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The Credit Card Question
By: Terri Wells
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    Table of Contents:
  • The Credit Card Question
  • Types of Merchant Accounts
  • How Does it Work?
  • Fees and Other Questions

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    The Credit Card Question - How Does it Work?

    (Page 3 of 4 )

    There are three parts involved in a credit card transaction when a customer buys something from you online. The first part is your order form. This is what the customer sees when they decide they want to purchase your goods or services, and clicks to access your order form on your website. You will need to have software in place that collects client and billing information. This information must be stored in a way that it can be accepted by the payment gateway.

    The second part is the payment gateway. Sometimes called the virtual terminal, this transmits your customer’s order information to your merchant account provider. It works in real time, like a store clerk swiping a card through a reader. In this case, your customers enter their credit card numbers through the computer. The transaction should complete in less than 10 seconds, at which point you receive an email letting you know about the sale.

    The third part is, in a sense, the merchant account itself. The merchant account provider receives a transmission from the virtual terminal when the transaction is completed. This transmission contains the billing information received from the customer. In this way, the merchant account provider knows how much business you’re doing…and of course, how much to charge you in fees.

    Speaking of fees, one of the things you should ask to see when shopping around for a credit card merchant account provider is a typical bill. You should then ask for an explanation of all fees listed on the bill. Of course, you’re probably thinking more in terms of how quickly you can see the money from these online transactions. It is worth noting that a merchant account provider should be able to send the money from credit card transactions into whatever bank account you specify. Some merchants advertise that you will receive the money within 48-72 hours. This is not unreasonable.

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