Online Payment Processing
Efficient online payment processing is the key to ensuring effective online revenue. Setting up an online process for credit card payments is the quickest form of payment, though it's important to offer your customers the ability to pay by debit card, cheque (check if your computer can accept, and print out, online checks too) or money transfer.
If you use a credit or debit card service, it's imperative that you use a payment gateway to maintain your online payment processing security. A payment gateway operates between the client and the merchant account so that private credit card information cannot be seen in transit by a third party. They work by encrypting the customer's financial details before the information leaves the client's computer.
If you are buying an 'off the peg' package online shopping cart, check whether it provides a built-in payment gateway already; if not, many online merchant account providers will offer a payment gateway service (including Paypal, www.paypal.com, and Verisign, (www.verisign.com); Worldpay is another often-used service, and can be found online at www.worldpay.com; another is Protx (www.protx.com).
Once the gateway is in place, keep your ear to e-commerce and marketing organisations and trade magazines - they're the first to rumble new viral, hacking and Spyware programmes that are a danger to your computer and your customers' privacy. and the first to publicize details on new products developed to counteract them. Make sure your payment gateway software is a watertight as it can be (if one of your customers is a victim of fraud while visiting your site, you could well be liable).
Make sure, too, that your online payment processing package can accept addition forms of payment and is conducive to future technological changes. For example, you might want to consider accepting digital cash - a payment system where a pay-as-you-go card is regularly topped up with cash and can be read by a payment processor (it literally removes the digital 'cash') without the need for your details to be submitted to an online payment gateway. If you sell a product or service that is likely to be popular with teenagers who are too young to own a credit card (but are large consumers), then the option of accepting digital cash is one well worth considering.