- Credit Card Acceptance
- About Payment Processing
- What is a merchant account?
A merchant account is a special bank account that enables your business to accept payments by credit card. Merchant accounts can be obtained through a bank, credit card company, or other payment processor. Any merchant who wants to take credit card orders must establish a merchant account.
- What is a virtual terminal?
A virtual terminal allows you to manually process credit card transactions from any computer with an Internet connection. You simply log-in to a secure website with a username and password and you are able to charge cards, perform authorizations and view transaction and client information through complete online reporting.
Your Direct Pay virtual terminal is hosted by Authorize.Net servers. Once you are set up with a merchant account, you have access to this secure payment processing “dashboard.”
- What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is basically the same as a physical point of sale terminal in a retail store. Their function is to link the virtual terminal (the “buy” page of your website) to the merchant account and credit card organization securely. Payment gateways authenticate transactions by sending and receiving the account/customer information using a secure socket layer (SSL). Payment gateways protect the credit card data and any other personal information from exposure to fraud.
- How does the credit card transaction process work?
The major participants in the credit card transaction and settlement process are:
Virtual Terminal- The system that enables your customer’s to “buy now” and enter credit card information on your website. The virtual terminal also maintains detailed reports of your transactions and customer information and notifies the customer when their transaction has been approved.
Payment Gateway (Authorize.Net) – A bridge between your company and the financial entities that handle processing and settlement
Merchant Bank Account – A business bank account that allows you to receive settlement of funds for credit card transactions
Acquiring Bank- The bank that holds your merchant account. If you sign up for the Authorize.Net payment gateway through a reseller or other sales organization, you may not have a direct relationship with your acquiring bank.
Credit Card Issuer- The financial institution or bank that issued the credit card to your customer
Credit Card Interchange System – System established by credit card associations that allows acquiring banks to submit requests for funds to the customer’s issuing bank on your behalf.
The following steps detail a credit card transaction:
1.) Your customer chooses a product to purchase on your website, enters their personal and account information and submits their request to purchase. Your virtual terminal immediately sends this request to the Authorize.Net payment gateway.
2.) Authorize.Net automatically passes the transaction over a secure connection to the Processor/ Credit Card Interchange System.
3.) The CCIS routes the transaction to the appropriate credit card issuer to verify the transaction.
4.) The Credit Card Issuer approves or declines the transaction based on availability of funds and passes both the results and, if approved, the funds back over the CCIS/Processor
5.) The transaction results are then relayed to the Authorize.Net payment gateway for secure transmission.
6.) Authorize.Net stores the transactions results and sends the information back to the customer and the merchant
7.) The CCIS passes the appropriate funds for the transaction to the acquiring bank
8.) The acquiring bank passes the funds directly into your merchant account
- How do I know when I’m ready to begin accepting credit cards?
Some business owners open a merchant account as soon as they start their business since credit card acceptance makes it possible for a larger target audience—globally through the Internet—to purchase their products and services. It also projects a more established, professional image of a business. Others prefer to wait until they have a few paying clients before beginning to accept credit cards. The choice is ultimately yours. We recommend opening a merchant account once you are regularly accepting customer payments totaling $1000 per month or more.
- What type of equipment do I need to process credit card transactions?
All you need is a computer with an Internet connection to access your virtual terminal. If you accept credit cards in-person at your place of business or at events, you may also purchase a printer or terminal from us, but it is not required.
- What credit cards will I be able to accept with my merchant account?
You will be able to accept Visa® and MasterCard®. If you fill out the additional application, you can also accept American Express® and Discover® for a small fee. Debit cards can also be used if they have the Visa® or MasterCard® logo.
- Do I need to have a US bank account to accept credit cards?
Yes. In order to accept credit cards through Direct Pay, you must have a US bank account. If you are a Canadian resident, a Canadian bank account is required.
- I live/work outside of North America. What options are available to me?
We currently offer merchant accounts for U.S. and Canadian residents only. However, if you sign up for a shopping cart, you can accept payments online through a third party processor such as PayPal.
- Will I be able to accept credit cards issued in other countries?
Yes. There is a nominal foreign currency surcharge added by the processing bank to complete these transactions. The funds will be converted to your local currency at the currently applicable conversion rate. If you choose our Multi-Currency feature, you can also set prices in foreign currencies for your clients' convenience.
- Signing up with DirectPay
- Can I accept credit cards for any type of products and services?
In most cases, yes. View our list of merchants requiring pre-approval for U.S. accounts and Canadian accounts. If your product or service doesn’t appear on this list, you are qualified to apply for a merchant account. If you do offer one of the products or services listed, please contact us for pre-approval before applying online.
- My credit history isn’t perfect. Can I still get approved for a merchant account?
Possibly. Direct Pay has one of the highest approval rates in the industry. As long as you are not in active bankruptcy, you may be able to qualify for a merchant account. If your application is declined for any reason, we will refund your set-up fee. An application co-signer may be needed in certain situations.
- How do I apply for a merchant account?
To sign up, you will need:
- Business Contact Information (mailing address, website URL, phone and fax numbers)
- Ownership Information (owner names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers)
- Business Federal Tax ID Number (or Employer ID number, if any)
- Business Bank Account Information (account number, voided check, bank name, address, phone number)
- Two Business Trade References (name of company, contact person, phone number)
- Nonprofit Organizations: IRS 501(c) Exemption Letter
- Copy of Professional License (if applicable)
- Current Merchant Account Processing Statements for the Last Three Months (if applicable)
- How long does account set-up and approval take?
Once we receive your application, your account will reviewed and, if approved, activated for Visa® and MasterCard® within 3-4 business days. If you choose to also process American Express® and/or Discover® credit cards, your account will be activated for these transactions within 5-7 business days.
- Processing with DirectPay
- How long does it take for processed transactions to reach my bank account?
The processed amount--minus any applicable processing fee-- is credited to your bank account within 2-3 business days for Visa® and MasterCard® and 3-4 business days for American Express® and Discover®.
- How secure are transactions processed by Direct Pay?
Our payment gateway partner, Authorize.Net uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to encrypt sensitive personal information, including credit card numbers. Over 140,000 merchants nationwide use this secure platform daily. If you accept payments online, you can also opt to increase transaction security by adding Authorize.Net’s Fraud Detection Suite which DP provides with no set-up fee and no cost.
- I know someone whose processing rate is only 1.65%. Why isn’t DirectPay’s rate that low?
This rate is for merchants who can physically swipe customer credit cards through a terminal for more than 90% of their transactions. With our service, no physical terminal is required as you process transactions through your virtual terminal and shopping cart. Many of the professionals with whom we do business accept credit cards from their clients exclusively over the phone or online. Others, who see their clients in-person, enjoy the convenience of not requiring a credit card to be physically present at the time of service. This enables you to process recurring payments based on a one-time authorization from your client.
- What kind of technical support is available?
Free technical support is available for merchant accounts- in some cases 24 hours a day. Contact Us. You can get personal assistance by phone, email or live chat or visit our online Support Center.
- How is Direct Pay different from Pay Pal and other third party processors?
There are two main ways to collect credit card payments online. You can get a merchant account for your business, or you can process transactions through a third party merchant account. Having your own merchant account gives you great flexibility and benefits. For starters, your customers will not be required to sign up for an account through a third party (like PayPal) to pay you for your products or services. Depending on the provider you choose, you can accept credit cards online, over the phone and in-person.
We offer you access to some of the lowest rates and fees for merchant account services in North America. Our web-based virtual terminal and processing systems utilize the most functional, easy-to-use and cost-effective payment processing solutions in the marketplace today.
We build our business based on referrals and education, rather than telemarketing, spam or other intrusive sales techniques. Our primary focus is on service; not sales.
- About Payment Processing
- Online Shopping Cart
- About Shopping Carts
- What is an online shopping cart?
An online shopping cart is a form of software that is used in eCommerce to allow web users to make purchases over the Internet. Online shoppers on a particular website can accumulate a list of products to purchase, described metaphorically as “adding items to their shopping cart.” At checkout, the shopping cart typically calculates a total cost for the order, along with applicable tax and shipping fees.
Shopping carts are integrated with the seller’s merchant account. At checkout, the online shopper inputs their information, including name, shipping address, billing address and credit card or eCheck account number. This information is transmitted securely to the merchant’s payment gateway, where availability of funds is verified by the customer’s bank and funds are deposited into the merchant bank account.
Most shopping cart systems now offer more than just the ability to make sales online. An online shopping cart is now a marketing tool for eCommerce, allowing merchants to deliver automated e-mails to their customers whenever an action is taken on the site (autoresponders) as well as delivery of HTML or text newsletters, coupons and special offers.
- Who needs an online shopping cart?
Any web user who wants to make multiple sales on the Internet. When it comes to one-time sales, auctions, etc. many people choose to sell through eBay and receive their funds through a third party processor like PayPal. However, if you want to set up a fully operational, professional website to continuously sell your products and services, you need an online shopping cart and merchant account.
- Can an online shopping cart give me the ability to accept credit cards for online purchases?
Yes—but you have to set up your merchant account first. The online shopping cart utilizes a secure payment gateway to transfer funds from your customer’s account to your merchant bank account. Once you have set up your merchant account, you’re ready to sign up for your cart. The two integrate seamlessly and you can begin processing transactions directly from your website.
- Do I need HTML knowledge to use a shopping cart?
Most cart systems are easy to use and do not require HTML or PHP template languages. However, some knowledge of HTML is required if you want to make heavy modifications to the design or layout of the cart. If you need help with this, please contact the DirectPay support team. We can out you in touch with a virtual assistant who will walk you through it or set it all up for you.
- Can a shopping cart be added to my existing website?
Yes. Once you sign-up for a shopping cart, you will receive instruction on how to add it to your website or have a virtual assistant set it up for you. Many carts including all Direct Pay packages offer you the ability to customize the look and feel of your cart so that it fits aesthetically with the design of your website.
- Which shopping cart system should I use?
It’s important to choose a cart and package that suit your current stage of business growth. Some carts come standard with a variety of extra features you may not need. Others allow you to purchase a basic cart and customize your additional features as needed. As a rule, your shopping cart should be able to integrate seamlessly with your merchant account, allow you to maintain customer/transaction information and have an autoresponder delivery system. Optional additional features should include automated recurring billing, generation of reports, customized design and layout to match your website and an affiliate program.
- What is an autoresponder?
An autoresponder is an automatic communication created in the cart to be delivered to an individual, group or all contacts in the shopping cart database. The merchant designates a specific date and time for the e-mail to be delivered. Most online merchants use them to confirm transactions, notify customers of shipping dates and other information pertaining to their order. They can also be used to send newsletters, coupons, announcements and special offers.
- What is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program is an online sales force that markets for you free of charge until they generate sales. Through your shopping cart, other business owners, colleagues, etc. can opt to add a banner to their website advertising your company and services. If a customer clicks the banner on their site, connects to you and makes a purchase, you give your affiliate a percentage of the sale. Though not a feature of any shopping cart system, a robust affiliate program is a great feature to generate leads and increase awareness of your products and services.
- Signing up with DirectPay
- What online credit card processors is a DirectPay shopping cart compatible with?
While we recommended using a Direct Pay merchant account as your processing solution, there are many other providers that our shopping cart system can work with:
-Autorize.Net or eCheck.Net
-eCommerce Exchange (ECX)
-PayStreams Pro (RevEcom)
-Plug n Pay
* Does not integrate with our recurring billing system
**Requires $49 setup fee for key generation
- How long does it take to set up my online store?
This depends on various factors, including whether or not you have a compatible merchant account, how big your website is and how many products you have to install into your shopping cart. However, once your application has been approved, you have instant access to your storefront and merchant login area.
- How do I set up my online store?
Once you sign up for your shopping cart, you begin creating products—including name, description, pricing, etc.—in your system. You will receive a product code link for each product; simply copy these links on to your website. To learn more about this and other shopping cart features, we recommend the free one-hour webinar, “Utilizing Your Online Shopping Cart.” You’ll watch and listen as a cart expert walks through all the set up involved. If you prefer, you can also view our database of certified virtual assistants who can set up your whole system for you and work with you as needed thereafter. If you have any questions while setting up your cart, you can also contact us directly at email@example.com.
- Can someone install the shopping cart system for me?
Yes. We have an extensive database of certified virtual assistants who can be hired to set up and/or maintain your shopping cart system for you. Click here for more information.
- Does my shopping cart allow me to sell and deliver digital products electronically-- like eBooks or software?
Yes. If you select the Professional Cart Package, you can deliver your electronic products automatically. You upload the file once and the shopping cart system will send it to your customer after they have completed all necessary payment information.
- Using the DirectPay Cart
- How much database information can the shopping cart system handle?
The basic monthly fee includes a database of up to 10,000 records. Additional customer licenses of up to one million records can be purchased at anytime. The shopping cart system will support an unlimited number of products.
- How will I be notified of new orders?
Whenever a customer purchases a product on your website, the shopping cart system will automatically e-mail them a receipt as well as send you a notification of the new order. If you choose, you can turn off this automatic notification function. You can also log-in to your merchant area at anytime to view all cart activity.
- How will my shopping cart appear to my website visitors?
The DirectPay shopping cart works with the look and feel of your site so that you maintain a professional image while customers complete transactions. There is no noticeable redirection.
- Is it possible to add options to my products (i.e. sizes, colors, materials, quantities, etc.)?
Yes. When you log-in to your cart dashboard and create your products, you can create these extra field options for each as needed.
- Is it possible to change the currency or weight information?
Yes. You can set the currency and weight to whatever you wish to build an optimal customer experience.
- What kind of reports can I generate?
You can quickly and easily run a variety of reports:
-Sales by Date
-Sales by Client
-Sales by Card Type
-Product Sales by Item
-Product Sales by Date
-Product Sales by Ad Campaign
-Products Sales by Affiliate
-Taxes by Date
-Export Sales Reports and Information
-Export Order Information Reports
-Export Affiliate Commission Reports
- What type of security is provided for online transactions in the cart?
The cart uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to protect the security of both you and your customers. When an order is placed online and a credit card number is provided, SSL encrypts all personal information including the card number, name and address. With this system, only qualified Direct Pay personnel can decode that information. Our cart is also one of the only shopping cart software systems that is fully Certified by Visa and MasterCard through their stringent PCI and CISP regulations. For more information on this certification, please click here.
- What kind of help and support is provided for a Direct Pay cart?
We offer telephone and email support to all of our customers. Please view our Contact Us page for a list of support resources. The best way to get the assistance you need is through our Support Ticket system in your account. You simply submit your issue or inquiry in the system and receive a response from a cart technician within one business day. You can also sign up for one of our shopping cart tutorials to watch and listen as a cart expert walks you through your cart features and functions. You also have the option of hiring a virtual assistant from our database to show you how to use your cart or set it up for you.
- Is the 30 day trial completely free?
Yes—there is no charge for the 30 Day Shopping Cart Trial. The only limitations we have are the number of customers you can input into your database (50) and the ability to send broadcasts. Otherwise, you have access to all the features of the cart and can explore setting up products, creating autoresponders, generating reports, etc. to see how it works for your business.
After 30 days, you will begin to be billed the $129 monthly fee for the Professional Cart Package. If you wish to cancel at any time, call (800) 326-9897 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What is the difference between the shopping cart packages?
You can view our Rates & Fees page here to learn more about the various features each shopping cart has and choose the right one for your business.
- Can I make gift certificates, coupons, etc. with the shopping cart?
Yes. You can create your own gift certificates in any amount and print/send them to customers. In your merchant area, you can create a payment field option for gift certificate redemption. You can also generate coupons for any % or dollar amount off you choose and print/send them to customers using the same system.
- Can orders be transmitted directly to my dropshippers?
Yes. You have the option of setting up multiple e-mail addresses to be notified when new orders are placed. The product and delivery information will be within this e-mail, so that upon receipt, your dropshippers can put the package together for delivery as soon as possible.
- Can I cancel at anytime or does the Direct Pay Cart require fixed term contracts?
You can cancel your cart at anytime with no fees or obligations. Our contracts run month to month, so as long as your account is current your cart is cancelled free of charge. However, if you sign-up for an annual package, you save up to 15% on your purchase price.
- Can I download settled transactions into QuickBooks?
Yes. In your merchant area under the heading Reports (there is a helpful link in blue at the top of this page), there is a QuickBooks tab that gives you the option to download successfully settled transactions into your QuickBooks financial management software.
Please note that you must configure your QuickBooks Download Report Settings before you can use this feature. If you need to verify your settings, go to the main menu in your merchant area and click Settings> General> QuickBooks Download Report Settings.
The QuickBooks fields included in your downloaded report will vary according to the QuickBooks type of transaction(s) selected. The options are:
Transaction Type Recommended QuickBooks Accounts Cash Sale
Any bank account
Invoice Accounts Receivable Payment
Any bank account
Payment Funding An account from which you will fund the amount. Cash Refund
Any bank account
Credit Memo Accounts Receivable
The Quickbooks Download feature is a free service of Authorize.Net. Go to www.authorize.net to download the QuickBooks Integration Guide.
- How much does a Direct Pay Cart cost?
Depending on the features you need, it can cost about $1 a day to run a profitable online business. See our Rates & Fees section for details on pricing and more information on the services that come with each shopping cart package.
- If I sign-up for one shopping cart package, can I use the software for more than one website store?
Yes—you can simply create your product link codes, configure the correct “Continue Shopping” URLs and add to each site.
- About Shopping Carts
- PCI Compliance
- What is PCI Compliance?
The PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance standards were created by major credit card issuers to protect sensitive information and ensure credit card transactions are secure. Any business or financial institution that wants to accept credit cards has to comply with these standards. Non-compliance can result in fines from credit card companies and banks and even the loss of the ability to process credit cards.
- Who must be PCI Compliant?
PCI applies to ALL organizations and merchants -- regardless of size or number of transactions -- who accept, transmit or store any cardholder data.
- Do organizations using third-party processors have to be PCI compliant?
Yes. Using a third-party company (like Pay Pal) does not exclude a company from PCI compliance.
- Why do you have to submit your compliance annually?
The quick and easy answer is to protect your business and your customers. Incidents of fraud -- on a small and large scale-- are on the rise as cyber criminals develop new ways to access and steal credit card information. The PCI DSS requirements may seem obvious, but the rewards of demonstrating your compliance are real. It's always best to stop security breaches before they happen and annual compliance with the standards is a great way to make sure you are (securely) tying up all loose ends.
It will help you protect the safety of your computer network and avoid certain liabilities in the event information is illegally accessed.
For a small business, even a small security breach can cost $25,000+ in fines and legal fees. PCI compliance is required AND protects you from potential vulnerabilities you may not be aware of.
- What are the PCI standards?
Maintenance of a secure network
For online businesses, this means the security of cardholder data on your web server. Most web hosting companies take responsibility for the security of their networks. Your part as an online merchant involves keeping cardholder information safe. For example, if you are on a public network on your laptop, do you house customer information there? Do you have the appropriate firewalls in place to prevent fraudulent access to this information? You must take all necessary measures to ensure that sensitive personal and credit card information are stored in a secure location.
Cardholder Data Protection
Business owners that choose to store cardholder information have an obligation to ensure no one else is accessing it. Many companies choose to encrypt credit card data, so that even if someone did access it they could not use it.
This area also pertains to how to credit card information is transmitted. When a customer makes a purchase on your website, their personal information is sent across the Internet. Cardholder data must be encrypted with at least a 128 bit SSL certificate in order to meet this standard.
Vulnerability Management Program
You can minimize your chances of exposure to fraud by regularly updating the hardware and software on your computers and adding anti-virus software with regular virus scans.
Most security breaches are a result of human error. You must limit access to cardholder data to only those who need to use it. Also, giving a unique login/password to each user who can access sensitive information allows you to track any security breaches to their source.
Monitoring and Testing Networks
Regular scans of your computer and checking network access to cardholder data are required to satisfy this standard. There are several security testing and auditing services business owners use for this to help identify and eliminate potential risks. Contact DirectPay if you would like more information.
Information Security Policy
Lastly, you must draft and implement a company-wide information security policy to hold all team members accountable for any security breaches. Make sure that your employees know and understand their responsibilities with regards to cardholder data.
For more information: https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/security_standards/pci_dss.shtml
- What are the penalties for noncompliance?
Because credit card companies may fine an acquiring bank anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 per month for PCI Compliance violations, merchants who are not compliant will have to pay a monthly fee. The bank may also decide to terminate the relationship with you or increase your transaction fees.
If you are a DirectPay client, the fee for non-compliance is $35 per month until the requirements are met.
- How do you become compliant?
The process to become PCI Compliant involves determining merchant validation levels, building and maintaining a secure network and implementing strong access control measures. It differs somewhat for all businesses. More information on the process can be found here.
If you have a payment processor, chances are they have a ready-to-go secure gateway in place, so the process should be much less complicated.
If you are a DirectPay Client: DirectPay has set up a free PCI Compliance Program to assist you in meeting the requirements. You can access a Self-Assessment Questionnaire that, once submitted, will grant you compliant status. Just follow the process below:
1. Go to https://directpay.pcicompliance.ws/
2. Create a Login Username and Password.
3. Complete the Self-Assessment Questionnaire.
4. Submit – and you’re finished.
For more information on PCI Compliance, visit www.pcicomplianceguide.org.