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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict dotancohen's Avatar
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    Advicefor online credit card processor

    Although I have written several websites in the past (in php), I have never had to handle credit card transactions before. A close associate wants to move his existing business online, and we must accept credit cards. He has an Israeli merchant account. I have spent some time on google, but found lots of conflicting information as to the costs and fees and processes regarding accepting credit cards online. The partner would like to avoid paypal, as it seems to unprofessional for his tastes.

    The site will be hosted on a Redhat machine, Apache, php, mysql,...

    1) I know that I will need a secure server. Is there really any difference from where I get the certificate?

    2) What tools do I have for communicating with the credit card processor. I understand that I must send and parse XML- are there any classes in php that make this easier?

    3) Any other gotcha's?

    Thank you.
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  2. #2
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotancohen
    1) I know that I will need a secure server. Is there really any difference from where I get the certificate?
    Not really. As of now the major browsers honor a $30 goddady certificate the same as they honor a $300 thawte certificate. This will change in the future but that's still a long ways off.

    Quote Originally Posted by dotancohen
    2) What tools do I have for communicating with the credit card processor. I understand that I must send and parse XML- are there any classes in php that make this easier?
    The gateway you use (as they are theones you will communicate with, not the actual processor itself) should have a test mode of sorts that allows to you test your integration. Many of them also offer sample ocde to use for that in the common server side programming languages.

    Quote Originally Posted by dotancohen
    3) Any other gotcha's?
    From a programming point of view: no. From the merchant account point of view: yep.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict dotancohen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee
    From a programming point of view: no. From the merchant account point of view: yep.
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  4. #4
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    Merchant account issues can be things like: Chargebacks, fraudulent orders (esp. dealing with intl orders - watch out for thousand dollar orders from the phillipines). Nothing is worse than receiving an order, shipping product, and then getting a chargeback on that order. Not only are you out the amount of the order itself, but you've also lost the physical product as well...

    Be crazy paranoid about fraud

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict dotancohen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoW_15
    Merchant account issues can be things like: Chargebacks, fraudulent orders (esp. dealing with intl orders - watch out for thousand dollar orders from the phillipines). Nothing is worse than receiving an order, shipping product, and then getting a chargeback on that order. Not only are you out the amount of the order itself, but you've also lost the physical product as well...

    Be crazy paranoid about fraud
    Wow, thanks. I'll remember that!
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  6. #6
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Chargebacks are your number one concern as an online merchant. Read the SitePoint article The Chargeback Challenge to learn more.

    Fraudulant orders are also a serious problem. Internet orders make up such a small portion of all sales yet they account for 75% of all credit card fraud. Your best bet is to not accept international orders. But, if you do, to limit which countries you ship. You need to be aware of the signs of fraud (request for overnight shipping, large orders, multiple orders).

    When looking for a merchant account be sure to shop around. There are a lot of providers out there with varying rates. On the surface it may seem like someone has something special to offer but in the end it's your overall costs that really matter. Compare at least four providers.

    Make sure you don't get an account that has amonthly minimum. No matter how the sales agent spins it this fee is only one thing: a penalty to small merchants. This fee is charged if you don't process enough credit card sales. If someone says they have one, walk away.

    Make sure the rates quoted to you include AVS. AVS has to occur with every Internet sale so if they don't mention it to you they're essentially hiding it. Once again, walk away.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict dotancohen's Avatar
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    Well, I expect most of my business to be international as my home country has a poplulation of about 7 million. But I will keep your siggestions in mind. Thanks.
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  8. #8
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    Thawte and Verisign certs seem to be the most popular but you can use any cert. We use Digicert.


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