How to take card payments online

Published: 26/03/2020

With the current coronavirus crisis, we're encouraging small businesses to look at things differently when it comes to taking card payments.

One option is to look at taking online payments - whether that's to take a payment before you deliver a product or if you're offering a collection service.

In this article, we’ve got the lowdown on the top three ways to accept online card payments - including the kinds of business they’re most suited to. So, let’s get started. 

1. Payment gateway

A payment gateway is a merchant service provided by a payments provider (like us) that authorises online card payments by facilitating the exchange of information between a business’ website and the consumer’s bank. 

In a nutshell, they make selling through your website simple. 

Payment gateways link up with online shopping carts and can be customised to allow for a smooth and seamless customer experience. They’re also ready to accept payments 24/7 so you can make sales day and night. 

Good to know: with our payment gateways you can log into your account at any time for access to real-time transaction reports.

How does it work?

With us, setting up a payment gateway looks like this:

  1. We help you or your website developer set up your payment gateway on your website (so don’t worry, you don’t need to be a tech boffin to get started).
  2. You customise the gateway to suit your brand.
  3. Your customers fill their online shopping cart and proceed to checkout.
  4. They’re taken to a page, hosted by us, where they’re asked for their card details.
  5. The information is sent securely to their bank to process the transaction.
  6. They’re automatically redirected to your site for order confirmation. 

Is a payment gateway right for my business?

Are you setting up an e-commerce store whereby consumers can purchase goods via your website? If the answer’s yes, then a payment gateway will meet your needs. 

Are they safe?

Yes. Our gateways are SSL certified and use 3D secure authentication technology as well as AVS and CVV security features. For more info on the safety of online payments head here

2. Pay by link

Pay by link is a method of accepting online card payments without the need for a website. All you need is an internet-enabled device - like a tablet, laptop or smartphone, from which you send your customers an electronic invoice via email.

How does it work?

Here at takepayments, our pay by link service works like this:

  1. You log into our secure Merchant Management System.
  2. You create a custom electronic invoice and either: 
    1. Write an email including a ‘pay now’ button and send it to your customer, or
    2. Copy and paste the link into an email.
  3. The customer clicks on the link and is taken to a secure payments page, hosted by us, where they enter their card details.
  4. The information is sent securely to their bank to process the transaction.
  5. You get paid.

Is pay by link right for my business?

Pay by link is a great option for businesses who want to give their customers the option to pay online but have no need for a dedicated online store, such as tradesmen, service for hire companies, venue dressers, etc. 

If you’ve ever found yourself waiting what feels like an age to get paid after having sent a paper invoice, pay by link could help as it cuts out the arduous waiting period and gets you paid faster. 

Is it safe?

Yes. Pay by link also uses 3D secure authentication technology to protect both you and your customers. Plus, each link you create is ‘single-use’, making it valid for one transaction only.

3. Virtual terminal

Virtual terminals flip pay by link on its head because they work in much the same way but instead of your customer inputting their card details online, it’s you who does it. 

Again, no website is needed, simply an internet-enabled device like a laptop, smartphone or tablet through which you can log in to a secure page to take online payments. 

Virtual terminals make taking card payments over the phone super simple. 

How do they work?

A transaction with our virtual terminals would look like this:

  1. Your customer rings you up to pay for goods or services by card.
  2. You log into your secure virtual terminal.
  3. You ask the customer for their card details and input them.
  4. The secure terminal, hosted by us, sends the information to their bank to process the payment.
  5. You’re presented with a ‘transaction successfully completed’ message.
  6. You send your customer a receipt and get paid.

Is a virtual terminal right for my business?

If you're looking at changing the way you do things for the next few weeks and months, a virtual terminal is a great way to start taking online payments. 

A customer can give you a call to place their order, you take a few details, and voila, everything is paid for. 

Good to know: our virtual terminals are quick and easy to set up, and we’ll always be on hand to offer support.

Are they safe?

Yes. Our virtual terminals are set up to protect both you and your customers from fraud using AVS and CVV security checks. They’re also PCI DSS compliant as standard - just like all of our payment systems - to protect both parties. 

Before you get started

Before you can start accepting card payments online there are two things you’ll need to have in place:

  1. PCI DSS compliance
  2. A merchant account

PCI DSS compliance

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of standards you must comply with in order to accept any form of card payment. They exist to protect both you and your customers and no matter how big or small your business is, you need to meet the standards before you can start accepting payment by card. 

Need help? Our dedicated PCI compliance team can guide you through the whole process.

A merchant account

A merchant account is a special type of bank account that acts as a holding pen between your business bank account and your customer’s bank account - it holds the funds while they’re being processed. For a deeper dive into the world of merchant accounts head here.

Need to set one up? We can get you up and running with one for free as part of our service.

Ready to take the next step and start accepting card payments online? At takepayments, we won’t tie you down into lengthy contracts, and tailor our pricing to suit individual circumstances because we don’t believe any two businesses are the same.

If you’re still not sure which online system is right for your business, we’ve got expert consultants located across the UK who’ll come to you and help work out the best fit for your business, so get in touch today on 08082 397003.

Get your FREE quote today.

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