Receiving online payments
By setting up a website and using the internet to accept payments or donations online, you can reach new customers, reduce costs and sell more efficiently. There are a range of online payments providers available today, for example Lloyds Bank Cardnet.
Meet your customers’ ever evolving buying habits
Make it easier for your customers or benefactors to buy from you. With products and services only a click away, ecommerce can be more appealing to today's consumers than traditional in-store shopping. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the UK, where consumers do more shopping online than any other major country.
During 2019’s Christmas shopping peak around 21.5% of retail sales were made online, according to the Office for National Statistics. They were at 2.5% for Christmas 2006 - a clear indication that internet sales are taking an ever-growing market share. So, to keep a competitive advantage, you need to be able to service your customers in the way they want.
In addition, ecommerce could allow your business to:
- offer customers a wider range of products
- promote best sellers more efficiently
- personalise your customers’ shopping experience
- offer discounts, promotions or sales more efficiently.
Knowing your customers’ shopping habits and tastes will allow your business to market targeted promotions directly to individuals or groups.
Eliminate time and location restraints
Businesses can meet their customers’ shopping habits by trading 24/7, 365 days a year online. In addition, your business will be able to reach new customers or benefactors outside your traditional geographic area and across all time zones by doing business online. When the working day ends here in the UK, it’s only beginning in other parts of the world. You can easily accept transactions in a range of currencies with many of the payment systems available.
Even as far back as 2012, the UK Government said of its services: ‘The average cost of a digital transaction was almost 20 times lower than the cost of a telephone transaction, about 30 times lower than the cost of a postal transaction and about 50 times lower than a face-to-face transaction. Digitisation is also likely to reduce the risk of failed transactions, and therefore the business cost of having to go through the same process multiple times.’1
Similar sorts of savings can be made by businesses. Transacting online often frees up money once spent on post, traditional marketing tactics, storage, showroom and retail space, and the many other outgoings associated with running a 'bricks and mortar' company. The time and money you save by handling money online can be reinvested into building and growing your organisation. Ecommerce offers the ability to scale up more quickly and at lower cost than with a traditional, physical business.
Build an ecommerce-enabled website
Ecommerce refers to any site that allows people to pay directly online.
If you don’t already have an ecommerce website, you’ll need to purchase a domain name (e.g. mycompany.com) from a domain registrar. There are many domain registrars available online such as Google Domains†, or you can get a domain name through the third-party website builder you use to create your website.
When building an ecommerce-enabled website, or adding an ecommerce section to an existing website, there are three main options to choose from:
- Work with a Payments Provider who is able to support your business in building a website which is enabled to take payments. There are a number to choose from including the Lloyds Bank Cardnet’s Web In A Box solution.
- Hire a web designer to create or update an existing website that can be used for online transactions.
- Build your own website using one of a number of third-party website builders. For example, sites like Ecwid† allow you to build a website using simple, customisable templates with many themes that have pre-built integrations into a number of payment gateways including Lloyds Bank Cardnet or your current card payment provider.
Whichever option you choose, make sure the website is designed so that you can easily manage it, without needing to rely on a programmer to make simple changes or add new pages. You also want to consider what information you can get from your website, such as inventory tracking, follow-up emails, advertising campaigns and features that support extending marketing with social media extensions. See our guide to creating a business website for more detailed information.
You will need to make sure that the shop elements of your website are well-integrated into the site so that people can easily find what they want to buy, add items to their shopping basket and then pay smoothly.
Your website should give your visitors the information they need to make decisions about whether to buy or donate. For products, this will mean providing good descriptions and images. Think about the questions a customer might ask and try to include that information in product details. Have a look at sites that you like and buy from regularly for ideas about how to do it well.
Attract customers to your site
For your site to be really effective you should make sure that potential customers or donors are able to find you and your products. Ideally, your web pages will be optimised so that when users search for something on Google, Bing or another search engine, your website will appear high up in the results – this is known as search engine optimisation (SEO). Google has a handy Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide for businesses and charities.
When you are considering your provider options make sure you fully understand the fees you will pay. Charges can include a Merchant Service Charges (MSC), fee per transaction, set up fees and monthly fees too.
Making sure your customer’s money is safe and secure is essential. This needs to be considered in your decisions about how you build your website, which providers you select and how these integrate. Some solutions will have secure, in-built payment software modules that connect to secure payment gateways. Take a look at Lloyds Bank Cardnet Web In A Box to see one example of how that can work.
If you haven’t gone for a packaged approach you will need to select secure, third-party payment software, such as Google Wallet† or Paypal†, to ensure your customers' payment details are properly protected. There are also secure payment options designed specifically for non-profit organisations to use for accepting donations, such as Blackbaud† and DonorPerfect†.
Use tools to view online transactions
In your planning you should also consider what tools you need to give you the right level of oversight and management information. There are multiple tools available that enable you to:
- track transaction details
- oversee order management – this is often built into the ecommerce cart software
- get gateway reporting and reconciliation
- see reporting statements from the merchant acquirer.
It can help to think about these processes as similar to online banking, but for your website – allowing you to view details of incoming payments and transaction details.
All websites taking payments are required to process these ecommerce transactions using 3DSecure. This ensures you are compliant with Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) regulation and providing heightened security for both you and the customer. This greater level of authentication will be required from 14 September 2021 and Lloyds Bank Cardnet is able to support this advance level of security and fraud prevention.
For more information see the Lloyds Bank Cardnet guide to Strong Customer Authentication and download our PDF guide (PDF, 130KB).
Review Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations
These industry PCI regulations apply to any company accepting payments by card. When choosing your card payments provider think about how much help you will need to stay compliant with the regulations that apply to your website’s payment pages. If you decide to use Lloyds Bank Cardnet you will have access to a dedicated team to help guide you through the PCI regulations.
If you have third parties involved in processing or storing card transaction data on your behalf, you need to ensure that they are compliant. Third parties can include software providers, Payment Service Providers/Gateways and web hosting companies, to name just a few.
Acquiring bank / Acquirer
A financial institution that processes card payments on a merchant’s behalf, such as Lloyds Bank Cardnet.
Issuer/ Issuing bank
The bank (or financial institution) that issued a customer with their card and maintains a contract with them for repayment of card transactions.
A generic term for services that enable businesses to accept payments securely in accordance with industry standards and Card Scheme rules.
A secure server that processes online card payments, encrypting sensitive information in order to safely transmit payment information between the customer’s Issuing bank, the Card Scheme and the Acquiring Bank.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards are a set of mandatory security requirements designed to ensure that merchants process, transmit and store cardholder data securely.
Payment Service Provider (PSP)
This is a company that allows you to trade when the customer is not present in your business’s face-to-face environment – however many also now offer Payment Gateway solutions for ecommerce.
A technical standard created by Visa and Mastercard to further secure Card Not present transactions over the internet. It adds an extra customer verification layer to further reduce fraudulent transactions.
For more terms used in the payment industry see our fuller Lloyds Bank Cardnet glossary
Cardnet® is a registered trademark of Lloyds Bank plc.
Important legal information
Lloyds Bank is a trading name of Lloyds Bank plc, Bank of Scotland plc, Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc and Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH.
Lloyds Bank plc. Registered Office: 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 2065. Bank of Scotland plc. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Registered in Scotland no. SC327000. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc. Registered office 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN. Registered in England and Wales no. 10399850. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 119278, 169628 and 763256 respectively.
Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH has its registered office at Thurn-und-Taxis Platz 6, 60313 Frankfurt, Germany. The company is registered with the Amtsgericht Frankfurt am Main, HRB 111650. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH is supervised by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht.
Eligible deposits with us are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). We are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Please note that due to FSCS and FOS eligibility criteria not all business customers will be covered.
While all reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information provided is correct, no liability is accepted by Lloyds Bank for any loss or damage caused to any person relying on any statement or omission. This is for information only and should not be relied upon as offering advice for any set of circumstances. Specific advice should always be sought in each instance.