Sunday, January 17, 2016

Options for Accepting International Payments

There are few choices when trying to set up international payments for your ecommerce website. PayPal and Stripe are great options for those that don't have a merchant account but still want to accept transactions from international customers.

If you need to accept payments from most countries PayPal is the clear winner, but there are still some countries that are not supported.. At the time of this writing there are 203 markets and 26 currencies available. See the full list here at the PayPay Global web page.

Countries not supported by PayPal included:
  •     Afghanistan
  •     Bangladesh
  •     Central African Republic
  •     North Korea
  •     Equatorial Guinea
  •     Ghana
  •     Haiti
  •     Iran
  •     Iraq
  •     Lebanon
  •     Liberia
  •     Libya
  •     Myanmar
  •     Pakistan
  •     South Sudan
  •     Sudan
  •     Syria
  •     Timor-Leste / East Timor
  •     Uzbekistan

The newcomer Stripe is in the process of adding more countries all the time. Currently your business must be based in one of the following countries in order to use their international payment processing services.
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Stripe does have private betas running that support payment processing from other countries.

There are many other considerations involved with supporting international payments on your eCommerce website like currency conversion rates, foreign transaction fees as well as a host of other items you'll need to review. One of the first steps will be to find the countries and currencies you'll want to support and make sure your selected payment processor supports them. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Payment Gateway Restful API's

RESTful APIs have been around for a while but it's only recently that we have seen a influx of these types of APIs with regards to payment gateways. Stripe, Amazon and Samurai all offer RESTful APIs.

Restful APIs provide some great benefits.
  • Gateway's can take advantage of HTTP cache and proxy servers to handle high load.
  • Complex applications can be narrowed down to simple resources
  • Easy to consume no matter your scripting language. 

Not all gateways offer a RESTful API. Notably Braintree and PayPal. Braintree for instance offers comprehensive libraries that make it easy to use your programming language of choice. PayPal on the other hand uses NVP (name value pairs) or a SOAP based API in lieu of rest.

The type of API offered by your payment gateway may affect your decision on whether or not you want to use their services so always check the API before you sign up.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Photo Check Deposits

Almost two years ago, Chase updated its iPhone app to include photo check deposits:

Deposit checks with two camera clicks.

Instead of driving to the bank, you can deposit your check with your Chase Mobile App. Just snap a picture of the front and back of your endorsed check and send it using your Chase Mobile App. more...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Amazon bids to become a bigger e-commerce technology provider to retailers

Already by far the biggest online retailer, Inc. is bidding to become a bigger supplier of e-commerce technology to other retailers and consumer goods manufacturers. With its release this week of its new version of Amazon WebStore, experts say, Amazon has come up with a compelling offering that lets other e-retailers take advantage of Amazon’s services and strong reputation.

“Sellers that adopt this platform are not just leveraging the technology, they’re also leveraging Amazon’s reputation and the guarantees Amazon provides to consumers related to the online shopping experience,” says Eric Best, CEO of Mercent Corp., an online marketing services firm.more...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Credit Card Tokenization

The hot topic of the year seems to be credit card tokenization. Merchants are confused on the subject and what it means to them. It all stems from the payment card rules and regulations on storage of credit card data. Tokenization is a fairly simple process that doesn't have to be expensive.

Why do we need credit card tokenization?
Storing credit card numbers for the average sized merchant was OK not to long ago, but those days are long gone. The payment card industry now governs the storage of credit card numbers and customer information. This is actually a good thing, but can be a pain if your a small to medium sized merchant.

What is credit card tokenization?
Credit card tokenization turns a credit card number into a token that is only recognized by the service provider, or merchant account provider. For example lets say your credit card number is "4125-1512-1512-1562" that turns into a token "4324223". If a hacker has stolen your token it is useless to them. This means your eCommerce store can store tokens easily, even without encryption.

What are the benefits of credit card tokenization?
The biggest benefit you'll see right away is savings. When you only store tokens there is only a simple SAQ (self assessment questionnaire) that needs to be filled out to become PCI compliant. Re-billing or recurring billing is now a simple process, simply send the token to the payment gateway and you have re-billed without asking for payment information again. Need to reverse a change, send the token.

How much is credit card tokenization?
Usually free. I've never seen a provider charge for the service. What is different is the way they offer the service. You need to be sure the tokenization service will work with your software or web site.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

eCommerce service providers network

Recently we added our little blog to a directory to increase traffic and came across one worth mentioning here. The directory is comprised of eCommerce and brick and mortar business vendors. They have a nice break down of specific categories that pertain to the payments industry.

With categories like, PCI DSS Compliance, Point of Sale, Check Readers and more, merchants should be able to find any kind of service to support their business. If your a provider and need more traffic like we all do, try adding your site.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

NACHA Reports 18.76 Billion ACH Payments in 2009

Year-Over-Year Transaction Volume Up 2.6 Percent

Growth Experienced in Direct Deposit, B2B Payments and Consumer Internet Transactions, Positive Trend Continues in Unauthorized Debits

ACH payment volume increased by more than 475 million transactions in 2009, bringing year-end total transaction volume to 18.76 billion, a 2.6 percent increase over 2008 activity, according to NACHA—The Electronic Payments Association. Year-over-year comparisons demonstrated strong volume increases in ACH native electronic payments — Direct Deposit, consumer Internet transactions, and B2B transactions — and in back office check conversion. In addition, NACHA is reporting a continued positive trend in risk mitigation, witnessed by the ongoing decline in the unauthorized debit volume.

Network Risk Indicators
While ACH volume continues to increase, unauthorized debits have been on a multi-year downward trajectory. The number of ACH debits returned as unauthorized in 2009 declined 9.6 percent over 2008. These transactions constitute 0.02 percent of total Network volume.

“The trend we’re seeing with unauthorized debits is a direct result of new NACHA rules and other enforcement efforts that went into effect in 2008,” said Janet O. Estep, president and CEO of NACHA. “Analyzing the data, we see the absolute volume of unauthorized debits dropped following the implementation of the Network Enforcement Rule and the Company Name Rule. These results demonstrate the effectiveness of targeted rulemaking and risk-management practices.”

Native Electronic Payments
ACH native electronic payments (non-check conversion transactions) increased by 4.15 percent in 2009, showing an increased preference for non-check, fully-electronic, payment options. These payments constituted 12.19 billion transactions on the ACH Network.

Direct Deposit
Direct Deposit continues to deliver a critical piece of Network volume. For 2009 year-end, there were 4.54 billion Direct Deposit payments, an increase of 4.9 percent over 2008.

“In the difficult economic environment of 2009, the ACH Network continued to see steady volume growth, including Direct Deposit transactions,” indicated Estep. “Notwithstanding a 10 percent unemployment rate, Direct Deposit volume increased nearly 5 percent in 2009. This exemplifies its ongoing adoption, including the potential increase in the use of split deposit for savings. These figures reinforce that Direct Deposit offers value for all parties – consumers, businesses, and their financial institutions.”

Business-to-Business (B2B)[1] Payments
B2B transaction volume was up to more than two billion payments in 2009, an increase of 3.2 percent over 2008. The largest growth was in corporate trade exchange transactions, which carry business remittance information along with the payment.[2] These payments increased by 9.19 percent over 2008, reaching more than 60 million transactions. In addition, the number of B2B addenda records with the remittance information increased by 8.52 percent year-over-year. The increases in this transaction volume and addenda records with remittance information demonstrates that growth continues for companies using the ACH Network for transmitting robust information.

Consumer Internet Transactions
Overall, year-end 2009 consumer Internet transactions (including WEB[3] and CIE[4]) were up 8.75 percent to nearly 2.4 billion payments. Internet-initiated (WEB) volume has been on an upward trajectory which continued through the close of 2009 with a substantial 9.7 percent increase over 2008. Additionally, NACHA and ACH Network participants have continued to manage risk well on these efficient transactions. Year-over-year comparisons show a significant 13 percent decline in the number of unauthorized WEB debits, with an overall unauthorized rate of return at a nominal 0.04 percent.

Back Office Check Conversion
Back Office Conversion (BOC) continued its growth pattern as more companies seek ways to streamline administrative tasks for processing checks presented by their customers. In 2009, BOC transaction volume more than doubled (104.56 percent) over 2008, resulting in 160.5 million transactions.

International ACH Transactions (IAT)
The fourth quarter of 2009 provided the first full-quarter transaction data for IAT. Combined with the nine banking days in Q3 where IATs were available, the year-end total for IAT was 1.7 million with a dollar value of $7.4 billion.

Federal Government
Comparing 2008 and 2009, total federal government ACH transactions increased by 5.52 percent to 1.21 billion transactions, while dollars increased 7.22 percent to $4.29 trillion. The United States Department of the Treasury’s Financial Management Service has released data that indicates that the federal government saves $0.925 for every ACH credit used instead of a check. In 2009, there were 1.08 billion government ACH credits, representing a $1 billion cost savings for the federal government.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tokenization for dummies

The word tokenization of credit card data is being passed around more and more these days. The payment card industry is cracking down on businesses large and small, forcing them to find an alternative ways work with credit card data to protect cardholders.

What is tokenization?
Tokenization simply takes a credit card number and turns it into a token. This can be done a number of ways depending on your service provider. A good example is an e-commerce web site hosted by the merchant where the customer can enter a credit card. Behind the scenes the credit card number is turned into a token and returned to the merchant. Tokens can be stored at the merchants e-commerce site because they are not credit card numbers. When the merchant would like to re-bill the customer (with their authorization of course) they can simply send the token to the service provider. The main benefit being if the token is compromised it cannot be used. Obviously this is not the case with the credit card.

Tokenization is a great way to protect cardholder data and lessen the in scope items merchants are required to abide by from the payment card industry. Not only does it safely protect the cardholder number, but it allows for a re-bill to be done without asking the customer for a credit card number. Not all service providers offer tokenization so check with yours to be sure it is offered. As always you can click the contact us for more information.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

PCI's July 1st Deadline

Here is an interesting article in American Banker about the Payment Card Industries July 1st deadline.

"You have to presume that by July 1, probably 20 percent of retailers are still not going to be compliant," says Paul Martaus, a leading payments industry consultant, adding that many of the terminals in use today are too old to manage the PCI-compliant applications.

Read More

Monday, February 15, 2010

Link your Facebook or Twitter accounts to your merchant account.

How do you get your customers to pay you directly from your Facebook or Twitter accounts? Actually its very simple. Your merchant account provider should offer a secure payment page hosted on their site for free. Here is how you can link your merchant account to your Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Get your payment page code
The code needed is simply a http link with some extra parameters included to identify your account. Providers differ on how you can get this code, some will generate it for you and some you need to follow their API to generate it manually. Your code should look something like what we have below.

Facebook Payments
Armed with your code or link from above, login to your Facebook account. There are a couple of different way to do get payments from Facebook. Basically, anywhere you can enter text and have it show up as a link is where you can add your code. The Facebook Wall is a great place for adding your code. Simply enter the payment code onto your wall. When a customer clicks your link they will go straight to your payment page.

Twitter Payments
Twitter works basically the same way as Facebook. Simply login to your Twitter account and enter your code, or link into the text box. Once your customers click the link they are directed to your payment page.