Payment services can transform your Web site from a simple informational tool to a virtual storefront where customers can shop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the comfort of their own homes.
In addition to a shopping cart feature, you will need a merchant account and a secured sockets layer (SSL) certificate in order to offer your customers secure online payments.
A merchant account is simply a bank account that accepts credit card payments. Because most online transactions use credit cards, you will need a merchant account if you are going to sell products on your Web site.
The merchant account handles fraud checks and manages the transfer of funds from customers’ credit cards to your account. Many different financial institutions offer merchant accounts.
In addition to the account, you will need to secure your site to protect customers’ financial information.
An SSL certificate is an attachment to an electronic message that contains two keys: a public key and a private key. It is used to offer secure online credit card payments.
The public key encrypts the sender’s data and can be seen by anyone. The private key, however, is known only to the receiver and must be used to decrypt the data. The dual-key system is one of the most popular ways to offer secure online payments. It is virtually impossible to figure out the private key using the public key.