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Accepting Credit Card Payments – A Guide For Businesses

Accepting Credit Card Payments – A Guide For Businesses


Abdullah Abdelkafi


09 Apr 2019

Read time

4 Minutes



With the majority of business transactions now happening online, on the go, and being processed quicker than ever, it has never been more important for your business to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in payment technology. So, if you’re not already then you should start accepting credit card payments for your business, whether it’s online or in-store.

Accepting credit card payments will enhance your customer’s shopping experience, speed up the transaction process and will enable more opportunities by offering more flexibility to your audience. Discover what’s involved when taking credit card payments with our go-to guide for businesses below.

This go-to guide outlines; why your business should be taking card payments, how to process and take card payments, advice on choosing the right credit card processor, credit card versus debit card payments, fraud prevention, as well as a glossary of key terms within the card industry. So whether you’ve just started accepting credit card payments and need more information or thinking about setting up card payments, then you’ll benefit from this guide.

Why Your Business Should Be Taking Card Payments

In addition to making the customer experience more efficient and easy, accepting credit card payments within your business (whether it’s an online or in-store business) will enhance your professional appearance, implement security processes and increase your customer base.

It is important for a business to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in consumer and online payments, and accepting credit card payments is one of the easiest and basic things you can do right now as a business owner to get your business up to speed.

There’s no doubt about it, customers now expect to be able to pay by debit card and credit card. Eliminate the risk of any lost sales by expanding your payment methods by accepting credit card payments today.

Learning how to accept credit card payments can help small businesses boost their sales, improve cash flow and provide a better experience for their clients. As well as improving the security of your business by having less cash on your premises. Security of your card payments is increasingly important if you’re high risk company.

Take a look at some of the links below for information on the benefits of credit card payments and some useful statistics around taking card payments.

* Using Payment Cards To Buy And Sell Goods Or Services
* Five reasons your business should accept card payments

Processing Credit Card Payments

With everyone now on the go more than ever, not only will you want to start accepting credit cards for your business, you’ll want to accept them both online and in person. To do this, there are two main pieces to the puzzle that are required; a merchant account service and a payment gateway.

Merchant Accounts

A merchant account is a bank account that is used to acquire payments from your clients’ debit and credit cards. The funds are taken from the cardholder’s account and sent directly to your merchant account, where they are held until they are settled into your nominated bank account.

Since money is transferred from the merchant account to your business account before the customer has paid their credit card bill, the merchant service account covers those charges. You can apply for a merchant account through an acquiring bank or provider (such as Worldpay). Or, you can get one through a third-party card payment processor, such as PayPal.

Payment Gateways

A payment gateway allows you to process card payments online through your website by acting as a tunnel between your merchant account and your customer’s bank account. Any business that is looking to accept card payments online will need a payment gateway to connect them with every bank in the world to ensure they can receive payment from their customer’s cards.

When ordering online, a customer will enter their card details into your website, which are then securely sent to the acquirer to process the payment. Once the payment has been approved, the information is then sent back to the website for confirmation.

Browse through some of the further reading links below for information on payment gateway options and tips, as well as advice on merchant account services.

Payment Gateways Explained
What’s The Difference Between A Merchant Account And A Payment Gateway?

How To Take Credit Card Payments

There are a number of ways to accept credit card payments in your business, from simple over the counter transactions or mobile card payments to online payments through an eCommerce store or third-party sellers. The right payment method for you and your business will depend on things like your business functionality and the size of your business.

Whether it’s accepting online payments or taking card payments in person with Chip and PIN or contactless payments, here’s a list of some of the key components you’ll need to maximise your payment processing.

Accepting Online Payments

To start accepting online payments you will need an online payment gateway and a merchant account. This allows funds to be transferred from your customer’s account to yours securely and safely. Integrating your shopping cart or website into the payment gateway and merchant provider will allow you to take credit card payments from all major credit cards.

Accepting Mobile Payments

To accept mobile payments you will still require a merchant account to facilitate the transfer of funds between your customer’s bank account and your store’s account. With mobile payments, you can use either a mobile card reader or a smartphone/ tablet that is connected to a WiFi, Bluetooth or a 3G connection to take payments from customers from anywhere with a connection.

Accepting In-Store Payments

To accept credit card payments in-store you will require a Point-of-sale (POS) system, including a complete checkout terminal that includes a credit card swiper, cash register, barcode scanner etc. In addition, a Credit card machine will allow you to take credit card payments face-to-face over the countertop in your store. You will also require a merchant account to facilitate the transfer of funds between accounts.

Credit Cards Vs. Debit Card Payments

Debit cards and credit cards may look alike and get scanned the same, but they’re very different when it comes to the benefits and financial costs, therefore it’s important to understand them both in detail when putting together the plans for your business.

A debit card is associated with a customer’s bank account. When they make a purchase, that exact amount of money is taken out of their bank account within a few days, which is therefore quite a simple and straightforward process for all parties.

When a customer uses a credit card, the credit card company essentially extends a loan for the amount purchased in the transaction. The total sum of spends in a month is shown on a bill, which the customer is obliged to pay otherwise the credit card company will charge an interest rate. Credit cards are beneficial to your business as they allow consumers to spend more and allow more flexibility, especially when it comes to international spending.

Fraud Prevention And Security

Implementing quicker and easier payment processes into your business comes with potential fraud and security risks. However, as long as you’re aware of these risks and put the right security measures into place, the benefits will far outweigh the potential negatives.

However, if your business doesn’t accept any card payments at all yet, then by switching over you’ll reduce the risk of having to hold significant amounts of cash on your premises, which can be an easy target for theft.

To protect your business from card fraud, a number of 3-D Secure authentication products are now available on the market that can be integrated alongside any other security your site has.

These include; Address Verification Service (AVS), Card Security Code (CSC), MasterCard SecureCode, Verified by Visa, J/Secure and SafeKey.
In addition, when taking payments online your business and customers will benefit from the payment system being PCI compliant.

Browse through some of the further reading links below for more information on fraud prevention and security when it comes to accepting card payments.
PCI compliance is the security standard endorsed by credit and debit card companies, such as Visa and Mastercard, and ensures you have the right controls in place to protect yourself and your customers when they pay.

Fraud Or Foe?
What Is 3D Secure Authentication?
Fraud Prevention – Total Processing

Start Accepting Credit Card Payments With Total Processing

Here at Total Payments, we provide a wide range of payment solutions for you to choose from, with a range of card machines for you to take face-to-face card payments from your customers to online payment options, including payment gateways and pay by link.

With our low pricing promise, zero set up fees, chargeback prevention service and 24/7 UK customer support, there has never been a better time to start accepting credit card payments with Total Processing.

For more information on our payment services, get in touch with a friendly team by phone on 0330 041 4765 or click here to get a quote.

Glossary – Common Card Industry Terms

To carry out thorough research when it comes to accepting credit card payments for your business, it’s best to familiarise yourself with some of the key terminology used within the card industry. Below is a small list of the most common and also the most basic terms, so that they’re easier to remember.

Acquirer – A bank that has a business relationship with merchants, retailers and other service providers to process their plastic card transactions.

Authorisation – Authorisations are provided by card issuers and confirm that the card details are valid and that the funds are available at the time of transaction.

Merchant Account – A bank account that is used to acquire payments from the cardholders’ debit and credit cards.

Payment Gateway – Acts as a portal or tunnel between your merchant account and your customer’s bank account.

Payment Processor – A company (often third-party) appointed by a merchant to handle transactions from debit and credit cards for merchant acquiring banks.

Point-of-sale (POS) system – A combination of software and hardware that enables merchants to take transactions. POS systems can come in the traditional format and also a mobile format.

Shopping Cart – Both physical and digital shopping carts are a place where customers can collect their items in one place and then process their shopping cart to the checkout.

Virtual Terminal – A virtual terminal allows merchants to accept debit or credit card payments online from anywhere they have internet access.

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