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Which Payment Provider to use Selling Online?

When designing a new e-commerce website, there’s much to consider including which payment provider you should use, which one would be best for taking payments from your customers? When selling online, people can purchase from you 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world so unless you are specifically targeting an Irish audience solely, you will need your website to offer prices in different currencies and the ability to take payments in a variety of currencies too. This post will show you some differences between some of the payment providers and of course, we can cover these in more detail when planning your eCommerce strategy and website with you.

When customers visit your online store, once they know they want to buy your products, they have other questions in mind. If they cannot find answers quickly, they may leave without purchasing. These questions include:

  • Is this a trustworthy business and where are they based (this is why the ‘About Us’ page is important.
  • What currency can I pay in and what are the prices in my chosen currency?
  • What is the cost for shipping my order?
  • Can I pay by credit card, debit card or PayPal?
  • When I leave my credit card details, are they secure?
  • Can I contact the company?

Customers particularly want to know that their data is secure and protected, that someone with malicious intentions can’t access their passwords or their credit card details. Your eCommerce website needs a SSL certificate (Secure Socket Layer) to ensure that third parties can’t interfere or access a customer’s details, that they can’t be read, deciphered or decrypted by anyone tapping into the data exchange.  How can customers tell if your website has a SSL certificate? Once they know what they are looking for, it is very easy, they look for a little padlock beside the address bar or https:// at the start of the url on the check out pages.

PayPal

PayPal is probably the most popular payment mechanism and is often included as an option on all stores. Small businesses may offer the option of paying by PayPal only in order to save on costs but larger e-commerce stores would be expected to have other options available. Even if customers don’t have a PayPal account, they can still pay by credit card via PayPal although some don’t realise they can do so. You’ll need a credit card to set up a PayPal account.

How do you set up a PayPal account? It’s very easy, you fill out the relevant information, provide your credit card details and also your bank details (so you can transfer funds once money starts coming in). The PayPal is integrated into your account and although customers are brought to the PayPal page to make their payment (which doesn’t look quite as professional but many customers are accustomed to this happening), they will be brought back to your website once the transaction is completed. Therefore, you don’t need your own secure server on the website to accept payments.

You can also send customers invoices via Paypal and arrange full or partial refunds if necessary. Customers often find it more convenient when purchasing from a smartphone or tablet as they just need to insert their PayPal password rather than their card details.

Realex /Sage Pay

Using Realex or Sage Pay means you can accept credit and debit card payments from all major card providers. It also means that customers may not have to leave your website (as they would with PayPal) to make a payment. Your own payment pages will be hosted on a secure server. There isn’t a set up fee but there is a monthly fee. This allows up to 350 transactions and once you exceed that number, they are charged at 12 c per transaction (depending on the company you choose). They do include various fraud prevention tools and additional payer authentication to protect you and your business. You do need an online merchant facility with a bank to use these services.

Stripe

Stripe, another payment processor, was created by the two Collison boys from Co. Limerick and now based in Silicon Valley.

In a similar way to PayPal, Stripe charges on a transaction basis and the fees are similar. However, if your sales are going to be low initially, it will cost you less than Realex, unless the sales are for high cost items. One of the advantages of Stripe is that a customer’s credit card data is not sent to your server but to Stripe. This means that you don’t have to store credit card data on your website, your website is automatically PCI compliant, a breach of your servers won’t risk any customer’s data being stolen.

Stripe offers excellent customer support which can be a huge positive and transaction costs for as little as 1.4% plus .25 cent.

As we said above, we can discuss the various options with you in more detail when we sit down to plan the strategy and design for your new eCommerce website to ensure that you’re selecting the best payment providers for your business.

Please note that an SSL cert is advisable on all e-Commerce websites and for someof the services above it is a requirement.

Contact us on services@aura.ie for more information.