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How to Create a Secure Checkout System

Lily O'Halloran

With online fraud at an all time high, consumers are wisely choosing to shop solely at e-commerce websites that provide a secure checkout process. As an online business owner, you must stay on top of current e-commerce trends to be successful. Accepting credit cards as a form of payment is a must, but that alone is not enough. Nowadays, providing a secure method for payment transactions is absolutely vital to the success of your business. Fortunately, providing a safe, secure transaction process is not rocket science. In this article, I will explain some common e-commerce terms, and tell you how to create a secure checkout system for your website.

Know the Lingo

In order to understand how to set up a secure checkout process, you must first become familiar with the applicable technological lingo. Let’s take a look at a few e-commerce terms.

Payment gateway – a service that provides the infrastructure, validation, and security necessary to send sensitive payment details to and from all of the financial networks involved in processing a payment.

Address Verification System (AVS) – a system used to verify the identity of a cardholder.

Internet Merchant Account – an account at a financial institution which enables a merchant to receive credit card payments and issue refunds.

Third-Party Processing Service – an online all-in-one payment processing solution that includes both a payment gateway and an internet merchant account.

Let’s take a look at how these components work together to create a secure checkout process.

Create a Secure Checkout System

In order to create a secure checkout process you will have to make some important decisions. You first must decide whether to open a merchant account to use with a payment gateway, or whether you would prefer to use a third-party processing service solution.

There are a few issues to consider when choosing a payment gateway:

  • Is the payment gateway service compatible with your shopping cart?

  • Does the service offer features suitable for your needs?

  • How much is this service going to cost?

Choosing a payment gateway provider can be overwhelming due to the sheer volume of providers. Do your homework; spend time researching potential providers. This knowledge will allow you to ascertain whether a particular provider is a good match for your business.

You need a merchant account to accept credit card payments and to issue refunds. Many brick and mortar (B&M) banks are wary of providing internet merchant accounts due to the nature of internet orders, which are prone to credit card fraud. Fraud protection is a major concern for merchants, as well as for financial institutions. Search online for a reputable, established bank in which to open an internet merchant account. Online banks, like B&M banks, have varying fees and rates. Before selecting a merchant account provider, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with the types of fees incurred by merchant accounts. This information will enable you to shop around for a bank that is well-suited to your individual needs.

A merchant account is included in the business solution provided by third-party processing service providers. Third-party processing services incorporate all the necessary components to set up a secure checkout system. The two main concerns regarding third-party processing services are: availability of desired features and cost. Once again, the choices can be overwhelming. However, it is well worth your time to study the cost and fees of multiple providers before selecting one. Fees can vary widely, thus a substantial amount of money can be saved in the long run by selecting the best provider for your situation.

Shopping cart selection is an important choice that should not be taken lightly. Whether you are going to program your own shopping cart application or integrate an existing application into your web site, you must first determine what type of shopping cart is compatible with your choice of payment gateway or third-party processing service. Both payment gateway providers and third-party processing service providers have this information available. Many third-party processing service providers offer the option of using a pre-integrated shopping cart created specifically to work with the other components – creating a true all-in-one solution. Small business owners that don’t take the time to choose services and applications that work well together are often the ones who fail – miserably. By choosing applications and services that support each other, you are able to easily create a seamless, secure checkout system for your website. Set yourself up for success!

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