When setting up an ecommerce website one of the most important things to consider is security and PCI compliance. There are two ways to meet the requirements for PCI compliance. You can either do it all on your own or you can use a service like PayPal or CloudSwipe to process your credit card payments for you. Using a 3rd Party such as PayPal or CloudSwipe to process credit card payments means that your site would never store, process, or transmit credit card information. Therefore, since your site has nothing to do with credit card information you do not have to worry about PCI compliance as far as your website is concerned.
PCI compliance, however, is not just for websites. The PCI compliance standards apply to how a business handles all credit card data, not just your website. For example, if your business accepts phone orders where customers tell you their credit numbers, or you accept mail orders with credit card data written on paper, or have face-to-face sales, there are other requirements you will need to achieve for PCI compliance. Services such as PayPal, Google Checkout, and CloudSwipe will resolve all of the PCI compliance requirements for your website.
Problems With PayPal
There are three primary problems with using PayPal to handle the ecommerce transactions for your website:
- Holds and Frozen Accounts – But it’s MY money!
- Buyer Confusion – Do I need a PayPal account?
- Checkout process – I want my checkout page to look like my site
Holds and Frozen Accounts – But it’s MY money!
PayPal does not provide you with a real merchant account which means they hold all of your money until you request that the money is transferred to your bank account. If your site suddenly experiences a meaningful increase in sales or for some other reason triggers one of PayPal’s red flags, your account can be frozen and you won’t be able to access any of your money. This, of course, can be a major problem. If your account gets frozen you may be able to process new sales but you won’t be able to access your money until they release the freeze on your account. This means you have to keep fulfilling new orders without being able to access what you’ve been paid. PayPal is not known for having the best customer service, so there is no telling how long it will take to regain access to your own account. There are reports of accounts being frozen for months.
PayPal is not a bank and not subject to Federal Banking laws. This means:
- PayPal can hold your money without your consent and without providing explanation
- PayPal can freeze your account blocking your access to YOUR money and blocking sales
- PayPal can take money out of your account without your consent
For these reasons, it is best to have your own merchant account and have money automatically deposited into your checking account with your bank.
Buyer Confusion – Do I need a PayPal account?
The last thing you want to do is confuse your buyers when they are trying to pay you money. Even though there are ways to pay through PayPal that do not require your buyers to already have a PayPal account, when your buyers see the “checkout with PayPal” button the assumption is that they need a PayPal account. There are plenty of people, especially people buying on behalf of their business, who simply will not use PayPal. The goal of your ecommerce website is to provide a clean, fast, easy, consistent buyer experience. With CloudSwipe, when it’s time to pay all your buyer will see is a form to collect their billing information on a checkout page that looks exactly like your website.
When paying with PayPal, your buyer will leave your website and land on a totally different looking site where they will see a form to log into PayPal and instructions for what to do if they don’t have a PayPal account. This is clearly going to confuse some of your buyers and is going to lower your sales. With CloudSwipe, your buyers will just enter their billing data and pay with one click.
Checkout process – I want my checkout page to look like my site
During the checkout process using PayPal, it is quite obvious that the buyer is jumping from your site over to PayPal to complete the sale. The PayPal website looks totally different from your website and, aside from being able to upload your own logo, you have no ability to customize the checkout page on PayPal’s website.
CloudSwipe has a feature called Page Slurp so you can have your hosted checkout page look exactly like the rest of your website. You have complete control over the design of the page just like if you were hosting it on your own server.
When you use PayPal, it’s obvious that you are using PayPal and you lose all control over the design of the site and the checkout experience. When using CloudSwipe, aside from the secure URL and security lock on the browser, your buyers won’t even know you are using CloudSwipe. You will have a seamless, fully integrated, PCI compliant payment page.