution. Many ecommerce merchants choose to work with a full-service payment infrastructure that’s already connected to all the major payment methods.
This way, you only have to set up one account to accept as many payment methods as you like. You don't have to go through complex setup processes or wait around to get approved for each one.
Once you select a payment service provider, adding new payment options is easy. If you choose Pay.com, all you have to do is click on each payment method you want to accept to add it to your site. You’ll also be able to track which customers purchased which items, how much money they spent, and when you received each payment.
4. Customize Your Checkout Process
When choosing a payment service provider, look for one that allows you to customize your checkout page. Nothing will scare off a customer faster than a suspicious-looking checkout page that doesn't match the rest of your site. A page that has your logo, branding, and color scheme will make your buyers feel secure and encourage them to complete their purchases.
Once you're happy with the look of your customized checkout page, you can integrate your accepted payment methods into it. This lets your customers know which payment methods they can use.
5. Integrate Email Confirmations
When someone makes a payment on a website, they expect to receive an email with all the details of their purchase. Sending out personalized emails manually can quickly become tedious and time-consuming, especially as your business grows. You'll want to automate the process so you don't even have to think about it.
There are services out there that will let you set up an automated invoicing and receipt process, but if you choose a full-service payment infrastructure, it will take care of this for you as well. In my experience, the most convenient solution is to have everything on one platform.
6. Conduct Test Orders
In the world of ecommerce, first impressions matter. Before you go live with anything on your website, you should always test it first to make sure it’s working properly.
Create some fake orders and test each and every payment method, trying to anticipate all of the different ways users might behave on your site. It’s a good idea to test your site on different devices, both desktop and mobile. Have some colleagues or friends try it out as well – they may have valuable feedback.
Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you’ve tested everything:
- Does your checkout page load quickly?
- Do all the different payment methods work smoothly?
- Is there any stage in the process where a buyer might feel confused or like they don’t know what they’re supposed to do next?
- Are buyers taken to an order confirmation page after they’ve paid? Does this work with all the different payment methods?
- Are your email confirmations working properly?
- Does your site look good and work smoothly on mobile devices?
Once you’ve finished testing and worked out any kinks, you’ll be ready to go live and offer your customers a seamless shopping experience!
7. Continue to Improve
Your site is live, you’re accepting online payments, and the orders are coming in – but your work doesn’t end here. Ecommerce is extremely dynamic, and you’ll always be working to proactively attract new customers, whether by adding new products or by improving the user experience on your site.
In addition to conducting market research and analysis, it’s important to listen to your customers and understand their changing needs and requirements. You can always experiment with different checkout page customizations and add new payment methods based on what your customers want.
Pay.com lets you accept many different payment methods and makes it easy for you to add or remove them with just one click. You can make changes as often as you like, to be sure that you’re always offering your customers the best possible experience.
How Does Online Payment Processing Work?
Understanding exactly how online payments work will help you give your customers the best experience. Let's take a look at some of the basic elements that work behind the scenes to enable payments to be processed.
A payment gateway is a software application on your website. It encrypts the credit card data your customer inputs and sends it to a payment processor.
A payment processor takes the credit card information it receives from the payment gateway and sends it to the credit card network. After checking for fraud and making sure the customer has sufficient funds to make the purchase, the processor then sends the approval or denial back to you, the merchant.
If the transaction is approved, the processor communicates with the credit card network to collect the funds and transfer them to your account.
A merchant account is a business bank account that allows a business to receive payments in various ways, including from debit and credit cards.
In the past, the only way you could accept online payments was through this type of account. But today, you can bypass this requirement by using a third-party payment service provider.
If you use Pay.com as your payment service provider, you won’t have to worry about setting up a payment gateway, a payment processor, or a merchant account. We take care of all the technical aspects of accepting payments, so the only thing you need to think about is your business.
How to Choose a Payment Service Provider
The right payment service provider for you will depend on your immediate and long-term business needs. When you know exactly what you want, you can start looking at what different providers offer.
To make your decision easier, here are a few key questions to consider:
Which regions does the provider service?
The payment service provider you choose should let you accept payments from the market(s) where you’re currently present and those you may want to target in the future.
Which payment methods are supported?
Today's customers are picky about how they pay. They want to have multiple choices and a fast, convenient checkout experience.
Your provider should allow you to integrate a wide variety of payment methods so that your customers have as many options as possible when it comes to completing a purchase. This will improve not only their experience, but also your conversion rate.
Will you be able to customize your checkout experience?
Your provider should give you the flexibility to customize your checkout page however you like. You should be able to tweak the design to match your brand, customize the text, and add the features you need.
You may also want a payments API that your dev team can integrate into your website or application.
What risk management tools does the provider offer?
While it’s great to be able to accept payments from around the world, there are significant risks involved. It’s best to use a provider that offers strong verification, fraud detection, and chargeback protection tools to minimize these risks.
Will it be easy to integrate the system into your site?
While some providers’ systems may require you to work with developers to integrate them successfully, others have user-friendly setup processes that don’t require technical knowledge.
Pay.com lets you choose between convenient no-code payment solutions and developer-friendly APIs, so you can always find the right solution for your business.
What do you get in terms of reports and analytics?
The best providers will give you a straightforward analytics dashboard that delivers comprehensive, in-depth insights. You can use reports and transactional data to increase sales and improve your site’s user experience.
What are the costs and fees?
Providers generally charge either transaction fees (a percentage of the total cost of a transaction) or interchange fees (paid to a bank for the acceptance of card-based transactions). Some also charge setup fees, usage fees, or monthly service fees.
You’ll need to calculate the total monthly costs of each payment service provider and decide if it’s acceptable for your business.
What level of support can you expect?
The best providers will be available during business hours to help you out if anything goes wrong, or even if you just have a simple question. Live chat support is usually the most convenient option. Some providers may also offer a dedicated account manager.
The Benefits of Using Pay.com as Your Payment Service Provider
Pay.com is an all-in-one solution that allows you to easily accept online payments from your customers. It has a straightforward onboarding process, so you can start receiving payments as soon as possible. Once everything is set up, you can add new payment methods to your website with just a few clicks.
Speaking of payment methods, Pay.com offers a wide variety of options for customers all over the world. This means that you can expand to international markets without any extra hassle, updating your supported payment methods as needed.
In addition to letting you customize your checkout page, you can also integrate the Pay.com API directly with your existing site. Pay.com also supports online payments through other methods, like personalized Pay Links.
Pay.com is highly secure and trustworthy, with Level 1 PCI DSS compliance and tokenization to protect your customers’ payment details. You never have to worry about the safety of your data. On top of all this, we offer transparent flat-rate pricing so you always know exactly what you’re paying for – no hidden fees or unpleasant surprises.
The Bottom Line: You Can Easily Accept Online Payments
Accepting online payments might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right payment service provider, you can streamline your payment system and give buyers a seamless experience.
Pay.com lets you customize your checkout process to cater to your customers’ needs, and add new payment methods in seconds. It keeps all your transaction data in one place, giving you full visibility into every payment received – so you can focus on growing your business.