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186 posts

Master Geek

# 22088 16-May-2008 11:23
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I am in the process of setting up an e-commerce site for a client. So now I'm looking at a cost effective means of accepting credit card payments online. If you google for this a bit, you will find a ton of solutions, but I am wondering if anyone can recommend one with which they have made good experiences.

A couple of points:
  1. It's not a shopping-cart kind of site. So, a hosted catalog site wouldn't work.
  2. Ideally, the payment page is styled and branded, even hosted by ourselves. So, the user would be able to enter the CC information in some forms I am providing, and I don't have to use a forms page that is hosted by the payment processor. A programmatic interface to the payment service would therefore be desireable. I'm willing to compromise on this based on the next few points, though.
  3. Initially, this is going to be a low-volume affair, with many smaller rather than a few big transactions. Therefore, low monthly costs and low per-transaction costs are important. For example, PaymentExpress seems to be popular in New Zealand, but I find their cost of $150 for setup and $50 per month rather steep. Internationally, there seem to be much lower-cost solutions available, but (see next point)...
  4. The payment processing service should not just focus on US bank accounts. Ideally, they should be able to deposit the funds straight into an NZ bank account.
Any recommendations?

Thank you very much...

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Phil Gale
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Red Jungle

  # 131223 16-May-2008 12:24
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Unfortunately it's hard to get a decent solution that integrates well for less than the $50/mo mark. However there are some stop-gaps worth considering such as PayMate and PayPal which will support NZ bank accounts. Nowhere near as nice, but far more cost effective for a low number of transactions.

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BDFL - Memuneh
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  # 131227 16-May-2008 12:36
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Paypal is easy to setup, you can maintain accounts in mutliple currencies, and you can withdraw the money from a Paypal account directly to a New Zealand bank account - in my experience it usually takes about two days after you click the button to have the money here.

People can pay with their credit card without creating a PayPal account.

You can use their IPN which basic will POST the transaction to your server. You then POST back a message to their servers with some ID and their servers reply with the full transaction information. This guarantees transactions your server receive are valid ones.

You can do whatever you want in your script after this point...


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  # 131245 16-May-2008 13:10
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Have found paypal is useful in many ways. Their API is reasonably easy to implement onto a oscom site.

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Master Geek

  # 131254 16-May-2008 13:48
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You can use their IPN which basic will POST the transaction to your server. You then POST back a message to their servers with some ID and their servers reply with the full transaction information. This guarantees transactions your server receive are valid ones.

Does this mean that I post the CC information (number, name, address, etc.) to PayPal? The user can enter the information on my seite (in a form hosted on my server), and will not know that PayPal is involved?

BDFL - Memuneh
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# 131264 16-May-2008 14:43
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No. It means PayPal will host the payment page for you. Upon receiving the details from the customer they process the credit card transaction and POST (HTTPS) to a script on your server with the transaction information.

Your script will POST (HTTPS) back to Paypal with the same information plus a key asking for confirmation.

The HTTPS response will be OK or NOT OK. Of course if NOT OK then someone else tried to impersonate the PayPal server. If OK then you process the transaction - your script will do whatever you want: add to database, send out an email with download instructions, create records, whatever is your business process.

You never see the customer's credit card details or anything else but the transaction information.

They have lots of documentation and a sandbox server where you can create accounts and test your transactions before going live.

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  # 131269 16-May-2008 15:08
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I can totally recommend Paypal, been using them for over 3 years and never had any issues. I do low volumes of sales via Paypal so a full blown e-commerce site is over kill for me.

You can create a custom checkout page with Paypal but I had issue with this as the images were hosted on my non-https webiste and their content was on https so IE would moan about security issues. I canned that in the end and just went with their pages.

My integration is pretty basic, no HTTP POST etc so I cant comment on that.


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  # 131284 16-May-2008 16:15
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Unless you are doing lots of transactions (or a few high value ones), forget about banks for now - UNLESS they already have a credit card merchant account (ie they accept credit cards in the bricks and mortar world).

If they DO have a merchant account, get it enabled for MOTO (Mail-Order-Telephone-Order) and write something to manually collect (then encrypt!) the credit card details from the customer and get them to the order-processing-person who then uses thier normal MOTO procedure to debit the card.

Otherwise, use Pay Pal.  Unless it's a US business, you want to develop to "Website Payment Standard" with PDT and IPN.  Here's the crux of it..
  1. You display a form (full of hidden fields :)) to the user and they click the button which posts the form and it's hidden fields to paypal.
  2. The user, now at paypal, pays.
  3. When (if!) the user returns to the site by clicking the Return to Site link at paypal, paypal sends along with them the various data about the payment, this is called PDT, you verify this of course with a POST-RESPONSE procedure back to paypal and do whatever you need to do (mark the order paid, unlock the download, whatever)
  4.  Even if the user doesn't come back, PayPal will do at least one Instant Payment Notification (IPN) POST (eventually) to your designated notify_url with the data, which you verify with a POST-RESPONSE procedure blah blah.

PayPal have a developer's sandbox system for you to develop and test all this against, go to PayPal and click Developers in the footer.

There are other alternative "third party processors", but none as recognised or well specified as PayPal is.

Now, of course if they are doing a decent number of transactions, then at some point going with thier own merchant account will be cheaper.  In which case I'd recommend you contact DPS (, or eGate ( for more information.

James Sleeman
I sell lots of stuff for electronic enthusiasts...

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