How to receive money from your buyers, what payment options to offer in your store, how to set them up - this article will cover all questions you might have concerning payments.
Introduction: Dude, Where's My Money? Or, How do I receive the payments?
When you're buying something in a retail store, it's all clear about payment: you give cash or your card to the seller who charges you on the spot. And what about online stores? How can I get my money? - You may be asking yourself when thinking on opening such a shop. We say, it's easy as well.
With your Online Store, you will run a robust online store that is built right into your site pages (or blog or social profile, or all in one) and functions as its integral part. And your store provides different ways to accept payments, starting from wire transfers to credit cards. This article will shed the light on how it all works and what to do actually to receive payments.
And we will start from the very beginning...
Follow "Continue" button, or How do customers buy?
Let us split the buying process into several steps:
1. Customer browses your catalog, adds some items to the bag, and goes to checkout (opens their bag and clicks 'Checkout' button)
2. Submits shipping address (if the items are shipped) and picks up a shipping method
3. Chooses a preferred payment method, submits a billing address
4. Completes the order.
Step #4 can be divided into more steps, and differs depending on what payment method is chosen. We will break it down later, and now we're concentrating on general information about payment methods.
So your first order, you're contemplating its details in your control panel, at Sales page. And here comes The Question, "Where did the money go?". The first thing you should know is, the Online Store doesn't store or transfer the money to you. Rather it serves as a go-between in processing payments: Your store keeps your customers' and orders data and provides you with tools to arrange payments and manage the orders.
Payment method is how your customers will send you the money for your goods. Generally every online store can support two types of payment methods: online and offline.
Online payment means that the funds are transferred to you (to your payment account) immediately the customer confirms the payment.
Offline payment implies that the money is transferred later since the customer is supposed to arrange the transfer offsite: for ex., go to a nearby bank to transfer the money (that would be bank/wire transfer payment method), or you should give the customer a call to agree on the payment ("Phone order" payment method), or customer will give cash to the courier, etc.
Let us go in detail on each method type.
Online payment methods, Or I want to accept credit cards.
The process of receiving money for your sales via an online payment method involves three parties:
- your store,
- payment gateway: special system, located outside your store but connected to it on programming level, that processes your customers' credit cards (or e.g. PayPal accounts) and does charging,
- your merchant account at the payment gateway connected to your bank account.
To put it simply, your store connects to the payment gateway, transmits the order details, the payment gateway processes customer's credit card and transfers the money to your merchant account. Then you can withdraw the funds to your bank account and pay your bills or go to a seaside.
For those you'd like to know more we made up a separate article describing these procedures in detail: How online payment methods work
Online payment methods may well be narrowed down to 2 ones:
- accepting credit/debit cards,
- PayPal, a leading payment processor in US presently.
To provide credit card payment option, you should choose a payment gateway through which your funds will be processed. So our next question is -
What payment gateway should I choose for my store?
Choosing a payment gateway actually means to choose a company (payment processor) who meets the following criteria:
a) They accept payments in your region, i.e. where you live or run your business, and allow paying with your currency. It could be a company working solely in your country like Bancomer for Mexican merchants, QIWI for Russian, etc, or worldwide (Authorize.net SIM, PayPal, etc),
b) Their services meet your business requirements,
c) Their plans and prices suit your budget: Most of the payment system applies certain transaction fees. To learn exact fees, you should contact customer care service of the payment company that you're considering.
Below you will see a full list of payment gateways that are already connected.
What online payment methods can I use?
Here is a list of all online payment methods working. With all these methods, you don't have to do any programming as they're already programmed in the store. Click on a payment title to follow to the setup instructions.
- American Express
- Authorize.Net SIM
- Bancomer/eGlobal (Mexican payment gateway)
- Beanstream (Hosted Payment Form)
- Boleto Online
- e-Path / manual credit card processing
- eWAY (Shared Payments CVN / "Hosted Payment" page)
- iDEAL (via Mollie)
- Innovate Payments
- First Data Global Gateway e4
- Moneris SELECTplus (Hosted Paypage, Canadian accounts)
- MultiSafepay ( iDEAL, credit cards, Giropay, DIRECTebanking, etc)
- Network Merchants
- PagSeguro UOL
- PayPal Standard, PayPal Express Checkout, PayPal Advanced, PayPal PayFlow Link, PayPal Payments Pro Hosted (UK)
- Paytrail (former Suomen Verkkomaksut Oy)
- PayU India
- Realex Payments / Global Iris
- Robokassa Webmoney, Yandex.Money, etc)
- Sage Exchange (for US merchants)
- Sage Pay Form integration (for UK merchants)
- TransFirst Transaction Express
- Virtual Cart Services
- Any payment gateway that can emulate Authorize.Net API
So, what I need to start accepting credit cards actually?
1. Open a bank account where you will transfer the money from your purchases
2. Find a payment company/processor from the list above.
3. Sign up an account with the chosen company.
4. Configure the payment method in your store according to instructions from our knowledge-base.
5. Make sure it works properly. A recommended way would be to create a test product at, e.g., $0.01 and try to buy it as a usual customer. If the payment is setup rightly, your order will be recorded in Accepted status in your control panel. For details on how it functions from the inside, refer to this article: How online payment methods work
Next we will elaborate on offline payment method type.
Offline payment methods
Offline payment methods are payment options that don't require customers to submit credit card or any other real-time transactions. You may want to use those options if you want money to change hands after placing orders rather than at checkout as it is done with online payment options. For example, such a workflow would fit your business processes if your customers are supposed to pay via offline bank transfer (wire transfer) - in such case, at checkout a customer gets all necessary information, such as your bank account details and order total cost, and then, let's say in a few days after visiting your online store, makes the actual payment.
Offline payment workflow
When an offline payment is used, no actual payment is supposed to take place at checkout. Instead of it, a customer is informed of how to transfer money to a seller and whom and how to contact after the payment. They go through all checkout steps and place an order by pressing the 'Place order' button - after that a customer sees the order confirmation page, the order is saved in your store and email notifications are sent. Instantly, it becomes visible in your control panel along with all necessary details about customer and ordered items. Such orders get "Queued" status, which indicates that the order was placed successfully, but you haven't received any funds yet. Again, in case of using an offline payment method, a customer isn't charged at the checkout, nothing asks them to submit a credit card payment or any other real-time payment transaction in your store. The payment itself is expected to be done outside, after the order is placed. As soon as the customer pays for it and you receive the money, you can change the order status to 'Accepted' and ship the ordered items to a customer.
Supported offline payment options
By means of a built-in offline payment options, you can set up any offline payment in your store. There are three offline methods types, which all work the same way described above except for the details they ask customer to fill in. You can base your store's offline payment methods on them. They are listed below.
When this payment processor is used, a customer is not asked for any payment details at checkout apart from the standard address form. You can use Offline basic for any custom offline payment option you want. For example, it can be used for setting up the following payment methods in your store:
- Wire transfer (what is it)
- Cash on delivery
- Phone ordering
- Fax ordering
- Money ordering
With 'Offline check' payment options, a customer is asked for a check Owner's full name, Checking account number and Bank routing number. You can use for any kind of check payments you like:
- Personal check
- Business Check
This type of offline payments allows your customers to buy your items using a purchase order. A customer is asked for a PO number, Company name, Buyer's full name and Job position at checkout.
Setting up an offline payment option in your store
- Open your control panel and navigate to System settings → Payment → Payment methods
- Choose one of the existing offline payment options in the list (they all have 'Offline Basic', 'Offline Check' or 'Purchase Order' in the payment processor column)
- If there isn't an offline payment option you'd like to use, just select one of the existing 'Offline basic' option - you will be able to customize it
- Name the option as you want (e.g. Cash on delivery) - for that, click on the payment method name and put the wording you like
- (Optionally) set instruction for customer that they see at checkout upon selecting this payment method. In order to do that, click the 'Instruction for Customer' link and enter instruction text. Details
- Enable the payment method by clicking the 'Enable' link in the right column
- Save the changes
Where can I receive my money when an order comes? How to withdraw my money?
Your account doesn't deal with your customers' money: the store doesn't collect, held or process your money in any way. Instead, your store integrates with a variety of payment gateways which make the payment transactions from your buyers to you. So, the store serves as a transmitter in your transactions: it collects your customer's information, saves it for you to be able to see your customers and sales later, and passes it to special payment systems - third party payment gateways/processors that specialize in processing credit cards and provide security level required for storing and manipulating with such sensitive data. The process of withdrawal of money from that system will depend on the payment solution you choose - so you will need to contact your payment gateway (for example PayPal) to have your money transferred to your bank, if it is not set up to do so automatically.
What you need to do is to setup payment methods that you want your customers to use in your storefront. For more details on payment processing and setting up payment options in your store, please refer to the explanation above.
Can I rename a payment method?
Yes, you can change name of every payment method in your store. How to do that:
- Open your control panel, System Settings → Payment
- Click the name of payment method you want to change
- Enter new name and click "Apply"
- Save the changes
I need a payment option which is not in the list. Can I add a new method?
In case you want to add an offline payment method which is not listed in your control panel, you can use one of the existing 'Offline basic' methods - just rename it and put the instructions for customers if needed. See this instruction: Setting up an offline payment option in your store .
On the other hand, if you want to add an online payment gateway which is not supported, please refer to the next section.
What if a payment gateway I need isn't supported?
Please submit it on the Ideas page. As soon as your idea gets enough votes, we will implement it. If you don't want to wait, here are your options:
- If the gateway supports Authorize.Net SIM emulation, you can totally set it up, here are the details: Using gateways that can emulate Authorize.Net SIM . If you are not sure whether the gateway can emulate Authorize.Net or not, please consult the gateway documentation or ask the gateway company directly on this matter.
- You can opt for a custom integration: for that, you will need to create a custom script on your server that will emulate the Authorize.Net SIM and act as a bridge between your store and the gateway. More details: Custom payment gateways
- You can consider hiring a professional programmer for creating a custom payment gateway integration for you.
- Lastly, if neither option fits, you can consider one of the supported gateways
Can I add instructions or notes to payment methods?
Yes, you can. You can add a second line note and full instruction to any payment method.
Second line note
Second line note is a sticky wording appearing right below the payment method (as a second line). You can use only plain text in these notes, no HTML is allowed. To add a note, click the payment method name on the Payment page.
Example: The first line is payment name: Credit card
The second line note: We accept all major credit cards.
Instruction is shown after a customer selects a necessary payment method. You can use HTML tags in your payment instructions. Also instructions should always have titles. If an instruction doesn't have a title, it will not be shown to customer.
To add an instruction, click the "Instruction for customer" link on the Payment page.
Instruction in e-mail notifications
If you want to send an instruction in e-mail notifications, you should use the %paymentInstructions% mail tag. When an order notification is sent, this mail tag will be replaced with the corresponding payment instruction. So, if a customer uses the Wire Transfer method, he/she will get the instruction for this method. If he/she uses any other method, he/she will get another instruction in the notification.
Since the payment instruction is in HTML format, but e-mail notifications are in plain-text, all HTML tags are removed from the instruction before inserting it into e-mail.
I want to ask customers for a credit card number on my site and do not redirect them to a payment gateway site. Is it possible?
Some merchants want to have a total control over checkout process and don’t want to redirect a customer to a payment gateway to finish the transaction. It is possible. Your store supports PayPal Payflow Link and Amerecian Express Payment Gateway payment methods, which allow you to accept credit card payments without them leaving your checkout pages. Please refer to these articles for the details on how to set them up in your store:
- PayPal methods: PayPal PayFlow/PayPal Advanced/PayPal Payments Pro Hosted
- American Express Payment Gateway