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3 Tips For Choosing A Payment Gateway: Collecting Money Online

As a consumer, when you check out of your local convenience store, you may swipe your credit card through a point-of-sale device and your gas, coffee, and donut are paid. But what if you are the retailer and your business is online? It’s not like you have a card-swiping device at every customer’s PC! There must be a way for you to process that information. Essentially, that is the job that a payment gateway does for online retailers. Roy Banks, president of http://Authorize.net, a leader in the payment gateway industry, describes his company’s function as “the digital version of a hardware point of sale terminal.”

What is a Payment Gateway?

Payment gateways allow online merchants such as eStore owners or auction sellers to accept credit card payments over the internet. They authorize the cardholder’s credit—that is, they check to ensure that the customer has enough money on their credit card to cover the charges. They then place a hold on that amount so the buyer can’t turn around and spend that same money elsewhere before it gets transferred to the retailer’s merchant account. Banks describes this as “the technology…necessary to consummate a payment transaction.”

A Payment Gateway is NOT a Merchant Account

Many people confuse merchant accounts with payment gateways but they are not the same. Merchant account services act, for the most part, as a liaison between your business bank account and the payment gateway. When a customer orders a product from your online business their card is processed via the payment gateway. The money is then moved over to the merchant account service. The merchant account service then moves those newly captured funds to your business bank account.

3 Tips for choosing a Payment Gateway:

1.  Is it PCI-compliant?

That means that the company’s security has been audited by a third party and found to be up to industry standards. Since payment gateways store all your customers’ credit card information (sparing you the stress), it also means you can sleep better at night, knowing your customers’ valuable information is safe and sound.

2.  Good customer support

Enough said.

3.  Lastly, it is important that the payment gateway you choose be integrated to the third-party solutions you are planning to use

That means things like store front platforms and shopping carts—you want them to be compatible with your gateway.

Payment gateways will not only allow you to collect the monies from your sales, many also offer an array of security features, some of which will help you avoid becoming a victim of fraudulent orders! In the end, they will make your ecommerce business a less-stressful, more pleasant experience—for both you and your customers.

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The Most Common Types of Online Scams

The Most Common Types of Online Scams

The internet can be a blessing for most of us, but there are some cybercriminals who threaten to ruin its usefulness for shopping and information gathering by trying to scam unsuspecting online victims. There are a number of common scams to watch out for. Here are seven of the main ones.

1. Phishing

Phishing is when a cybercriminal contacts you to try to get you to hand over your personal information or money. It might also try to get you to download a virus that infects your computer with malware or opens up a back door so they can steal sensitive data such as your usernames, passwords, account numbers and so on. Phishing happens most often via email, but it can also happen over the phone, via text, and on social media.

In particular, beware of online quizzes on social media. They will often try to get your passwords by asking you common questions so they can then guess your passwords in order to access your accounts and so on. Many people base their passwords on birthdays, children and pet names, and so on, so beware.

Phishing emails usually look legitimate, but pay attention to any landing page you might be sent to. They will usually try to make the site appear the same as the original, such as PayPal, but comparing the two side by side will usually demonstrate which is the scam.

2. Keystroke Software

One form of malware captures all your keystrokes, so it can pretty much log every site you go to, your username, and password. This could be a real disaster in terms of identity theft and money being stolen.

3. Sad Nigerians

Believe it or not, this scam still works on some people. It usually involves an email from a desperate Nigerian asking for help in getting a large amount of money from the bank. Those who get hooked in pay small amounts to get paperwork for the transaction and then finally get the money, but all they are doing is putting money in someone else’s bank account, and possibly even revealing their sensitive financial information.

The scam relies on greed and getting lots of money for very little effort, so remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

4. Greeting Card Scams

There are lots of free greeting card sites online, but they can be very dangerous. The images can carry malware that will attack the recipient’s computer and it will often open up a Trojan horse for them to get more information. If you do have to send an eCard, use a reputable site and watch out for spoof sites, such as clones of Hallmark.com.

5. Great Loan, Credit Card and Re-Fi Offers

These also play upon greed and/or desperation, especially when people are struggling financially. But no reputable bank is going to send you these offers via email. And if you have a bad credit score, there is also no way you would be offered the best deals, which are reserved for the best customers.

6. Lottery and Contest Scams

These have also been around for some time and still fool people. The email tells you that you are a winner and need to pay a small fee to get your cash or prize.

7. Ransomware

This is a very dangerous scam that is hard to overcome. The ransomware locks your computer until you pay them in bitcoin. The longer you wait to pay, the more money they ask for. So far, even top computer security pros have not been able to restore data or track down the criminals. Note that if you have a backup hard drive connected to your computer, the ransomware can lock that up as well. Back up all your data in a reliable cloud storage system and avoid clicking on anything that does not look legitimate.

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