Every website must meet certain requirements in order to accept payments through it. This is not just a matter of rules set by financial organizations (such as acquiring banks or card organizations – Visa, MasterCard, etc.). Many of these requirements are simple points that make e-businesses more profitable and easier to run.
Benefits of a well prepared website
Meeting these criteria has three main advantages. A website that fulfills them:
- is approved and you can accept payments through it,
- is more informative and provides better experience for consumers,
- has better conversion and less returns, chargebacks, etc.
It’s important to notice that such requirements and guidelines are in merchants’ best interest. Financial organizations work with hundreds of thousands different merchants worldwide which means they are able to point out most common issues that may cause problems in your business. Fortunately, most of those problems are quite easy to resolve.
What are the criteria?
At PeP, we have a set of requirements and we recommend best practices that will both help to improve your e-business and satisfy the criteria of financial institutions (e.g. acquirers).
The criteria listed below are obligatory, they have to be met if you want us to open an account for your business. The good news is that most merchants meet these criteria anyhow when creating their websites.
Make sure that your customers will be able to identify your website at any time. It’s best to put your logo and/or company name on top of every website; you may also consider putting your company’s name at the bottom of every page.
Make sure that your customers will be able to contact you, provide them with the following information:
- phone number,
- email address (or contact form),
- customer support working hours.
Such information must be easily accessible, before a customer makes a purchase, and up to 90 days after their last transaction. It’s a good idea to create a separate contact page.
Descriptions of offered goods and services
Provide complete descriptions of products and/or services that you sell. Customers should not have any doubts as to what they are purchasing.
For example, if you sell clothing, state the size, color, style etc. If you sell electronic devices, specify voltage requirements, plug type or whether or not batteries are included. Every product requires different information, but you should always ensure that your customers are fully aware of what they are buying.
Price and transaction currencies
Your customers must be able to identify the final price unmistakably and recognize the transaction currency before the purchase. It’s recommended to use the ISO 4217 currency codes – they unambiguously define every currency with just three letters.
These two documents are a must and they will serve you well.
Also, if you have not clearly stated the following information elsewhere on your website, remember to include it in the terms of service:
- company registration address – the details of the company’s registration address must be present on the website; this is not to be confused with contact information,
- statement on transaction security – you should clearly point out all the measures taken to ensure the transaction security (e.g. SSL encryption).
You must clearly specify the proceedings in case of refunds and cancellations, returns of goods, etc. Such information must be easily accessible before the purchase.
You may include such statements in the terms of services, although in most cases it’s better if the refunds policy is a separate document (sub-page) – customers can find it more easily and this way avoid misconceptions.
Recommended best practices
The points stated below are not crucial and your website will most likely be approved to accept online payments without them. However, we highly recommend taking those guidelines into account as they always improve the communication and help to avoid misunderstandings.
Make sure that the shipping options, costs, and estimated delivery times are clearly stated.
State any possible restrictions regarding sending products to other countries (for example additional shipping fees, tax, delivery time).
Remind to keep a copy of transaction data
It’s a good practice to remind your customers that they should retain a copy of the transaction information and be able to access it. This helps both sides to refer to a specific purchase when it comes to any issues like returns of goods, complaints, etc. Note that there should always be a unique ID number assigned to each transaction that will allow to identify it unambiguously.
Visa, MasterCard and other payment related logos
If you offer card payments or other payment methods, you should include their logotypes on your website. You can place them, for example, at the bottom of the website or directly on the payment form page.
There is a number of rules that specify how such logos should be placed (e.g. none of them should be placed in disadvantage of other means of payment, they should not be placed in a way that would make them be accidentally classified as suppliers and so on).