What is a payment gateway and a merchant account?

In order to enable online credit payments on your website, you will need three things:

- a shopping cart or buy now button
- a payment gateway 
- a merchant account (with "card not present" option)

A payment gateway connects a shopping cart to your merchant account to enable real-time payments by credit cards. Sometimes this service is bundled with a banks merchant account facility, or with the shopping cart facility. You need to consider all three components when making comparisons on price.

A shopping cart is a feature on your website that will allow customers to place an order, and calculate shipping and tax to determine a total price to pay. Websites with only one product may be able to get away with a simple "buy now" button.

A payment gateway is required to collect the money from the customers credit card, and deposit the money into your bank account. A payment gateway is typically a bank, or a company that specialises in payment gateway solutions. Our Content Management System integrates to the most popular payment gateways around.

A merchant account is an arrangement you have with your bank that allows you to accept credit card payments from your customers with their "card not present" i.e. you wont physically sight the card. This is not just for websites; the same requirement exists for making eftpos transactions or over the phone orders.  To set up this you may need this information

Paypal and Paymate do not required a merchant account. Worldpay will organise you one. All others require a merchant account with your existing bank

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