How do I Choose the Best Online Credit Card Processor?

Carol Francois

The best online credit card processor must be able to ensure all transactions are secure and allow vendors to accept multiple types of credit cards. An online credit card processor is typically a subsidiary of a bank or other financial institution. The ability to accept payments online is an essential part of electronic commerce, and the process gained widespread acceptance after financial institutions were able to provide assurances that the credit card information is safe.

Online credit card processors determine which cards will be accepted for payment.
Online credit card processors determine which cards will be accepted for payment.

The most important item to consider when looking for an online credit card processor is its ability to provide the best security possible to credit card data. During the purchasing process, the shopper is required to enter the credit card number, its security code and the name and address of the cardholder. In the wrong hands, this information can be used to create false charges that can siphon funds from the credit card's owner into the hands of criminals.

An online credit card processor determines which cards can be accepted by the supplier. Some simple analysis of the cards used by existing customers provides information about which cards should be available as a form of online payment. Typically, Mastercard®, Visa®, and American Express® are the cards offered by online credit card processors.

The first task to complete when looking to select an online credit card processor is to determine the volume of transactions each day, month and year. This information can be obtained from an analysis of payment history over the previous two or three years. The volume of transactions and the total dollar value is an important consideration when selecting an online credit card processor, because most service providers base their service fees on a portion of the revenue or number of transactions.

In addition to the volume of transactions and total money spent through this channel, it would be a good idea to collect information about the geographical location of your clients. Including these details in a scope document will help service providers create an accurate quotation and the basis of a service-level agreement. Provide this document to at least three different service providers, and include the deadline date for responses.

Included in the written responses will be a recommended service level, along with at least two alternate plans. Take time to review this aspect of the response in detail. There should be a primary contact, 24-hour customer service telephone line and a guaranteed response time for all high-level inquiries.

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