It is crucial to conduct thorough research and evaluation prior to making a decision on an online payment processor. The ideal payment processor should provide the payment options that your customers use, and also offer solutions to protect against fraud and chargebacks. Our editors have studied and evaluated a variety of top-performing solutions based on features, coverage options, customer experience, customizability, cost and much more.

To process credit card payments the business requires a merchant account as well as a payment gateway and a payment processor. A payment processor is an organization that manages all transaction details, carries the transaction through the processing network, and works with the bank to make sure you receive a payment for your goods or services.

The process starts when a customer purchases something through your site using credit or debit card. They enter their payment information into the form on your website, which then securely transmits it to the processor who processes the transaction via a payment gateway. The processor communicates with the card issuer and confirms whether the cardholder has sufficient credit to pay for the transaction. When the issuing bank either accepts or denies the payment the processor sends a response to the gateway and to your website. The message may be simple, “Your payment was approved,” or more detailed, “Your payment was declined.”

The processor then forwards the data about the day’s transactions to the card network, and transfers funds from card issuers to the merchant bank. After a short time of settlement, the acquiring bank transfers the funds to the account of your merchant. The entire process generally takes only a few moments.

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