“Good planning pays off - even with payments. A seamless payment process is central to professional e-commerce. The best thing for you to do is be perfectly setup when you go "live". I'll tell you here how this works.”

1. Your first online shop - with a system

From "painment" to payment: I know the subject of online payment is complex. But the right way is not as hard as you might think. As I am working on my own webshop right now I've battled my way through a heap of offers so of course I'm going to share my leanings with you.

So the first thing we need to clarify an important issue: Which webshop system is the right one for you? There are
two main options - closed systems and open source solutions.

With the former, you are usually completely dependent on the system supplier and their services - subsequent adjustments, new integrations or further developments? Often – no opportunity with this solution. As such I would therefore rather recommend an open source system. Here everyone can contribute tools and plugins and integrate innovative services to improve workability and makes the system more flexible. This can bring a lot you a load of benefits - also in terms of payment methods. Which brings us to the next topic.  

A “bite" more flexibility: Open source systems. (pic: pixabay.com)

2. Payment - what does it include?

As a normal customer, you always get only half of what's going on. The payment area is really so diverse and complicated I would not recommend anyone to do it alone. Professional support really pays off here (ha!ha!)
Payments need to include the selection of payment methods (credit cards, debit cards, offline or online payments etc.), the customer identification as a cardholder, the checking of payment methods and account limits, as well as the information to your shop as to whether the transaction has been accepted and paid for. It's a lot.  

3. Payment provider - is it worth it?

Absolutely. Since you can not deal with cash online, you need competent partners for the payment process. And because you are not eyeballing your customers nor their bank cards you do need modern security techniques for the identity test.

Cash and legally legitimate persons are recognized when the processing is PCI-certified and, thanks to authentication systems such as 3D-Secure, payment is guaranteed. Professional providers offer standard cards and payment procedures and also special gift and customer cards. If you start a shop as well as an online shop, there are also attractive overall concepts such as shell solutions. In some cases, whole loyalty/marketing solutions can also be handled via the payment infrastructure.

Play a trick on pirates: Thanks to authentication systems your online cash is secured. (pic: pixabay)

4. Players and procedures in detail

Four main players dominate cashless payments: in addition for you as a dealer and your customer, there are
the payment service providers (PSP) and the so-called acquirer.

The PSP provides the technical shop infrastructure connected via a payment plugin. These plugins are partly free as some PSPs also work with subscriptions from third-party vendors. Careful: extra costs can often be hidden here!

The usual costs for the provider consists of an upload, transaction and subscription fee. I would recommend small, bank-independent full-service providers as they often have lower commissions than the big banks. You can also avoid queues, "responsiblity ping pong" in the case of disturbances and the dense supply jungle.

The acquirer is no one other than the payment processor or the bank. The acquirer switches on the actual payment means. A separate contract between acquirer and trader is necessary for each of these payment methods. The commissions are usually determinate by annual turnover - and mostly with the major credit card providers. When it comes to alternative means of payment, different acquirer offers can also be obtained. The Swiss laws (money laundering legislation, FINMA regulations and so on) are relatively strict, which is why the acquirers do extensive security checks. In any case, always keep your trade terms and the fine print up to date! The whole thing can take a while - just so you know. 

5. A last tip: think international!

Even if small suppliers have their advantages - you should also believe from the outset your business will be internationally successful. For this reason integrating various means of payments (note: reduce it to the minimum) is definitely recommended.

Psssst ... Wghile your products you may be unique it doesn't mean your means of payment. See what your competitors
are doing. I wish you success!

Unique lamp but means of payment. (startup: blaugold.ch)