Getting started with online payments

Do your research

A website with e-commerce capability doesn't have to be expensive to build if you keep it simple. Do some research to find a web developer whose work you like, and whose services you can afford. You will need to provide them with a comprehensive brief that outlines what you want customers to be able to do through your website. Likewise, shop around for a bank, payment gateway, payment service provider and internet service provider that best meets your needs.

Whichever option you decide to pursue, you will need to think about whether this payment process will lead to changes in your business systems or procedures.

Choosing the best online payments option for you

When reviewing options like a merchant facility or gateway through a bank, an online gateway (e.g. eWAY) or an online payment service (e.g. PayPal), you should consider:

  • fees and service charges for both you and your customers
  • ease of use for the customer
  • security and protection for the customer
  • security and protection for your business (e.g. if people claim they didn't receive the goods, who decides whether they get a refund? — PayPal refunds automatically in this situation)
  • the time it will take to set up
  • the time it will take funds to reach your account
  • how easy it is for you to incorporate the system into your website, and what support is provided to you
  • where it operates (some services only operate in Australia and New Zealand while others are worldwide, so think about where your customers will come from)
  • the 'fit' with your customer base. For example, people who use eBay are already converted to PayPal, as are people who don't have a credit card. If your customer base is aligned with eBay users, then PayPal might suit you. However for higher end products, customers might prefer a more streamlined customer interface.

Also consider...