Choosing a Checkout Page

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When it comes to designing your website, it’s crucial to make the ordering process as simple and seamless to navigate as possible for your customers. Starting with how customers place and complete the order from the checkout page. After all, the checkout page is where customers ultimately decide to place an order. In some cases, they are placing a will call order and deciding on your company for the first time. A good experience could result in a repeat customer.

There are two types of checkout pages to choose from: on-site or hosted.

An on-site payments page is one that is located on your website. You are the host, and your customers never leave your website. Consider it a “self-hosted” payments page. On-site payment pages are custom designed to fit your business needs and require a web designer or inhouse IT person to configure. With a self-hosted page, your company has the benefits of specific design elements as well as the downside of security responsibility. For larger companies that have an in-house IT staff trained in payment security this may be a good option.

A hosted payments page is a checkout page located on a third-party website. When a customer clicks on your site to make a payment, he or she is directed away from your website to a new site. In general, this new site with its hosted checkout page is provided by your merchant payments provider or gateway.

Hosted payment checkouts are made to order. Everything that is required to complete a sale at checkout is stored on the server of the provider. This includes the customer information needed to make a payment happen, the actual processing of the payment itself, and finally the generation of payment confirmations and receipts.

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Once your customer completes the checkout payment process, he or she is redirected back to your website. But in all the time your customer is at the hosted checkout page, he or she might not even realize that he or she is actually at another web page. 

Your customers will see the payment processor or payment gateway’s brand name on the checkout page, but they’ll also see your name if you utilize a hosted payment checkout page that allows for personalized customization.  That means being able to add your logo and business colors and sometimes your own design templates. 

Why should you want a hosted payments checkout page? Lots of reasons.

The best reason to have a hosted payments checkout page is that it puts most of the onus for security on your payment partner.

We all know how crucial it is for businesses to provide a safe and secure website for customers to place orders and make online payments. Without confidence in the safety of an online transaction, customers simply won’t want to do business with you.

With a hosted payments checkout, the responsibility for managing, transmitting and protecting sensitive consumer data falls to the hosted payment checkout provider.  And that’s a good thing because they are experts at payment processing.

Frankly, handling security yourself can be a costly endeavor if you are a small business owner.  It might also require some in-depth coding knowledge.  Meanwhile self-hosted payment pages significantly increase the scope of your PCI compliance requirements. 

Better still, should your business be the victim of a hacking or fraud, you will not have to reimburse any customers affected. That obligation belongs to the hosted checkout page provider.

And the cost for this service?  Just a small transaction fee.  Which is not a lot to pay for a whole lot of peace of mind for both you and your customers.

In addition, the hosted payment page integration process is about as simple as user-experience design gets. This is excellent news for small businesses or those offering simple products or services. You don’t need a team of MIT graduates to set up a hosted payments checkout page. A few coding keystrokes should do the trick.    

While larger companies that have access to an IT staff may have the expertise and business need to host their own check out page for a variety of reasons, small to midsize companies should take advantage of the simplicity, security and enhanced PCI-compliance with a hosted checkout page.  The bottom line is that a hosted checkout page is less liability for your business, easy to set up, and simple to customize. When you add it all up, a hosted payments page is probably the right addition to your website

Marci Gagnon is the Vice President of Strategic Alliances for Qualpay and has been in the payments industry for over 15 years with a concentration on recurring billing and the Energy space. Qualpay provides processing solutions to fuel delivery and service businesses. For more information, contact Marci Gagnon at marci@qualpay.com or visit https://www.qualpay.com/industry/utility-and-energy.

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