Internet Gateway Services
A gateway processor charges your customers’ credit cards via the web and sends the funds to your merchant account.
The final piece to setting up a merchant account to accept online payment is the gateway that connects you to the transaction clearinghouse. There are three common gateways:
Credit Card Swipe Machines
The machinery next to nearly every checkout register in the country. After the card is swiped, an authorization code displays, and is usually printed on a credit card transaction slip. The authorization comes from the clearinghouse that the store’s bank contracts with, and it effectively assures valid payment to the merchant when the customer signs on the dotted line. This method is not needed for pure-play dot-com businesses.
For e-businesses, desktop software can be used as the transaction gateway. Once you receive the credit card number via phone, mail, or email the merchant manually enters the credit card numbers and payment amounts into the computer software, and transmits the list over the Internet to the clearinghouse designated by the bank. In a few moments, the clearinghouse responds with a list of good card and bad cards to allow the merchant to proceed as necessary. This software solution works better than the card swipe machine, but may not work for large volume stores. It also requires re-keying data from each order into your computer, which can lead to user errors and can be time consuming.