If you’re a business that accepts credit and debit card payments online, you must select the best payment processor. Online payment processors do all the difficult tasks, from capturing sales to sending you a bill statement and working with your banks to ensure that you are paid.

When a customer buys something on your website or in person at your brick-and-mortar store their credit or debit card data passes through a gateway for payments or PoS terminal. The gateway encrypts the data to protect it and then transmits it to the payment processor, who then forwards it to the customer’s card network. The card network then contacts the bank of the customer to determine if they have enough money to purchase the item. If the bank accepts the purchase the card issuer will transfer the funds from their account to the bank that is owned by the merchant. The payment processor will transmit this information to the merchant’s website or PoS terminal and inform the customer that their payment was successful.

When selecting a processor think about factors like security, ease-of-use, and compatibility with the current systems. Choose a processor with APIs and plugins to seamlessly integrate with your e-commerce platform or the POS system. You should also look at the checkout experience of your customers as well as the reporting and transaction management experiences for your team. Not least, ensure you know the terms of your contract and how it will be easy to switch providers in the future.