If you are planning on starting an ecommerce business then online payment arrangements will have to be made first. Customers who purchase from your site will always pay through the internet. But if you can keep several types of online payment options then they can be benefited and lured to your site. Small businesses accepting online payments enjoy lots of benefits. One such benefit is that customers increasingly accept this convenience and hence your cash flow also increases. Internet is always a speedy service and credit and debit cards are owned by almost all customers. It is hence expected that an online business has to provide an online payment option. If you wish to accept credit cards for receiving online payments then you need to make necessary banking arrangements for that purpose.

Online payments are always vulnerable to fraudulent activities. You need to protect your site from such fraud and prevent miscreants from interfering in your business.

You can accept online payments through the following processes:

Online Merchant Account: This is one of the best options to accept payments online. This type of merchant account is devoid of any kind of third party fees for accepting payments. The reliability factor is high and there is no cause for tension for both parties. If your e-commerce site consists of a shopping cart then this is the best option available for you. The shopping cart system requires special software, a processor, a store and also a secured payment gateway.

Third Party Payment Processor: Those who do not like to have a merchant account can opt for an optional online payment options. This kind of third party processor is very common for most of the merchants who carry out business through internet. With this kind of process you are able to accept payments online without the involvement of any extra charges or obligation. In this case, however, the transaction fees are much higher.

Costs associated with online payments: There are several fees associated with online payments. The banks involved in the process charge higher fees for their services. You need to submit a sign-up fee which would go up to a few hundred dollars. Companies associated with the transaction charge a fixed amount of fees. In fact the gateways involved in the merchant account will also charge fees. But there are defined set of rules and regulations which you need to study before hand.

You as the business owner have to make a choice on the nature of the payment acceptance method you are going to select. It would be wise to consider all options available and then choose the right one keeping in mind your needs and the customer’s convenience.

Commerce is an act of business for the sale or purchase of goods or services or both for monetary consideration. And e-commerce is the above said action transacted via the electronic medium. The most popular activity on the web today is shopping as it offers the widest opportunity to look up the infinite number of items for display for their commercial execution electronically. Although e-commerce by far registers the highest quantity of goods and services purchased, more than that of sale directly made through wholesale and retail process, it however didn’t come into existence overnight.

In order to understand the history of e-commerce one must go to the 1960s when businesses used ancient computer networks to transact business electronically. This was done by the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Here, a company having a computer would send or share invoices, order forms, shipping confirmation and other documents with that of another company’s computer. Again, each company had its own way of formatting then. In the same year the US military developed ARPAnet in order to pass on crucial communication in the event of a nuclear attack. But it was not until 1982, when ARPAnet switched over to Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol. This is the same technological package that powers the modern internet. In order to make the internet transaction smooth the American National Standards had already brought out a format that was globally acknowledged as the standard one for sharing business documents over the electronic network.

By the 1980s major computers mostly belonging to the universities were sending emails, sharing documents and other information through network like the BITNET and USENET. CompuServe was the first network that became popular for home PC users. CompuServe added yet another service in 1980s by the name of Electronic Mail whereby net users could purchase certain items directly from 110 online merchants. This actually laid the foundation for e-commerce. It was only in 1990, that a researcher by the name of Tim Berners Lee from the European Organization for Nuclear Research announced a hyper text based web. This could be navigated by a user with a simple interface called a browser. He called this the World Wide Web (www). To coincide with this the National Service Foundation lifted their ban on commercial business from operating over the internet. This actually paved way for web based commerce. The two leading companies that later transformed the entire ways and methods of e-commerce through the internet in the 1990 were Amazon and eBay. Amazon started with book publishers and sold their books through the net for end consumers which later expanded into a vast range of other items. EBay auctions became a great success with almost any item being bought and sold on their site including used items. From there on e-commerce became the best way for a person to shop especially for bargains.