The Payments Process
Whether you're new to payment gateways or just need a refresher, you're in the right place. By understanding the basics of how the process works before making a decision, you'll be able to choose the right API with confidence.
How The Credit Card Process Works
Ah, plastic. You swipe your card, sign your name and you're good to go. Seems simple enough, right? In reality, anytime a customer uses a credit card to pay for a purchase, whether it's online, in a store or through a mobile device, it kicks off a complex process that involves many steps and several parties. The end goal is to transfer money for the purchase into the merchant's bank account.
A payment gateway like Authorize.Net handles the process for you. We take your customer's credit card data and route it to the parties involved, to request the funds to cover the purchase. Once we receive an answer, we then send the approval or decline to the merchant. Without a payment gateway, merchants
would have no way to easily submit a transaction
See all seven steps of the credit card process
Learning the fundamentals of how the payment process works will better prepare you to engage with your clients.
Developer Training Videos
- Payment Fundamentals for Developers (6 minutes)
- Fraud and Verified Merchant Seal (7 minutes)
- Standards, Compliance and Security (9 minutes)
Getting a Merchant Account
In addition to a payment gateway account, before a merchant can start accepting credit card or electronic check payments, they first need to set up a merchant account with their bank or another financial institution.
Keep in mind that the process for establishing a merchant account involves an underwriting process, and can take several days or more, so you'll want to get that going as soon as possible.
Get help opening a merchant account
Meeting Business Needs
Before choosing an API, consider the nature of the business. We separate our API options based on several factors, including the potential ways transactions occur—online, mail order/telephone order (MOTO), retail or mobile—and whether or not the merchant will be using an SSL certificate.
There are also options for taking recurring subscription payments, managing customer profiles (like shipping information) and processing electronic check payments.
Get help choosing an API
Check out our developer FAQs for answers to some of our most commonly asked questions.Browse the Developer FAQs
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