+ How to accept credit card payments on your website — and 3 mistakes to avoid. | Inovio

How to accept credit card payments on your website — and 3 mistakes to avoid.

Women working on online shopping cart softwareSeamless credit card processing is a key factor in creating a thriving ecommerce business. Giving your customers an easy shopping experience drives sales and builds brand loyalty, but there is a right and a wrong way to handle online payments. To ensure your success, you need to take a strategic approach and avoid common mistakes.

Research your payment gateway options.

Start with a payment option designed for cross-channel compatibility. If you do business in a physical store and online, your best option may be a complete point-of-sale (POS) solution with an integrated payment gateway to record all transaction information in the same central database. This eliminates the extra step of reconciling payments from separate systems and supports a personalized customer experience.

To find a POS system with a reliable online payment gateway, read reviews from other merchants and top business and finance sites. Narrow down your choices to the most promising options, get demos from the companies, and test all the pertinent features to get a feel for how the platform works and whether it meets your needs.

Get clarity on fees.

As you conduct your search, remember to compare fee structures. Look at the fees advertised on POS providers’ websites and be sure to read all the fine print. If the numbers aren’t clear, ask for a complete breakdown of everything, including:

  • Transaction processing fees.
  • Hardware costs.
  • The cost of software or software subscriptions.
  • Chargeback fees.
  • Batch processing fees.
  • Early termination penalties.
  • Penalties for failing to meet required transaction volumes.

You’ll also want to evaluate the structure used to calculate transaction charges. Although many POS providers use fairly straightforward fixed pricing models, tiered pricing is also common. Transactions in a tiered model are separated into categories and assigned fees based on potential risk. The higher the risk, the more you pay.

The same is true for card-not-present transactions. Online payments and payments processed through a virtual POS cost more due to the potential risks associated with a card not being physically present at the time of the transaction.

Ensure customer security.

Customers want to know their payment information is secure when they shop online. Using a platform with multi-factor authentication (MFA) for logins adds another layer of protection to transactions by requiring customers to enter more than one identifier before they can access their accounts. It’s also important to show consumers that they’re protected by clearly displaying any applicable trust seals on your checkout pages.

On your back-end, make sure your POS software and website are both updated regularly. Your POS provider should offer automatic updates to patch any known security issues. Strong fraud prevention and data security measures are also essential to prevent unauthorized access and identity theft.

Provide multiple options.

Customers across all age demographics use credit and debit cards more than any other form of payment. If you want to cater to the widest audience, your payment gateway or POS provider should allow you to process all major credit and debit options.

However, you shouldn’t limit your customers to plastic. Many people prefer the convenience of services like PayPal because they feel more comfortable and secure when using these platforms. Some consumers remain wary of sharing credit card information online, and third-party payment options allow them to shop freely without concerns about the way their data is used or stored. Giving these customers the option to order by phone while you process transactions through a virtual terminal can also ease fears regarding data security.

Don’t ignore the user experience.

There are several important questions you need to answer when evaluating online payment processing options:

  • Is the customer-facing user interface uncluttered and easy-to-use?
  • Do customers have to leave your site to complete a payment? If so, are the transitions smooth?
  • Is the payment experience equally convenient on all devices?

Shortcomings in any of these areas can cause abandoned cart rates to skyrocket, especially on mobile devices. On average, customers abandon their carts 85.65% of the time when shopping on their smartphones and 80.4% of the time when using tablets. The number is a little lower among desktop users, around 73%, but it still indicates ecommerce businesses are missing out on a significant number of potential sales. Since something as simple as a slow-loading page can increase abandonment by 75%, it’s clear that the user experience should be a major focal point if you want to increase your conversions.

Avoid complicated checkout processes.

Simplifying checkout goes a long way toward improving the user experience. Customers spend a lot of time researching and choosing what to buy, and they don’t want delays during the payment process. Make checkout easier by:

  • Minimizing form fields.
  • Not requiring account creation.
  • Enabling social logins.
  • Removing any unnecessary steps.

At the same time, be careful in your streamlining process. Customers prefer checkouts with multiple pages and the option to review their orders prior to payment to prevent mistakes or confusion.

Don’t limit purchasing to just one channel.

Sales platforms for products and services have expanded far beyond business websites. Social commerce is growing fast as platforms introduce ways for customers to redeem offers as they scroll through their feeds, so you need to position yourself where they are.

Social media gives you the opportunity to build trust between consumers and your brand. By allowing them to contact you through your social profiles and giving them the option to pay for purchases on the spot instead of having to use a separate window to navigate to your website, you open the door for more direct connections. Conversations and interactions initiated via social commerce can turn into lifelong customer relationships with high value for your business.

Evaluate your current online payment process in light of these insights. Ask yourself how well your business measures up. You should be offering everything your customers want, avoiding common mistakes, and collecting sales data you can easily analyze and understand. If you don’t have a payment system designed for seamless, integrated credit card processing online, consider upgrading your POS solution to support a better ecommerce experience.

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