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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Disadvantages of Electronic Payment Systems



Electronic payment systems include credit and debit cards, online banking and electronic cash. Most of us commonly make use of electronic payment facilities. Do we know the disadvantages of electronic payment systems? To know them, read on…

The transfer of funds from one party to another over electronic media is known as electronic payment system. The different approaches to electronic payments include, card payment, mail order and online payment. Online transactions are a daily activity for almost everyone today. With the introduction of the Internet, online transactions became easy. Most of the big product and service companies made their network presence prominent and started interacting with their customers over the web. Online shopping soon became popular. With financial institutions, walking on similar lines, people around the world began performing their financial transactions through the Internet. Credit and debit cards became a commonplace feature and gave impetus to the electronic payment systems.

While most of us prefer the convenience in payments that the electronic payment systems have brought about, some dislike the idea of electronic money. They feel uncomfortable in performing online transactions. Though only the positive change brought about by the e-payment systems is highlighted, we cannot ignore the disadvantages of electronic payment systems. One must be aware of the privacy and security concerns raised by electronic payment systems.

Disadvantages of Electronic Payment Systems

Most of the online banking sites as also the online financial transaction sites require you to open an online account with them. You need to register to the institution in order to be authorized to perform money transactions with them. This involves a username and a password, which implies the need of password protection. You also need to maintain an account per organization, which can make it bothersome for some of you.

For secure online transactions, the site that hosts your account should follow strict security policies. If the passwords are susceptible to being hacked, it can mean a serious financial loss for you. Banks or financial institutes, which maintain your personal information, cannot afford to expose it to hackers. There is a potential risk of your personal and account details being stolen.

One of the most severe disadvantages of electronic payment systems is that of identity theft. The available security measures can prevent the sensitive information from being exposed. But it is important to use virus protection or firewalls for your computer. It is important to carry out money transactions over a secure server.

There is a great risk involves in the theft or the losing of the smart cards. In case the cards fall in unsafe hands, there is a danger of the expenditure of your entire bank balance. There are measures to inform the concerned authorities about the loss of the card. But, the time between losing the card and informing the authorities is critical. Unauthorized users may carry out transactions in your name during this period of time.

Mostly, electronic cash is based on cryptographic systems. The transactions are encoded by means of numeric keys while the transaction details travel across the net. Though electronic payments are resistant to forgery, the keys are vulnerable to attack.

This was not to discourage you from taking to electronic payments. It was rather to make you aware of the disadvantages of electronic payment systems. While we are moving towards a paperless environment, we are inviting issues related to electronic security.
By Manali Oak

Friday, July 23, 2010

International Business To Business Payments

With the huge amounts of business transacted online, there is a growing concern amongst businesses about managing payments. Business to business (B2B) payments at the international level are a major concern since the amounts tend to be larger and the charges are appreciable. This results in some loss in profits, which makes global commerce less attractive. From the smallest business operating on the web to huge conglomerates that transfer large amounts of funds internationally, everyone wants cost efficiency in their payment system. The issue is, of course, larger in the international payment segment because there is the currency rate to consider as well. So both types of losses, in currency and in transfer charges, need to be kept to a minimum.

Third party ePayment systems -

These are popular but require the user to open an account, similar to a bank account. Finding the most efficient one for your size of company is also a little tricky. They come in many sizes from consumer-oriented PayPal and 2checkout.com to Orbian for large businesses. These e-Payment systems work fairly well and charge up to 5% of funds transferred.

Wire transfer -

This is the good, old fashioned method of transferring money directly from bank account to bank account. It is completed by the bank and requires the swift code of the recipient's bank and their account number. This is considered to be a safe and fairly efficient way to make international B2B payments. However, banks can charge quite a hefty amount in fees and charges. You must find out the currency rate as well, if that is a concern. Additionally one thing that is required to be kept in mind is to make absolutely certain that the company to whom the payment is being made is a legitimate and an authentic company as once the funds have left your account, they are not recoverable.

Credit cards/ corporate credit cards -

Many companies are less than willing to hand out corporate credit cards and employees will not use their personal ones for company business. So, unless you are a small business, the use of credit cards is rare in international business to business payments. It can also be fairly expensive.

Check -

Unless you have an already existing relationship with the businesses you are selling to, a check may not be the best way to receive payments from B2B sales on the internet. There are hardly any successful online businesses that are known to conduct business with this method of payment. However, this form of payment can be viable where a low transaction fee is important and the product does not have to be delivered immediately. Remember, you can never be certain of receiving the payment until the check is cleared and payment is credited to your account.

If you have an online business, be sure to check which form of payment integrates best with your business. For example, if you are selling online software, the consumer may want to make payment and download the product right away. A wire transfer may not be the best option. For subscription based or recurring payments, a platform like PayPal offers incomparable functionality. It allows you to automatically charge customers on a monthly basis and also sends you intimations of payment failures.

There are many options for receiving international payments. Your best bet would be to keep a couple of options open and decide on a case by case basis which suits you best for a particular B2B transaction.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Finding the Right Online Shopping Cart Solution



A small 12 point checklist to refer to before integrating an online shopping cart solution.
A shopping cart serves as the frontend that transfers information through a secure connection to a payment gateway. The payment gateway interacts with your merchant bank account to process the information. It then sends back a confirmation or denial back to the shopping cart software.

Building your own customized shopping cart may not give you as many features as available in third party shopping carts. There are a number of online shopping carts available. Before purchasing a cart keep a small checklist handy so that you can pick the right one.

Script compatibility with the hosting
Shopping cart scripts are written in many different coding formats - PERL, PHP, ASP etc. check compatibility with your host before purchasing.

Installation and code modification
How easy is a cart to install on your server? Can the code be modified to give the same look and feel as your website? These are some areas you would need to check before making a purchase.

Back-up files support
Check on the support for backing up files and allowing for export into a variety of formats.

Payment gateway services supported
Most carts support multiple gateway services. Before purchasing your cart, review the gateway services supported as well as the compatibility of the payment gateway with your merchant account.

Order Completion Details
Ensure that the shopping cart has an option to send an email confirmation when a customer completes an order as well as a reminder to print the order details.

Provide a choice of Shipping Carriers
For confirmed orders the customer should be able to link directly to the carrier site so as to track the progress of shipment. The shipping should be able to offer a choice of carriers. In addition the cart should be able to calculate shipping and tax in real time from USPS, USP, FEDEX etc. as well as provide an option to include or keep shipping costs separate.

Multiple Product upload
The cart should give you the option of bulk uploading of products. The product pages should be SEO friendly. While uploading product images do you have to put in one large image and one small image of every product or can you just put in one image and auto generate thumbnails? If you auto generate thumbnails you save time, web space and bandwidth. In addition you should also be able to create and manage your product attributes.

Content management tool
Check if the store has the option to add new content pages. This is important as you need to serve content pages for the crawlers to pick up and display your web pages.

Newsletter functions
This should not be a critical feature but having a newsletter option would help in an online website promotion.

Gift certificates, promotions and discounts
Having auto responders to gauge customer satisfaction as well as to inform about special offers and promotions would help with the online marketing.

Search Engine Friendly features
Some shopping carts provide a number of search engine friendly parameters that can be customized for all the uploaded products. Check if the cart supports addition of title tags, meta tags, alt tags, breadcrumbs for optimization. This would be an important aspect as you want your products to be reachable to a wider audience.

Most product pages are displayed with query strings and hamper indexing of the site product pages. Since the main purpose of selling products is for the product pages to be "found" it is important that the cart provides an option to change query strings to static urls. This will ensure that the site is accessible to search engines and may contribute to improved search engine rankings.

Also check if the cart provides the option of a sitemap or an XML sitemap generation.

Affiliate modules and Banner Advertising controls
Some carts support affiliate modules. If your website has a requirement then check to see that affiliate module should be able to handle the signing up process, track statistics, provide payment details made to affiliates.

Keep the checklist in mind, however base your choice on the type of products you sell and the catalog of products. Selecting An Online Shopping Cart
Online shopping cart features.

By Sabinder Kaur

Shopping Cart Software



CRELoaded and osCommerce shopping cart software makes it easy to add an online shopping feature to your site.
Shopping cart software, such as CRE Loaded and osCommerce make it easy, for those starting an online shopping site, to design and launch. With thousands of pre-made templates to choose from, online shop owners have the ability to customize the designs and match it to their site needs and message.

A shopping cart is an essential piece of any online shopping site, but can also pose problems and be difficult to implement for new business owners. With shopping cart software, the hard part is done. The software used in CRE Loaded and osCommerce seamlessly integrates with the online shopping sites and handles receivables, inventory, shipping. These back end features are critical to running any business that deals with products and incoming payments.

A hosting company is very important when launching these kinds of sites. Not just any hosting company will do. Online store owners should work with a hosting company that specializes in ecommerce and shopping. CRE Loaded and osCommerce require ecommerce hosting solutions for small businesses that work to run the back end more efficiently than any ordinary hosting company. Think of the shopping cart software as part of your front end service and the hosting company as your back end service. All of these components must work well together for any business to be successful and to turn a profit.

Leven Ten Hosting works with CRE Loaded and osCommerce to provide hosting services catering to the specific needs of online shopping sites. Some hosting companies cannot deal with the intricate needs of the shopping cart software features that a site will have. As with anything else, if a company specializes in something, they are typically the best at it and a great choice for what you are trying to accomplish.

CRE Loaded and osCommerce shopping cart software allow online stores to process sales quickly and effectively, resulting in return visitors, referrals and ultimately more revenue. A sticky site is a site that visitors linger on and a sticky site statistically produces more revenue. The longer visitors spend browsing your site the more chance they will make a purchase. A well designed site with fast connectivity speeds will offer a much better user experience than one that does not. These sites will retain more visitors in their user friendly environment. Do not lose customers because of slow browsing speeds or a poorly executed shopping cart function. If you have a great product, make sure your site is great as well. Level Ten Hosting
Shopping Cart Software.

By Ray Subs

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How to Process Credit Cards

A brief description of what must be done to help your company be able to accept credit cards.
Enlarge ImageCredit cards are almost prolific these days. You can’t survive as a business unless you can accept them as a form of payment. Though it is easy for consumers to accept credit cards it isn’t quite so easy for the company accepting the credit cards. Between the legal requirements and the technical requirements of implementing a credit card processing system, accepting credit cards can be a confusing and stressful process. However, a credit card processing company should be able to help overcome many of those barriers.

Find a Merchant Account

A merchant account is an account that allows a business to accept credit cards. It is just a special account that acts as an intermediary account between the payment gateway and the business. Though most merchant accounts act the same way the services that the payment gateway provides can be extremely varied.

Before you even start to look for a merchant account or start processing credit cards, you need to define exactly what your needs are. Below is a list of question to help get you thinking.

- Will you take orders over the phone?

- Will you be taking orders on the Internet?

If so, you will need an ecommerce merchant account.

- Will you be taking orders off line or both?

- How much money will you be processing?

- How advanced do you need your equipment to be?

- What credit cards do you want to accept?

- What other payment options do you want to be able to accept?

Will you be accepting checks?

- How long do you plan to be in business?

This list is just a few items to get you started. It is so important to analyze your business because each merchant account will give you different a different mix of features and cost structures. If have at least some basic knowledge about your business when you start to look for merchant accounts you will be miles ahead of the competition.

Because there are so many different options you will want to look at several different companies to find the right fit for your company. Request lots of information and talk to the sales people. Not all companies will post all of the information that you need on the internet. After you find a company that you like wait a week to think about it and make sure you feel good about it before you commit to their merchant account because chances are you will not change merchant accounts soon.

Justin Grover – to request information about merchant accounts and other payment gateway services at Verus Card Service.
By 10x Marketing

Credit Card Processing

The credit card processing system allows stores and other businesses that sell products and services to receive almost immediate compensation for their sales. This invisible system is largely responsible for the seemingly endless growth of our economy. Many individuals around the world take advantage of the benefits that credit cards have to offer. Most individuals in the United States make use of at least one credit card. Many have more than this. Apart from offering convenience in purchases, these nifty little pieces of plastic offer safe, secure transactions and limit the need to carry large amounts of cash. If you have been interested in obtaining a credit card, but would like to learn more about how they work, we will outline a simple history of the credit card, as well as the steps required in the credit card processing procedures.

Credit lines have been used all throughout history. Evidence of credit has been traced to the ancient Babylonians. The simple barter systems used by so many of our ancestors were types of credit lines. However, in the early 1900’s, a precursor of the credit card was created by numerous businesses in order to assist individuals with purchases that they were unable to afford outright. This continued until the 1950’s when the first true credit card was created by The Diners Club of America. A few years later, Americans were introduced to the ever-popular American Express.

As time progressed a few new credit cards (VISA, MasterCard and Discover) entered the market. These credit cards established the basis of the fees and charges that are associated with the credit cards of today. In addition to establishing guidelines for credit, a new system emerged. This system would allow stores and other businesses that sold products and services to individuals to receive almost immediate compensation for products that were sold using a credit card. This is what really got merchants rolling when it came to accepting various types of credit cards. The credit card company would simply pay the merchant for the purchase, and deal directly with the individual that made the purchase for repayment.

Credit card processing is a very simple process as far as you, the customer, is concerned. The merchant at the store at which you are making your purchase simply slides your credit card through a machine that reads it. It will add the amount of the purchase to your credit card balance. Immediately thereafter, you will be required to sign the credit card slip to approve the purchase, and all is done.

The following steps identify the key steps involved in the credit card processing procedure "behind the scenes":

1) First, the credit card machine will read the magnetic strip that is on the back of the card.

2) Once the strip has been read, it will transmit electronically the information to the company that authorizes the request.

3) The authorization involves the bank that issued the credit card, as well as the credit card company.

4) It will be determined whether the individual has the funds necessary to make the request. If this is confirmed, then a deposit is made to the merchant’s bank.

5) Within a very short period of time, the purchase will be confirmed on the credit card account of the individual, who is responsible for payment of the charge, according to the terms of the bank that issued the customer the card..

The actual behind the scenes steps are a lot more detailed than outlined here, involving the merchant’s card processing company, the credit card company, the processing company and the customer’s bank that issued the credit card. A lot of software is involved, as well as computer programming, fraud prevention techniques and authorization procedures that take place instantaneously with the customer’s purchase.

But this invisible processing system is largely responsible for the seemingly endless growth of our economy.

Michael Rupkalvis manages The Transaction Group website. The site provides information about ecommerce credit card processing and offers merchants low fee iinternet merchant accounts, along with excellent customer service.
By Michael Rupkalvis

Disadvantages of Electronic Payment Systems

Electronic payment systems include credit and debit cards, online banking and electronic cash. Most of us commonly make use of electronic payment facilities. Do we know the disadvantages of electronic payment systems? To know them, read on…The transfer of funds from one party to another over electronic media is known as electronic payment system. The different approaches to electronic payments include, card payment, mail order and online payment. Online transactions are a daily activity for almost everyone today. With the introduction of the Internet, online transactions became easy. Most of the big product and service companies made their network presence prominent and started interacting with their customers over the web. Online shopping soon became popular. With financial institutions, walking on similar lines, people around the world began performing their financial transactions through the Internet. Credit and debit cards became a commonplace feature and gave impetus to the electronic payment systems.

While most of us prefer the convenience in payments that the electronic payment systems have brought about, some dislike the idea of electronic money. They feel uncomfortable in performing online transactions. Though only the positive change brought about by the e-payment systems is highlighted, we cannot ignore the disadvantages of electronic payment systems. One must be aware of the privacy and security concerns raised by electronic payment systems.

Disadvantages of Electronic Payment Systems

Most of the online banking sites as also the online financial transaction sites require you to open an online account with them. You need to register to the institution in order to be authorized to perform money transactions with them. This involves a username and a password, which implies the need of password protection. You also need to maintain an account per organization, which can make it bothersome for some of you.

For secure online transactions, the site that hosts your account should follow strict security policies. If the passwords are susceptible to being hacked, it can mean a serious financial loss for you. Banks or financial institutes, which maintain your personal information, cannot afford to expose it to hackers. There is a potential risk of your personal and account details being stolen.

One of the most severe disadvantages of electronic payment systems is that of identity theft. The available security measures can prevent the sensitive information from being exposed. But it is important to use virus protection or firewalls for your computer. It is important to carry out money transactions over a secure server.

There is a great risk involves in the theft or the losing of the smart cards. In case the cards fall in unsafe hands, there is a danger of the expenditure of your entire bank balance. There are measures to inform the concerned authorities about the loss of the card. But, the time between losing the card and informing the authorities is critical. Unauthorized users may carry out transactions in your name during this period of time.

Mostly, electronic cash is based on cryptographic systems. The transactions are encoded by means of numeric keys while the transaction details travel across the net. Though electronic payments are resistant to forgery, the keys are vulnerable to attack.

This was not to discourage you from taking to electronic payments. It was rather to make you aware of the disadvantages of electronic payment systems. While we are moving towards a paperless environment, we are inviting issues related to electronic security.
By Manali Oak