Visa and Mastercard Requirements for eCommerce Sites
Having a reliable means of accepting customer payments via major credit cards is essential to the success of any eCommerce business. Approval for an eCommerce merchant account to process credit card payments isn’t automatic; the major card brands, including Visa and MasterCard, want to ensure that their cardholders have ready access to the information they need for a secure and satisfying shopping experience. To achieve that, these companies require that merchants who accept their cards clearly display certain important information on their eCommerce websites. Ensuring that this information is readily accessible also helps to minimize customer complaints and chargebacks. In addition to the criteria imposed by the major card brands, there may be state and federal regulations that place additional requirements on your eCommerce website. It’s important to ensure that you are in compliance with all statutory and industry requirements before applying for an eCommerce merchant account.
The First Steps You Need to Take:
The first and simplest requirement for eCommerce websites is that the name of the business (your “doing business as” or DBA) must be prominently displayed on your website, and should closely match the business name listed on your eCommerce merchant account application. Your customers need to know who they’re doing business with, and must be able to recognize your business name when it appears on their credit card statements.
Be Clear in Your Services, Currency and Cost
As customers browse your site, they should find that you have listed each of the products or services you offer with a clear and accurate description of each item. The price for each item and the currency mark must also be clearly included; even if your business only operates and sells in a single country and only accepts one form of currency, the currency mark still needs to be displayed.
Have a Clear and Easy to Find Return and Refund Policy
In order to reduce the likelihood of chargebacks, credit card brands require that you have a clear policy for refunds, returns, and order cancellations, and that this information be clearly displayed to customers before the checkout process is completed. This does not mean that your return policy can be posted on a separate page with a link buried in the small print in the website footer. There are two ways you can meet the requirements for a clearly displayed return policy: you may post the full text of your return and refund policy on the order page near the checkout or submit button, or you may provide a link to a separate return policy page but require that the customer manually accept your return policy conditions in order to proceed with the checkout process. If your return policy is not displayed in one of these formats, your ability to dispute chargebacks successfully is substantially reduced.
Encryption is Mandatory in Ecommerce Sales – And it is Generally Very Easy to Implement
Perhaps most importantly, the page on which your customers submit their payment information must be secured and encrypted; your customers must be able to trust that they are not shouting their credit card details to the entire internet. Some eCommerce merchant account providers also provide secure payment gateways, but if you are hosting the payment page, it’s absolutely vital that you ensure that you have the appropriate security certificates.
Additional Recommendations for Smooth Ecommerce Credit Card Processing
These requirements outline the bare minimum necessities for your eCommerce merchant account application to be considered. To further protect your business from costly chargebacks, and to demonstrate your commitment to customer satisfaction and trust, it is strongly advised that you implement these additional recommendations.
- Display your Country of Permanent Establishment. Customers want to understand who they’re doing business with, and providing a physical mailing address in the country where your business is legally based is vital for building customer confidence. This information needs to be listed on the checkout page as well.
- Provide customer service contact information. Giving customers a way to reach out to you demonstrates that you care about their questions and concerns. You should include at least two methods of contact, one of which should be a physical street address (not a post office box), and the other can be a telephone number or email address. Again, including this information in the footeras well as the checkout pageof your website is an excellent way to ensure that this information is readily visible to your customers.
- Communicate delivery methods with accurate timing estimates. Manage customer expectations by clearly stating the method of delivery for each shipping option offered, with an accurate estimation of when the order would arrive with each. If the order will be split and shipped separately, make sure this information is clearly stated before checkout.
- Display payment card brand acceptance marks. For each credit card brand you accept, display the corresponding logo, symbol, or brand name on your checkout page.