Well, it happened about a week later than I wanted it to, but I have finally chosen Thompson Merchant Services to process my credit cards. They were neck and neck for a while with WaMu’s TransFirst merchant services, who cost a little more but provided excellent service and assistance during the sales process. They both offer competitive rates on a package that includes a gateway, a merchant account and a virtual terminal. They both respond to questions and submissions quickly. The deal-breaker was the SSL certificate.
Thomas’ NexCommerce gateway, run by Authorize.net, comes with SSL encryption built in. For those of you who did not read the previous merchant services posts, an SSL certificate is a safety wrapper you buy for your web site so that identity thieves can’t steal your customers’ personal info when they buy things from you online. TransFirst’s Transaction Central requires that you purchase your own SSL certificate, which is pretty standard. Normally, this is not a big deal. GoDaddy can provide you with one for $20 a year or less, depending on how many years you buy up front (and their 24/7 customer service is second to none). The problem is that my web site is just one subdomain in a web hosting package my fiance and I use for all of our various web projects. In other words, our main domain is my fiance’s design business, www.burning-house.com, and my Sweet Meats web site is actually located at meat.burning-house.com. The domain name http://www.sweet-meats.com just points you to that meat folder on the burning-house web site.
So, back to my gateway issue: an SSL certificate can only be added to the main domain of a hosting package (the burning-house.com one), which means that I would have buy another web hosting package and move all of my Sweet Meats files over to a new server. I just don’t have the time or the money for that right now.
NexCommerce will not set up their gateway for you unless you have a few things on your web site first:
- Customer Service number or email.
- Return/Refund Policy (including “no refunds” if this is the case).
- Website Secure Order Page along w/shopping cart (order page doesn’t need to be functional yet but must be present)
- Delivery Method and timing are clearly stated (like “Products are shipped 24-48 hours after receiving your order via UPS Ground, Fedex 2nd Day”, etc.)