answers were provided by various members of the GNWDA, after one
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I have committed myself to helping a local business post merchandise
on the Web. It started with just uploading pictures of T-shirts
she designs and sells, and now it is help me process online
payments. She wants a secure email purchasing form. A CGI
form is not very secure. Would a shopping cart be preferable?
She wants to do this without a merchant account! ~
WITHOUT A MERCHANT ACCOUNT
If your client
does not have a merchant account and does not want to get one,
then the best way to provide online shopping is through Pay Pal
or Yahoo! PayDirect. I use both and like both. Yahoo! PayDirect
is an actual online bank; PayPal is not. The most popular one
is Pay Pal, which is owned by EBay. (See links in column on right.)
A CGI sendmail
form is definitely not secure enough. But your client can set
up a secure form through PayPal or PayDirect. They make it easy,
because people who are not webmasters use it all the time.
CART ON YOUR SITE
Some Web hosting
companies provide a shopping cart with their regular services.
For example, companies that utilize cPanel (for their control
panel) normally have two to choose from: Red Hat's Interchange
Cart and Agora Cart (see links to the demos in column
on right). To use them, follow the instructions that come in the
web host's documentation, and configure them to utilize your PayPal
or Yahoo! PayDirect account.
is to use a merchant account through a bank that lets you use
their secure servers for placing the orders. If your client sets
up a merchant account with them, they will include a shopping
cart on their server for your client. The bank provides instructions
and a helping hand for setting it up.
I will use
Bank of America as an example:
- You can
put your client's logo with the Bank of America logo; this branding
will let the buyers know that credit card processing will be
reliable and secure.
- This merchant
account will accept both Visa and Mastercard. Although you'd
have to get a separate merchant account from American Express
to accept their card, Bank of America will process it on their
secure server and send it on to the American Express bank.
- Bank of
America's e-store gives you a report of transactions that you
can view online at any time.
- The bank
will send you a CD with instructional PDF files to get started
in setting up your "store."
- Once the
bank sets up your ID and password, you get your own shopping
cart on the bank's site.
- It takes
a couple of weeks between the time you meet with a Bank of America
e-store representative to sign the paperwork and the time you'd
get the CD and ID.
input from GNWDA members:
by: Russ Broomell of R310.com
I have several
clients using Mal's free service; the biggest has been running
with them for almost three years. They have their own in-house
merchant account, but they process dozens of orders each month
without a hitch. They recently switched clerks who handle Internet
orders, and even though they are no longer my client, they asked
me to train the new person. Three emails later, it was done -
it's that simple. Mal's has great documentation too.
As for merchant accounts, Mal's offers PayPal integration on their
$6 per month "premium" account. With PayPal, you don't
need a merchant account. But you should compare total monthly
costs. PayPal charges you more per transaction, but no monthly
fee, whereas most merchant accounts charge a monthly fee. Make
sure you compare all of the fees at your planned transaction level.
My recommendation is Mal's Premium with PayPal. Why...?
cost to get in: only $6 per month,which is great during
testing and when if you have a few or no transactions.
when transaction level grows, you can upgrade to a new merchant
account with a few quick changes
own the cart: Mal's is based on hyperlinks, not on a proprietary
shopping cart setup. This way, if you move your web hosting,
you don't have to re-enter your whole shopping cart or set up
new databases; just upload the HTML pages and away you go!
you can begin accepting credit cards: