Credit cards are the primary purchase method for online shoppers, so it's pretty darn important to accept them and know the ins and out of the process. Sure, it's some complex stuff. But we're here to break it down for you into digestible chunks of info. Yum! Let's dig in.
A Tale of Two Banks: A Credit Card Payment’s Journey
Your store’s up and running and, well, you’re killin’ it. (Congrats! 👊) But where’s the cash to prove it? 💸 If the majority of your customers paid by credit card, you may find the funding process isn’t exactly intuitive. 💳 😟 But, we’re here to make it clear.
🏦 Two Types of Banks for Credit Card Payments 🏦
The first thing to know is that there is a bank where the money comes from — the shopper’s bank, AKA the “issuing bank” — and a bank where the money goes into — your bank, AKA “the acquiring bank.”
Who Gets Paid (And Charged) What?
When you accept a credit or debit card payment, your acquiring bank credits your account and debits the shopper's issuing bank.
Your bank makes money by charging you processing fees, as specified in the merchant agreement, and other convenience charges that are usually debited collectively at the end of each month.
The shopper’s issuing bank makes money by charging a percentage of the transaction total to the acquirer, as well as by charging the shopper interest fees on their monthly statements, as specified in the cardholder agreement.
Here’s a visual of the flow of funds:
Money Talk: A Credit Card Payment Glossary
Have you ever been in a conversation and had no idea what the other person is talking about because they’re using insider “business-speak,” instead of plain ol’ conversational English? It can feel like that when we talk about the credit-card payment process.
To get everyone speaking the same language, we’ve put together a short glossary of some of the most common terms.
The act of approving a purchase based on the fact that the cardholder’s account has enough available credit to cover the cost of the transaction. (If this is not the case, the purchase is declined.)
A collection of captured transactions. Authorized transactions are not usually submitted one at a time to your acquiring bank. Rather, they are “captured” and submitted to your bank for processing all at once in a “batch.”
This is the moment when you request the funds from an authorized transaction. Although the movement of funds from the cardholder's account to your account is not instantaneous, this step initiates the process. You'll typically see funds reach your checking account within three business days from the capture date.
This refers to a deposit of funds. Commonly, it’s used to describe the act of depositing refunded monies from your bank into your shopper’s account. This occurs after “cut time,” when a batch of captured transactions are submitted all at once.
The time of day that a batch of captured transactions is submitted to your bank for settlement. All captures performed after the cut time are held until the next batch.
Generally, this refers to a deduction of funds. However, we use this term to describe the simultaneous authorization and capture of funds.
A piece of software that communicates with the shopper’s issuing bank to determine if their account has enough available credit to cover the cost of the transaction. For Volusion Payments accounts, the gateway is Authorize.net.
This term applies to 1) the cancellation of an authorized transaction that has not been captured and/or 2) the cancellation of a captured transaction that has not yet been batched to your bank for settlement
Have It Your Way: Options For Authorizing Credit Card Sales & Getting Paid
No two merchants are the same. We celebrate your individuality by letting you choose your gateway settings for authorizing credit-card purchases and capturing funds. 💳
We’ll break ’em down, along with the payment log commands that will let you bring home the bacon.
Authorize at Sale, Capture at Shipping
With this default setting enabled, the gateway attempts to authorize the credit card automatically at the point of sale. If successful, it allows you to capture the funds manually at your convenience.
We recommend this setting because it preserves a seamless shopping experience for customers, while also providing you the greatest opportunity to combat fraud.
If your store is set to Authorize At Sale, Capture at Shipping, successful new orders appear in the Payment Log with Authorize listed under Payment Type.
After pressing Apply next to the Capture command in the drop-down menu (default option), a new line item is added above it.
Authorize and Capture at Sale
With this setting enabled, the gateway attempts to both authorize and capture funds immediately at the point of sale. This is what we call debit, and it’s the most convenient way to accept orders. But it’s also the riskiest.
If your store is set to Authorize and Capture at Sale, successful new orders appear in the Payment Log with Debit listed under Payment Type.
You don’t need to do anything further to receive these funds (yay!)
Authorize and Capture at Shipping
With this setting enabled, the gateway neither authorizes nor captures funds at the point of sale, but rather stores credit card data so that you can perform both steps manually later (either separately or simultaneously).
This setting is more secure than Authorize and Capture at Sale because it enables you to examine the order before capturing funds. But it’s less secure than Authorize at Sale, Capture at Shipping because it doesn’t allow you to store the CVV2 number (the number on the back of credit cards), which is a valuable fraud prevention tool.
If your store is set to Authorize and Capture at Shipping, the Payment Log appears empty. Use the Receive button in the Payments and Credits section to execute your initial payment command.
If using the Authorize option, the Payment Log appears as it does for the Authorize at Sale, Capture at Shipping setting. If using the Debit option, it appears as it does for Authorize and Capture at Sale setting.
Unsuccessful orders for all three gateway settings, appear in the Payment Log with Declined listed under Payment Type.
In this case, no further action is possible from the Payment Log. The customer must place a new order, or you must initiate a new payment attempt from the Payments and Credits section.
You want options? You got options. There are some pros and cons to the three gateway setting choices we provide, especially when it comes to convenience and fraud protection. Choose the setting that you’re most comfortable with by going to the Admin Area under Settings > Payment, then let the funds flow. 💵
Payday! Two Ways To Cash In
At some point, you’ve probably daydreamed about what it would be like to roll around in a big pile of money (or maybe that’s just us.) 🤑 Well, a batch is sort of like that.
With your Volusion store, there are two different forms of batches:
The Gateway Batch (A collection of captured transactions that are submitted to your bank for processing all at once.)
Volusion Batches (Batch processing the capture function.)
To choose Volusion Batches, adjust your settings like so:
- At Orders > Process Orders, use the Add to Batch column to group transactions together and click Save
- After executing the command, the Volusion Batch number appears to the left of each transaction it contains, along with an X icon
- Next, select the desired Volusion Batch from the Batch Order Processing drop-down menu, select Collect Payment from the second drop-down menu, and click Go
Your Gateway To Green: Authorize.net
Plastic is the primary payment method for online shoppers, so accepting them is a must. Lucky for you, Authorize.net is the gateway that processes credit card payments for your store and it comes with your Volusion account. You’re welcome. 😉
After clicking the link, follow the steps in the guide referenced in the email at www.authorize.net/files/accountactivation.pdf.
If you prefer a video demonstration, you can access one at www.authorize.net/videos/?id=1. 🎥
Now you’re ready to start accepting payments and processing them!
Locating Your Gateway Batch Data & Transaction Data in Authorize.net
With your account activated, you need to find and understand where your transaction data lives. Here’s how:
- Inside the Authorize.net console, click Transaction Statistics under the Reports heading in the left-hand menu. Alternatively, click Reports in the header, then Transaction Statistics.
Select the date (range) you’d like to view and click Run Report (the time displayed next to the date is the Gateway Batch's cut time).
Note that American Express serves as its own acquirer. Therefore, American Express transactions are funded to you directly by American Express separately from Visa, MasterCard and Discover transactions. In the Net Amount row, subtract the AmEx column value from the Totals value.
This adjusted total should correspond to the amount you see deposited in your checking account.
3. To locate the transaction within its Gateway Batch, click Transaction Detail under the Reports section on the home screen. Alternatively, click Reports in the header (the default selection is Transaction Detail).
4. Select the desired Gateway Batch from the Date menu and press Run Report. The Invoice Number is equivalent to the Volusion order ID number.
We hope processing plastic payments is a piece of cake. But if you ever have an issue, it’s helpful to understand the path a credit-card payment takes, who’s involved and, generally, how works. Happy charging!