An Authorize.net and ECS Payments partnership can help your business obtain the best payment processing gateway to meet your needs.
If you’re running an online business, payment processing is a core aspect of your operations. You need to be able to accept as many payment options as possible with fees that are competitive. Keeping your overall costs down.
Not only that, but you also need additional tools that can streamline your eCommerce business so that you can provide them with the payment options they demand no matter where your customers are or how they choose to pay for goods or services.
But these days, it’s not only online retailers who need robust payment solutions. Many retail stores now have hybrid business models offering both a retail location and some degree of online sales. Hybrid business models can be worldwide online sales or just for local customers to browse and make purchases online for pickup at a retail location.
Either way, online payment processing is a crucial part of any modern business. Authorize.net has become a leader as a payment gateway for online merchants around the country.
Below, we’ll go over Authorize.net’s essential tools and features so you can decide if this payment gateway is right for your business and processing needs.
What Is A Payment Gateway?
Before moving on, explaining what a payment gateway is and how it relates to accepting payments is essential. That will help illustrate why choosing the right payment gateway is so important.
A payment gateway is the network that credit card data travels through as it moves from a retailer’s checkout page or sales terminal, then through the various banks, and finally back to the merchant once authorized.
When a credit card transaction is authorized, the data doesn’t just move from point A to point B. Instead, it moves between several entities. Each performing its own fraud and authorization checks before passing the information on to the following entity.
The general transaction flow looks like this:
Card Data Captured
For an online retailer, this is when the customer enters their credit card data on a website’s checkout page and then completes the checkout process. The website then passes the credit card data to the gateway for processing. The payment gateway will perform an initial check on all the information before passing it along to the payment processor.
The payment gateway then delivers the data to the payment processor with whom the merchant has their merchant account. The payment processor generally checks the transactions before passing the data to the credit card networks.
Credit Card Networks
The transaction is then passed along to the credit card networks, or credit card brands or schemes. The transaction is then routed between the processor and the customer’s issuing bank.
The issuing bank is the bank that issued the customer their credit card. It performs the final authorization and determines that funds are available. It then approves the transfer of funds back to the merchant’s account. The merchant can then later withdraw it into their bank account.
The payment gateway handles this process.
What Is Authorize.net?
Authorize.net is one of the leading payment gateways and a prevalent choice with eCommerce retailers due to its features and integrations made explicitly for online businesses.
Authorize.net made its start in 1996. Visa, who owns and operates Authorize.net, eventually acquired it.
While very popular with eCommerce retailers, Authorize.net also works well for retail or POS (point of sale) transactions.
Merchants can sign up with Authorize.net directly or through a payment processor. Although, for most businesses, it is recommended that they go through a trusted payment processor like ECS Payments when using Authorize.net. A payment processor offers additional support and features that most businesses will find necessary when setting up a new merchant account.
Authorize.net Payment Gateway Features
Earlier, we explained how a payment gateway transmits information between the institutions processing a credit card transaction. But a payment gateway does more than work behind the scenes. A gateway can also offer many daily tools and features that businesses need to streamline their operations and increase revenue.
Below, we’ll look at some of the features offered by Authorize.net.
Fraud is something that every merchant needs to be aware of. Fraudulent purchases can cost retailers money, but fraud also takes time and resources away from other tasks the business could focus on. So the more automated fraud detection tools a merchant has, the better.
Authorize.net offers many automated tools to help businesses manage their risk of fraudulent activity while at the same time allowing as many legitimate transactions as possible to go through.
Merchants can manage fraud prevention through setting specific filters on their gateway. Merchants can also use standard or default settings recommended by Authorize.net.
For example, merchants can filter certain risky transactions so that they are initially processed but have to be manually approved by the merchant before being sent for final authorization and settlement.
Merchants can filter transactions by region or other criteria to block or hold transactions for further approval.
Authorize.net Integrated Payments
For a merchant, integrated payment solutions are when their payment gateway or other merchant services integrate with other software tools the business may be using.
For example, integrating your payment data and analytics with your accounting programs, such as Quickbooks.
These integrations can streamline operations, create efficiencies, and remove the need to manually transfer data.
Due to the popularity of Authorize.net, their gateway integrates with most business productivity tools such as Quickbooks. It also works with industry-leading software apps such as Salesforce and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
Recurring Billing Tools
Being a popular choice for online sellers, Authorize.net has robust features for those who run eCommerce businesses based on a recurring billing model.
Authorize.net features customer data hosting on its secure servers. By doing this, retailers and online businesses can lessen their security responsibility since all the sensitive customer data is held on Authorize.net servers, not locally.
Authorize.net also features automatic credit card updating for recurring business models. This feature checks the issuing banks for changes to customer credit card information, such as new expiration dates when new cards are issued.
If detected, the updater automatically changes the information the merchant has on file to reflect the new information. This means that billing can continue uninterrupted without the customer needing to manually update their information or intervene.
This is a powerful way for recurring billing businesses to maintain their numbers and reduce the churn associated with these companies.
Hosted Payment Pages And Invoicing
Hosted payment pages are checkout pages hosted by the gateway, in this case, Authorize.net. Online retailers can use them instead of their secure checkout pages.
This means that when a customer selects their products on a website and then goes to make the payment at checkout, they are directed to the hosted payment page where they enter their payment information. Many online merchants prefer this method as it removes many security issues of hosting your own checkout page to collect credit card information.
This can also be helpful for smaller merchants who may need access to the developers necessary to create a secure shopping cart checkout page.
However, retailers or service providers can also use hosted payment pages. Hosted pages can be used as a type of invoice where the customer is sent a payment link, and following the link takes them to a customized payment page to complete the purchase.
Beyond this, Authorize.net does offer dedicated invoicing options that are available right from the merchant’s account dashboard. Merchants can create invoices using stored customer information and send them to customers right from the dashboard.
Virtual Terminal Payments
Merchants can also use Authorize.net’s virtual terminal. A virtual terminal is a software-based terminal that can be used to run credit card transactions. These are commonly used for payments over the phone or for secured payments when the credit card cannot be read in person.
Authorize.net And High-Risk Processing
Some products and services are considered high-risk by the credit card processing industry. High-risk products are those items that historically have higher occurrences of fraud or chargebacks associated with them.
Merchants can still sell high-risk products and services via credit card payments. But, they require a particular high-risk merchant account and a payment gateway allowing high-risk transactions.
Payment processors such as ECS Payments offer these high-risk merchant accounts and specialize in this advanced area of payment processing.
Authorize.net may be compatible with certain high-risk merchant accounts, and ECS Payments offers merchants access to this gateway along with several other high-risk compatible gateways.
Many everyday products and services fall under the category of high-risk. Some of these include:
- CBD products
- Health and wellness supplements
- Timeshare or timeshare services
- Virtual or in-game currencies
- Firearms and ammunition
- Coaching services
- Debt collection and consolidation services
- Credit repair services
- Digital sales or content
This list is just a few of the high-risk products and services. Authorize.net allows these transactions and offers competitive transaction fees in this area.
If you need to process high-risk transactions, contact ECS Payments to learn more about our high-risk services and how we can help you obtain a merchant account.
Authorize.net And PCI Compliance
Any merchant that accepts credit cards needs to be fully PCI DSS compliant. PCI DSS refers to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and is a set of rules and guidelines that all merchants and service providers must follow.
Authorize.net has several features and tools that help merchants remain compliant with all of these security regulations regarding storing or transmitting sensitive customer information.
For example, Athorize.net offers its Customer Information Manager. A merchant can access this feature through their account dashboard. It allows for the vaulting of customer billing information on the Authorize.net servers.
When merchants do not store billing or credit card information locally, they can lower their security requirements relative to their PCI compliance level.
Other features previously mentioned, such as hosted payment pages and payment links, further help merchants stay PCI DSS compliant by keeping as
much of the customer’s transaction on the Authorize.net network and servers as possible.
Authorize.net API Development
For those online businesses that need customized and advanced payment solutions, Authorize.net allows access to their API for development.
Auhtorize.net’s API or Application Programming Interface is how the gateway communicates with other networks to share data while processing and transmitting credit card information. The API integration works as a communication protocol, and developers can build applications around this API to create customized payment solutions for their businesses.
Authorize.net offers complete documentation and technical support for their API. They also provide a sandbox testing environment so developers can work with the API in a safe setting to ensure all features work and are secure before going live with their application.
If your business requires advanced API access for creating payment applications, contact ECS Payments. We work with Authorize.net and other gateways and help your business choose the right gateway and API to aid and speed up your development.
Authorize.Net Integrations With Popular Platforms
Since Authorize.net is popular with online retailers, it should be no surprise that their gateway easily integrates with almost every major eCommerce shopping platform.
Popular platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Wix easily integrate with Authorize.net.
Most of these platforms have tools already created around Authorize.net, so all merchants need to do to complete the integration is enter their Authorize.net credentials into the shopping platform. Once completed, you can immediately start accepting credit cards processed via the Authorize.net site.
If you’re new to eCommerce platforms, you may have noticed that many of these sites, like Shopify, have their own payment solutions, such as Shopify Payments. However, experienced eCommerce owners generally choose to obtain their own third-party merchant account and payment gateway access.
With your own dedicated merchant account and access to a gateway like Authorize.net, you have complete control over your payment processing and funds. Having your dedicated merchant account also offers lower fees in many cases, which can add up to significant savings over time.
If you’re considering using an eCommerce platform like Shopify, contact ECS Payments to learn about securing your own merchant account and gateway access. It’s far more accessible than most new business owners realize. You’ll be setting yourself up for success and easier business scaling in the future.
Authorize.net offers competitive fees compared to most other large payment gateways. Fees can vary based on your payment processor and the type and volume of your processing. However, the monthly fees are usually between $25 – $35 to access the gateway. Plus, transaction fees are between 1.5% and 3.5%, along with a per-transaction fee.
Overall, the fees to use Authorize.net align with most other gateways. But really, merchants should focus on the tools Authorize.net offers and whether they match their business’s needs.
Who Is Authorize.net For?
Generally, most businesses can use Authorize.net as their payment gateway. However, they specialize in a few areas, which makes them a better choice for some merchants.
If you are exclusively an online merchant or eCommerce business, then Authorize.net is a great fit. They can tailor many of their tools for online payment processing workflows. Although, they still do work well with in-person transactions.
Authorize.net is also best for North American businesses that handle domestic transactions. If your business has more international customers, another gateway, such as NMI, might be a better choice as they have more offshore processing options.
Finally, high-risk eCommerce merchants should strongly consider Authorize.net and ECS Payments. The partnership can work with most high-risk industries and offer competitive rates for handling these higher-risk transactions.
Authorize.net And ECS Payments
Authorize.net and ECS Payments have an extensive experience in partnership together. ECS has helped countless merchants use the Authorize.net gateway for processing in-person and online transactions.
ECS Payments also offers access to several other gateways. We offer each merchant the best getaway based on their needs.
Contact ECS Payments today to learn more about Authorize.net and how your business can benefit from its advanced processing tools.