Accepting Payments on your Website

April 20, 2018 by Tim Lewis

Many people want to know how easy it is to accept payments on your website.  In actually it’s very easy but if you’re not overly tech-minded you may want to have your web developer set this up for you.  A simple, less costly way is to simply put a button on your page with code generated by Paypal, which then redirects to Paypal to take payments there.  This is fairly easy to implement but has two drawbacks.  First, it makes you look like a small-time player because you are redirecting to a 3rd party website to accept payments.  Second, many people, especially older generations are unsure what Paypal is, and may be shy to pay that way, thinking they need a Paypal account.  The payments page at Paypal is laid out in such a way that it LOOKS like you need a Paypal account but buyers can actually checkout with a credit or debit card without actually creating one.

For a better buying experience, in our view it’s better to accept payments right on your website.  The fundamentals are as follows:

  1.  Set up a Payment Gateway.  This is a service that acts as the bridge between your website and your bank account, or your 3rd party merchant service if you already have a merchant services account set up.  There are many such services, and here are a few of them listed here: Authorize.Net, Stripe, Paypal Payments Pro (for a fee you can accept payments right on your website), Square.
  2. Once you’ve set up a Payment Gateway service, they will provide you with an application login ID and app key, which are two very long strings of digits. These act like your “credentials” and give your website authorization to “talk” to your payment gateway.  Your web developer will need these numbers to set up the payments on your website.
  3. If you are using WordPress, the most popular shopping cart is a plugin called WooCommerce. There are many integrations already built in that accept the most popular gateways, it’s just a matter of inputting the proper credentials from your payment gateway service.
  4. You also want to ensure the security of your website by making sure it has an HTTPS:// connection.  This type of connection protects any data (such as credit card data) that may be sent from your site’s visitors to the payment gateway, and would also be a requirement of the payment gateway.
  5. The next step after setting up your payment gateway is determining what taxes to collect, shipping and shipping methods, which we’ll cover in a future article.