Introduction: Where's my money? Or, how do I receive payments?
When you're buying something in a retail store, the payment is clear: you give cash or your card to the seller who charges you on the spot.
What about online stores? "How can I get my money?" is a question you may be asking yourself when thinking of opening such a shop with our platform. We say, "It's easy, as well."
With our platform, you will run a robust online store that is built right into your site pages, and we provide different ways to accept payments, starting from wire transfers to credit cards. This article will shed light on how it all works and what to do to receive payments.
From the beginning...
How do customers make purchases on my site?
Let's split the purchasing process into several steps:
- Jim browses your catalog, adds some items to the bag, and goes to checkout (opens his bag and clicks the 'Checkout' button)
- He submits a shipping address (if the items are shipped) and picks a shipping method
- Jim chooses a payment method and submits his billing address
- He completes the order.
Step #4 can be divided into more steps, and differs depending on what payment method is chosen. We will break it down later, but for now we're concentrating on general information about payment methods.
What is a payment method?
So you've got your first order. You're contemplating its details in your control panel at the Sales page. And here comes The Question, "Where did the money go?". The first thing you should know is that we don't store or transfer the money to you. Rather, we serve as a go-between in processing payments: we keep your customers' order data and provide you with tools to arrange payments and manage the orders. Payment methods are ways your customers will send you the money for your goods. Generally every online store can support two types of payment methods: online and offline.
Online payment means that the funds are transferred to you (to your payment account) immediately when the customer confirms the payment.
Offline payment implies that the money is transferred later since the customer is supposed to arrange the transfer offline; for example, go to a nearby bank to transfer the money (that would be bank/wire transfer payment method), or you should give the customer a call to agree on the payment ("Phone order" payment method), or customer will give cash to the courier, etc.
Let's go into detail on each method type.
Online payment methods
The process of receiving money for your sales via an online payment method involves three parties:
- your online store,
- the payment gateway: a special system, located outside your store but connected to it on a programming level, that processes your customers' credit cards (or e.g. PayPal accounts) and does charging,
- your merchant account at the payment gateway connected to your bank account.
To put it simply, your store connects to the payment gateway, transmits the order details, the payment gateway processes the customer's credit card and transfers the money to your merchant account. Then you can withdraw the funds to your bank account and pay your bills or go on vacation.
Online payment methods can be narrowed down to 2 options:
- accepting credit/debit cards
- PayPal, a leading payment processor in US presently. To provide credit card payment option, you should choose a payment gateway through which your funds will be processed. So our next question is...
What payment gateway should I choose for my store?
Choosing a payment gateway means to choosing a company (payment processor) who meets the following criteria:
- They accept payments in your region (i.e. where you live or run your business) and allow paying with your currency. It could be a company working solely in your country like PayPal, etc),
- Their services meet your business requirements,
- Their plans and prices suit your budget. Most of the payment systems apply transaction fees. To learn exact fees, you should contact customer service of the payment company that you're considering. Below you will see a full list of payment gateways that are already connected with our platform.
What online payment methods can I use for my store?
Here is a list of all online payment methods that work in our platform. With all these methods, you don't have to do any programming as they're already programmed in our system.
What do I need to start accepting credit cards?
- Open a bank account where you will transfer the money from your purchases
- Find a payment company/processor from the list above.
- Create an account with the chosen company.
- Configure the payment method in your online store according to instructions from our knowledgebase.
- Make sure it works properly. A recommended way would be to create a test product, e.g., $0.01 and try to buy it as a usual customer. If the payment is setup correctly, your order will be recorded in Accepted status in your website control panel.
Next we will elaborate on the offline payment method type.
Offline payment methods
Offline payment methods are payment options that don't require customers to submit a credit card or any other real-time transactions. You may want to use those options if you want money to change hands after placing orders rather than at checkout. For example, such a workflow would fit your business processes if your customers are supposed to pay via offline bank transfer (wire transfer) - in such a case, at checkout a customer gets all the necessary information, such as your bank account details and total order cost, and then makes the actual payment.
Offline payment workflow
When an offline payment is used, no actual payment is supposed to take place at checkout. Instead, a customer is informed of how to transfer money to a seller and how to make contact after the payment. They go through all checkout steps and place an order by pressing the 'Place order' button. After that, the customer sees the order confirmation page, the order is saved in your store, and email notifications are sent. Instantly, it becomes visible in your control panel along with all necessary details about the customer and ordered items.
Such orders get a "Queued" status, which indicates that the order was placed successfully, but you haven't received any funds yet. Again, in case of using an offline payment method, a customer isn't charged at the checkout, nothing asks them to submit a credit card payment or any other real-time payment transaction in your store. The payment itself is expected to be done outside the platform after the order is placed. As soon as the customer pays for it and you receive the money, you can change the order status to 'Accepted' and ship the ordered items to the customer.
Supported offline payment options
By means of our built-in offline payment options, you can set up any offline payment in your store. There are three offline methods types, which all work the same way described above except for the details they ask the customer to fill in. You can base your store's offline payment methods on them. They are listed below:
When this payment method is used, a customer is not asked for any payment details at checkout apart from the standard address form. You can use Offline basic for any custom offline payment option you want. For example, it can be used for setting up the following payment methods in your store:
- Wire transfer
- Cash on delivery
- Phone ordering
- Fax ordering
- Money ordering
With 'Offline check' payment options, a customer is asked for a check Owner's full name, Checking account number and Bank routing number. You can use this option for any kind of check payments you like, including personal and business checks.
This type of offline payment allows your customers to buy your items using a purchase order. A customer is asked for a PO number, Company name, Buyer's full name and Job position at checkout.
Setting up an offline payment option in your store
- Open your control panel and navigate to System settings → Payment → Payment methods
- Choose one of the existing offline payment options in the list (they all have 'Offline Basic', 'Offline Check' or 'Purchase Order' in the payment processor column)
- If there isn't an offline payment option you'd like to use, just select the existing 'Offline basic' option (you will be able to customize it)
- Name the option as you want (e.g. Cash on delivery) - for that, click on the payment method name and put the wording you like
- (Optionally) set instructions for the customer that are displayed at checkout upon selecting this payment method. In order to do that, click the 'Instructions for Customer' link and enter instruction text.
- Enable the payment method by clicking the 'Enable' link in the right column
- Save the changes