Working of Credit Cards and Credit Card Processing Software

Merchant Warehouse |

December 10, 2010

Credit card processing for PC-based systems has become the “hot commodity” when it comes to retail businesses of all sizes and types. Over the past few years it has become quite popular with merchants trying to run successful businesses, since it can introduce a number of efficiency measures. Using software means not having to buy hardware terminals, for one thing.

PC-based credit card processing software packages work in conjunction with credit card merchant service gateways. This can offer merchants strong advantages over the more traditional credit card based terminals or POS systems because software is much more affordable for businesses of all kinds, regardless of type or size. One type of business that has been using PC-based processing since “day one” is the Internet-only merchant. With no in-person (card present) sales to process, and every sale already occurring in the “digital domain,” it made sense to stay in that domain the complete the processing. Many businesses process 100% of their transactions this way.

Whether in a retail storefront or an ecommerce business, using credit card processing software does assume some computer expertise on the part of the owner and operators, but that is not a “deal killer” in this computer-savvy age. The majority of PCs used for credit card processing, as in all other business applications, are Windows-based machines, and it does not take an expert to use these “user friendly” computers today.

Fast, Efficient, Secure

Using a Windows-based PC for credit card processing is safe, fast, efficient and secure. It can be designed to work simultaneously with multiple systems on most networks, integrate with the most reliable fraud protection features and provide great flexibility in batch processing, report generation and customer record retention. The advantages of having more information in fewer places for faster review and reporting should be apparent.

Merchants that process payments from their customers with a personal computer system will normally do so over a broadband connection, although a dial-up connection is also usable. It is even possible to bring wireless terminals into a computer-based processing system, although this is somewhat more technically challenging for some. Even if merchants are not computer-savvy, they can take one step at a time into the “brave new world” of “totally virtual” credit card processing, and learn as they go. All reputable account providers can help with these technical issues.

Different OS Choices

Of course, there are merchants that prefer to use a different operating system (OS) than Windows in their business. Macintosh systems are also quite popular as well as Linux. Merchants will have the ability to process most major credit cards and debit cards with either of these OS choices, and the new Intel-based Macs can actually run both the Mac OS and Windows, even simultaneously.

Merchants with computer expertise will also have the ability to incorporate several computers that can make multiple sales at one time. It’s imperative that you include address verification as well as account verification in order to protect you and your customers from fraud, of course, and computerized processing can handle this as well as any other verification system. You will also benefit from a large batch processing capacity. And, as already touch upon, computer processing allows for detailed customer reporting to improve marketing strategies, customer service, “data mining” and records backup. Computer-based processing systems eliminate the need for other, costly POS hardware.

From Both Sides Now

Whether you are a merchant that is receiving credit card payments or a customer using the credit card to make purchases, the way in which today’s processing systems function intertwines credit card technology with computers. Without properly functioning systems on both sides, merchants and customers alike would be unable to perform the everyday tasks of payment processing.

A business with computer-savvy owners and employees has very little incentive not to use computer-based processing software. It will keep all of the business aspects, from sales and marketing to credit card processing, all in the same “digital domain” and on the same network. It makes all of the data available for many number-crunching purposes, and allows merchants to track sales trends, inventory, collections, returns, chargebacks and every other scrap of data. It brings all of these pieces together to give merchants a powerful “overview” of the entire business. For the computer-based business, credit card processing software is a wise investment for any merchant to make.