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  1. #1
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    Hi guys, I am an amateur web designer with some minor design jobs in my backpack and I'm looking forward to solving and supplying problems with/to you.
    My first inquiry is about setting up a minor web shop. What I'm looking for here is information about the billing process. I read on some (random googled) forum, that for you to have your own credit card charging form, you would have to hire some lawyer to draw "the legal-document stuff" and essentially validate your shop - before you could use it. Is there any validity to this claim?

    I have had previous shops, but then relied on PayPal for the payment procedure. I have recently got a job from a person who wants the basic business-info-site but would also like to offer customers to order a few of her products via the web. Where it stands now is between a simple application that mails her the customers contact and ordering information, then she herself finishes the technicalities of the payment. The other alternative is the one I'm asking about - a form like the ones you bump into in most of serious webshops. So, is this task to big a bite for an amateur webdesigner?

    Thankful for any response
    // Hampus Ahlgren

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Brak's Avatar
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    If you're in the United States...

    There's few "have to's" with service-based businesses, especially self-owned businesses. Credit card requirements? Definitely not. It is a good idea to keep your business expenses and such separate from your personal finances, but only for reasons of clarity come time you get audited by the IRS. it's fairly painless to open up a business account at a local bank, and they'll give you a debit card you can use to purchase things.

    How you chose to receive payment is completely up to you. You can accept via paypal, credit card via merchant, cash, or goats if you so wish. You only need to report every cent you make to the government. I would recommend against any custom payment options. Any client worth their salt will be able to just cut you a check and mail it. That way you cut out the 3-10% CC processing fees.

    The only real "have to" is when you start working under some other name than your own (say you name your web shop something else other than your first/last name of some sort). In that case, you will need to file a DBA (doing business as) with your local county. It usually amounts to taking an ad out in the newspaper for two weeks, and then you're good for X number of years.
    Kyle Neath: Rockstar extraordinare
    The blog | The poetry site | The Spore site

  4. #3
    Junior Member ditch182's Avatar
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    You're country, city, county, municipality, etc... should have some resources for small business owners. In the US it's the Small Business Administration. You can probably find some good stuff out there if you keep looking. In any case, as Brak said, there are no real requirements in the US, unless you want to do business under an assumed name. You can open an Internet Merchant Account at any bank, and start taking credit card payments almost (after a little coding) immediately.

  5. #4
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    Check out Amazon S3 for credit card transactions. Its user friendly and really simplifies the payment process.

    Whatever you do you need to be sure that what you makes works. If you are still newish to the web development scene you shouldn't be building a custom solution. However using something like Paypal. S3 or another third party payment system is a valid way to approach this problem.

    Its not going to be easy but with a little research its far from difficult to create a safe, efficient and secure e-commerce site.

  6. #5
    WDF Staff mlseim's Avatar
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    If you already have a website and webhost, you can ask them about getting
    a secure server (SSL) to handle credit card transactions ...

    But we'll back up first ...

    There are two methods to online sales ...

    1) SIM - Simple Integration Method
    This is where your site is not secure and you provide the shopping
    cart, products, etc. But when it comes time to checkout, the user
    is directed off of your website to a secure website (with the credit
    card merchant). After the transaction, they are returned back to
    your site. This is typically what PayPal is about.

    2) AIM - Advanced Integration Method
    This is where your site is on a secure server, you have a secure
    database and everything stays on your website. The user never
    leaves your site to enter their CC information. Your scripting sends
    the transaction data to your credit card merchant and they return
    authorization codes back to you.

    Credit Card merchants like www.authorize.net offer both methods.
    They also have sample PHP scripts and a test mode for developers.

    In any case, you'll have to subscribe (or be a member) of a credit card
    merchant account. This is not free of course, but it's part of doing
    business online.

    There are many to choose from (depending on your location).
    Most offer sample scripting to assist with development.

    It is a big task, but you can find pre-made scripts that handle all of the
    admin stuff for you ... like CubeCart or OSCommerce.

    You might want to even consider hiring a freelance programmer to
    assist with the online commerce part ... while you take care of the
    other website stuff.


  7. #6
    Senior Member Brak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perad
    Check out Amazon S3 for credit card transactions. Its user friendly and really simplifies the payment process.

    Whatever you do you need to be sure that what you makes works. If you are still newish to the web development scene you shouldn't be building a custom solution. However using something like Paypal. S3 or another third party payment system is a valid way to approach this problem.

    Its not going to be easy but with a little research its far from difficult to create a safe, efficient and secure e-commerce site.
    S3 is not a payment gateway. S3 is a distributed storage service. Perhaps you were thinking about Amazon's payment gateway? (which requires people to have an amazon account).
    Kyle Neath: Rockstar extraordinare
    The blog | The poetry site | The Spore site

  8. #7
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brak
    S3 is not a payment gateway. S3 is a distributed storage service. Perhaps you were thinking about Amazon's payment gateway? (which requires people to have an amazon account).
    Ah my bad, yeah I was thinking about the payment gateway. I have used it on a couple of sites and found it really nice and easy to use.

  9. #8
    Junior Member ditch182's Avatar
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    Amazon has a new feature called Amazon Flexible Payments. It's API based, but customers don't have to have an Amazon account.


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