Tips for online payments

There are many stories about people being 'ripped off' online, from booking a holiday house that is not the same as it appeared in photos on the website, to having credit card details stolen and used illegally. There are also stories about businesses getting 'scammed' by buyers who order goods then claim they have never been delivered and demand a refund.

Creating a secure online payments system

You need to make sure your online payments system creates confidence and delivers a good, secure experience for customers while also protecting your interests.

  • Make sure your website outlines security and privacy protection for your customers, so that customers feel confident to use your payment system.
  • Follow up your website service with excellent real-life service. For example, make sure your product is as it appears on the website, and that there are no hidden costs. Online reviews make it very easy for customers to spread the word if they have a bad experience with your business.
  • Provide information about your business — where you're based, how to contact you and what to do if something goes wrong. These features increase customer confidence.
  • Electronic business transactions are subject to the same business laws as normal transactions. You need to understand online fair trading (including privacy, spam and intellectual property) and copyright laws.
  • Make sure any terms and conditions are very clear, for example your refunds or cancellations policy.

Secure sockets layer (SSL)

Most customers prefer secure sites if they are going to make payments online. If you are planning to take secure payments directly through your website, you will need an 'SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) digital certificate'. This encrypts information such as credit card details as it is transferred over the internet so that other people can't access this information. Your website hosting service or developer can advise you about applying for a certificate.

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