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  #1  
Old 01-03-2004, 02:33 PM
riverpast riverpast is offline
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Ecommerce questions


After all the reading on WHT, I got a pretty good idea about merchant account and payment gateway, now I just need some specific recommendations on the shopping cart/merchant account/payment gateway combination.

My needs:
1. Accept payment from different part of world. It should not block any location, although it should do a risk accessment with the location as a consideration.
2. Able to accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AMEX, JCB, Diners Club, and debit card.
3. The shoping cart should give an option to print an order form (so the user can either mail or fax) to us. If the user choose to print the form, payment by check should be an option. Can OSCommerce do that?
4. I wish the shopping cart can also display the price in different currencies, and downloads the exchange rate from somewhere.

Any suggestions?

John



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  #2  
Old 01-03-2004, 06:13 PM
OGSHosting OGSHosting is offline
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For payment gateways/merchants accounts, most around here seem to use either 2checkoout or paysystems. For the shopping cart system and database, I'd recommend mySql and Oscommerce. It's very flexible, and there's an activity community working on various addons for it ("contributions" as they refer to them).

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  #3  
Old 01-03-2004, 07:27 PM
cdgcommerce cdgcommerce is offline
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If you are U.S. based, I'd definitely suggest getting your own individual merchant account & payment gateway so that you have the flexibility to set your payment processing to accept the payments that you want and to screen and/or decline the ones that you don't.

Third party processors generally make those decisions for you and don't give you the flexibility or discretion to customize your order processing exactly the way you want. This is one of the big downsides to 3rd party processors.

That being said - you will definitely want to ask your merchant processor whether or not they allow foreign cards. A few U.S. merchant processors disallow these types of transactions but you can readily find processors that do allow them.

The other card types that you mention aren't any problem with the exception of debit cards. Pure ATM/debit cards can not be processed online due to limitations present with the way online transactions are processed. Dual purpose debit/credit cards CAN however be processed along with check card transactions.

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  #4  
Old 01-03-2004, 07:31 PM
Corey Bryant Corey Bryant is offline
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What part of the world are you in? Do you want your own merchant account or a third party?

Most gateways wil accept payment from all over the world. Worldpay is the one that I know of that gaurantees an interchange rate. I mean - if you are in the US & you sold something for $100.00 to a person using the Euro, that might be about $80.55 right now. But when your batch is ran at night, it might be $80.66

When you apply for a merchant account - you can check Visa/Mastercard, JCB, etc. It will be up to those companies to approve you. Usually Visa/Mastercard is less than 24 hours & AmEx & Discover can take more than a week at times. As far as debit - are you talking about the person entering a PIN? The security for that is not there just yet.

  #5  
Old 01-03-2004, 07:37 PM
cdgcommerce cdgcommerce is offline
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One interesting statistic that may also help when determining which card types you want to accept... for most merchants:

- 85% of all transactions are VISA/MC with VISA representing approx. 2/3 and MC representing 1/3 of that %

- 15% of the remaining ones are split between the other card types, primarily AMEX and DISCOVER with a smaller % being represented by DINER's, JCB, etc.

VISA/MC cards are of course - the "must have" card types. They have the largest marketshare and most cardholders, even if they have another card (Amex, Discover, etc.) will usually have a VISA or MC.

AMEX cards are often used by businesses to make purchases and AMEX cardholders statistically make larger purchases than other card types. So if you have a lot of business customers, resellers, etc. you may want to add this card type.

DISCOVER cards are primarily used by consumers, mostly motivated by the "cash back bonus" that they get at the end of the year.

DINER'S CLUB and JCB are not as frequently used and a lot of Internet merchants do not necessarily need to accept these card types.

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Many thousands of successful, growing businesses benefit from our expertise every day. You can, too!
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Learn more today at http://www.cdgcommerce.com - we look forward to helping your business grow!

  #6  
Old 01-03-2004, 09:10 PM
riverpast riverpast is offline
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Yes I am in US. I am using 3rd party processor right now. I want to use my own merchant account/payment processor.

I have been looking at several merchant accounts. None of them are very clear about other currencies on their web site. PayQuake has one page about it which made me more confused (a little bit). Does it mean without those expensive international options, I cannot do business with other currencies?

I understand solo/switch is a commonly used debit card in Europe. It seems some European based operations can accept that. Is it accepted by any US based merchant account?

Well, the minimum is of course Visa/Master/Discover/Amex. JCB would be nice since I do have Japanese customers. Diner Club...not really necessary.

Does anyone have account at merchantexpress.com? How do they deal with international orders?

  #7  
Old 01-03-2004, 09:17 PM
Corey Bryant Corey Bryant is offline
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JCB is usually very easy to get actually. We have set up quite a few customer for JCB & they are usually approved even before Visa/Mastercard. Not really familiar too much with them other than they seem pretty easy to accept.

merchantexpress.com seems to have good rates but be careful about them with authorizenet.com. I have heard horror sotires that some of the companies that work in conjunction with authorizenet.com change the merchant application before they submit it to the CC processor & they neglect to tell the consumer what the exact charges are going to be from authorizenet.com

  #8  
Old 01-03-2004, 10:01 PM
cartika-andrew cartika-andrew is offline
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Hi Riverpast,

I would recommend a formal merchant account (like the one offered by e-online data/authorize.net). Extensive fraud filter and fairly customizable.

For the shopping cart solution, osCommerce has all the functionality you require, including payment by cheque or PO (for those repeat customers with established terms). It can also handle multiple currencies and even has a really nice auto currency update feature in the control panel.

Hope this helps...

  #9  
Old 01-03-2004, 10:54 PM
riverpast riverpast is offline
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Thank you all for the information. It is getting clearer now. I am leaning towards OSC/merchantexpress.com/authorize.net at this moment. One more question.

How can I handle eCheck or wired transfer payment?

John
www.riverpast.com

  #10  
Old 01-03-2004, 10:56 PM
cartika-andrew cartika-andrew is offline
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Wire transfers can be handled the same way as a check order.

Im not as clear with eCheck, as I havent really used them, but as I understand it, its a function of your merchant provider and is handled similarly to a credit card.

Is someone able to confirm this?


Last edited by cartika-andrew; 01-03-2004 at 11:06 PM.
  #11  
Old 01-03-2004, 11:05 PM
cdgcommerce cdgcommerce is offline
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In answer to Andrew's post, eCheck and EFT processing is usually handled by a separate third party company.

In the case of Authorize.Net, AuthNet has their own in-house eCheck processing service which is naturally compatible with their gateway. So you would likely end up using that service if you setup with AuthNet.

Other EFT processing services do exist, you'll just want to make sure to check to see if they are compatible with your desired billing package prior to signing up with them.

True EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) transactions that go through the ACH have to be underwritten in a similar manner to a merchant account since the EFT processor is taking on a certain level of risk on those transactions.

However, it is usually not hard to add to an existing account and it does cost a LOT less per transaction than a credit card transaction.

__________________
CDGcommerce.com - Trusted Merchant Account Solutions since 1998
Many thousands of successful, growing businesses benefit from our expertise every day. You can, too!
We help merchants to eliminate gateway costs, reduce & mitigate fraud and achieve streamlined PCI compliance.
Learn more today at http://www.cdgcommerce.com - we look forward to helping your business grow!

  #12  
Old 01-03-2004, 11:09 PM
cdgcommerce cdgcommerce is offline
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Also... another helpful note when you are merchant account hunting.

When selecting a merchant account provider, be sure to also ask them about their termination/cancellation fee policies.

Some merchant account providers advertise good rates but when you read the fine print, they have some pretty harsh cancellation policies that can incur a huge cost to merchants if they decide to sell their business, cancel the account or switch to another service.

I've seen termination fees on some merchant account programs that add up to potentially $1,500 or more.

And as we all know... the turnover/churn in the hosting industry is certainly something to consider. It is not uncommon for some Web hosts to sell their portfolios during the first few years or sooner, so you don't want to be responsible for a huge hidden cost.

That, along with checking into their specific policies re: foreign card acceptance, risk management policies, etc. are good things to always make sure to ask about and get an answer -in writing- on from any provider that you interview.

Lastly, in answer to Corey's posting on the AuthNet pricing. Any merchant provider you select *should* give you the access info and then you must confirm the pricing as well as some key merchant information on the Authorize.net initial welcome screen when you first login.

This is the process that is supposed to be followed by merchant account providers to ensure that each merchant using AuthNet agrees to the rates and fees that they have been quoted for that gateway.

If for some reason you are given access info and not required by AuthNet to verify anything at all... that shouldn't really be the case and you can ask AuthNet to confirm your info online.

__________________
CDGcommerce.com - Trusted Merchant Account Solutions since 1998
Many thousands of successful, growing businesses benefit from our expertise every day. You can, too!
We help merchants to eliminate gateway costs, reduce & mitigate fraud and achieve streamlined PCI compliance.
Learn more today at http://www.cdgcommerce.com - we look forward to helping your business grow!

  #13  
Old 01-04-2004, 11:48 AM
riverpast riverpast is offline
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Thanks CDG, I will make sure to ask about the cancellation policies.

Anything else I should ask about?

Thanks

John

  #14  
Old 01-04-2004, 12:30 PM
Corey Bryant Corey Bryant is offline
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Find out how much more it is if it is a non-qual(ified) keyed transaction. This might make it almost 100 basis points (1%) more.

Visa/Mastercard are going to be making some changes to the charges in the next few months unfortunately.

Email a few of the companies & see what their response is. We have been contacted by quite a few but turned down so many because they are not processing enough.

Check to see if they have a minimum - usually $25 sometimes $15. If it is $25.00 & the discount rate is 2.25% - and you process $1125 that month @ 2.25% then that discount rate is $25.31 so you are meeting your monthly minimum. Check to see what the AVS (Address Verification Service) is & a batch fee. Normally the gateway will batch your charges during the night. You should also have the option to batch at any other time. The batch fee is usually the cost of a transaction fee ($0.25) or so.

Here are fees you should never pay:
  • application fee
  • minimum fee
  • set up fee
  • reprogramming fee
  • annual fee
  • membership fee
  • watts fee

Most credit card processors usually have you sign a contract fo about 6 months to start - anything more, stay away from. 2 years is a long time. And then after the first 6 months - you are usually on a month to month.

  #15  
Old 01-04-2004, 02:25 PM
cdgcommerce cdgcommerce is offline
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It is also good to ask about what level/scope of technical and customer support is provided by merchant account companies that you interview.

You may also want to ask what control they have over merchants they sign up. I.e. can they directly make account changes for you and handle customer service functions like bank account changes, DBA changes, address changes?

Or do they have to refer these tasks to other parties that have to make these changes, beyond their own direct control.

Setting up a merchant account - while it can be a fast and painless process and there are good options out there - is nonetheless a very important financial decision to ask a lot of questions, it can only help you out to do so.

__________________
CDGcommerce.com - Trusted Merchant Account Solutions since 1998
Many thousands of successful, growing businesses benefit from our expertise every day. You can, too!
We help merchants to eliminate gateway costs, reduce & mitigate fraud and achieve streamlined PCI compliance.
Learn more today at http://www.cdgcommerce.com - we look forward to helping your business grow!

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