What is E-Commerce? Good question.
According to the U.S.
Economic Census of 2002, E-Commerce (or electronic
commerce) is defined as "any business transaction
whose price or essential terms were negotiated over
an online system such as an Internet, Extranet, Electronic
Data Interchange network, or electronic mail system.
It does not include transactions negotiated via facsimile
machine or switched telephone network, or payments
made online for transactions whose terms were negotiated
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Authorize.net is one of the world's
leading gateway providers for merchant
accounts. With a recent installation of
cutting edge technology to combat DDNOS
attacks, Authorize.net is fully equipped
to maintain a reliable network that is
always accessible for your transactions.
directly to get your Merchant Account
set up started or call us at 1-229-243-7088.
BIG ADVANTAGE: One of
the biggest advantages of using Authorize.net
as your gateway provider is that Online
Stores designed by WebGraffix Media Solutions
are easy to integrate with Authorize.net
to allow for "real time" credit
card payments by the public.
What is a
"Gateway" and what is a "Merchant Account"?
These two terms are often confused and many web sites
purposely make it purposely vague. Here are the facts:
- A "Merchant Account" can be defined
as a "bank account" established with a
payment processor for the settlement of credit card
transactions. A merchant who wants to take credit
card orders must establish a merchant account. Internet
merchants need a "Card Not Present Merchant
Account." Standard merchant accounts often
do not allow for transactions where the credit card
is not physically able to be swiped or read, thus
internet transactions may not be possible on a standard
merchant account without updating the account type
with your merchant account provider.
- A "Gateway" can be defined as a computer
system or mechanism for exchanging information across
incompatible networks by translating between two
dissimilar protocol. The "Gateway" is
the mechanism that translates the "order form"
from your web site so that it is understood by the
merchant account provider.
- A "Gateway Provider" is a business or
entity that transforms that data from your web site's
order form to a format that can be understood and
processed by the Merchant Account Provider. Typically,
these are 2 separate entities, although in some
cases the same company or entity may provide both.
- When setting up a merchant account, be sure to
specifically ask if there are separate fees for
the "gateway" and ask if the Merchant
Account Provider provides the gateway or if someone
else will have to do that.
- Expected Fees:
- Merchant Account monthly fees:
This fee will vary from one provider to the
next, but anywhere in the $25 to $50 per month
range is nominal
- "Discount" fees per transaction:
You pay a certain percent of the total transaction
to the credit card provider (VISA, AMEX, etc.)
when a purchase is made through your web site.
- Gateway Provider monthly fee:
This fee will vary from one provider to the
next, but anywhere around $25 per month is nominal.
- Statement fee: This fee is
almost always hidden or "forgotten"
when the Merchant Account Provider is going
over expected fees. This is usually around $10
per month. Be sure to specifically ask if there
is a monthly statement fee.
- "Declined Transaction" fee:
Some of the credit card companies have elected
to charge a $0.25 fee for each transaction that
a consumer attempts through your web site that
is declined. It is the opinion of WebGraffix
Media Solutions owners that this fee is entirely
unacceptable and is thus the reason why we only
accept VISA and MasterCard.
- Total Monthly fees: In general, you can expect
a total monthly fee of approximately $50 to
$70 per month for an internet-enabled merchant
account (plus the cost of the per transaction
"discount" fees). If any company advertises
costs that are significantly cheaper than this,
be sure to ask LOTS OF QUESTIONS and be wary.
The Basics of E-Commerce:
(with internet access)
(location of web site)
Secure Digital Transmission
(location of payment form)
* Note: The payment processing could
entail you simply logging on through a password protected
directory to retrieve the data so that you can process
it manually or it may entail the credit card information
being processed automatically through a payment gateway
to your Merchant Account.
If you're thinking of developing an e-commerce web
site, there are several factors that you will want
to consider, each of which is critical to developing
a successful e-commerce web site:
- Some products are better suited to selling via
e-commerce than others. Ask yourself if your product
can be sold with minimal customer to salesperson
interaction? Can shipping be calculated automatically
in some way? Are there special options which would
be difficult to incorporate into an automated system?
- You will need to decide how you will process payments.
You may decide to use a web-based processing system
such as PayPal or WorldPay
that doesn't require you to set up a Merchant Account.
The disadvantage of doing this is that you usually
require your customer to set up an account at the
payment solution provider. Many people will not
do this. If you decide to accept credit cards, then
you will need to set up a Merchant Account through
a Merchant Account Provider. WebGraffix Media Solutions
is an Authorize.net provider and can set this up
for you, eliminating the confusion and ensuring
that you don't pay more than you have to pay.
If you decide to accept credit card payments, then
you need to decide whether to develop your web site
to process the credit card payment automatically
or to receive the payment information yourself and
submit the credit card payment manually.
- An "Online Store" is usually the best
method of selling your products, especially if you
have a large quantity of products to sell. It's
best to ensure that your web developer can develop
your Online Store to do everything you need it to
do BEFORE you commit. Be sure to ask questions about
how shipping is handled, how the payment information
is transmitted, how you will retrieve the payment
information, any special features that you may need
for your Online Store, etc.
- Security is of utmost importance and needs to
be conveyed to the customer. Be sure that any confidential
payment information is transmitted over a secure
server. You can tell this in several ways: many
browsers will display a closed lock when you are
viewing a secure server while others may display
it in other ways. You should always be able to see
that the beginning of the URL (web address) when
you are on a secure page begins with https: (notice
the "s" just prior to the colon. Non-secure
pages will not have the "s" present.
- Your Online Store should be flexible enough to
allow you to change your product line from time
to time. This will often be directly dependent upon
the programming ability of your web developer and
- Don't get conned! Be aware of the fact that there
are people that will attempt to con you out of a
product while paying with a stolen credit card.
There are several "red flags" that are
often present in cases such as this:
Note: Just because a customer exhibits some or all
of these characteristics does automatically classify
the transaction as illegal, but it should be a cause
for closer scrutiny at the very least.
- The "Shipping Address" will often
be different than the "Billing Address".
- The customer will often be from another country,
making it very difficult to track down and recover.
Criminals will often hide behind the laws of
- The customer will try to get you to "rush"
the item (hoping to receive it before the card
is reported stolen or before the chargeback
hits your merchant account).
- Items will often be purchased in larger quantities
than normal (especially diamonds and jewelry,
for instance) without a seeming logical explanation
from the customer.
- You will often only be able to reach the customer
via email and then it will often be a commercially
available email account such as a Yahoo