You have successfully navigated your way through an e-commerce website, filled your cart with goodies, and now it’s time to enter your payment particulars, such as:

  • Name as it appears on your account or card
  • Account or card number
  • Expiration date
  • Card Verification Code (CVC)

After all the required information is entered, you click a button that says something like, “Submit Payment,” and moments later you see a confirmation message that your payment has been approved.

But, what really happened in those few moments between when you clicked the payment button and your payment went through?

To begin with, your online merchant picked a payment processor, which is generally a third-party vendor contracted to handle all online financial transactions. There are two kinds of payment processors:

  • Front-end processors with access to authorization and settlement services for credit and debit cards.
  • Back-end processors that accept the settlements from the front-end processors and move the money from the credit or debit card-issuing bank to the e-commerce site’s bank.

In just a few seconds, the payment processor:

  • Checks payment particular details submitted by the purchaser against the issuing bank’s records for verification
  • Performs anti-fraud measures
  • Checks the card’s country of issue
  • Reviews previous card payment history

After the payment processor verifies the payment particulars, the verification information is communicated back to the e-commerce merchant through the payment gateway. If the payment transaction can’t be verified, that information is also sent back to the e-commerce merchant. The e-commerce merchant’s system can then complete or deny the transaction.

Of course, in the technology space, nothing remains the same and improvements are always coming. Case in point: This summer saw the release of an update for Abila netFORUM Pro customers that took advantage of an Authorize.net implementation designed to safeguard against unplanned interruptions.

Some of the more familiar payment processor players are:

  • Authorize.net – Offers the ability to accept payments anywhere
  • Amazon Payments – Claims to be redefining the way customers pay
  • PayPal – Offers both personal and business account options
  • Sage Payment Solutions – This Abila Product Partner allows online merchants to accept and process any type of payment in minutes
  • Vantiv – Another Abila Product Partner, Vantiv provides vendors the ability to sell more safely with easier chip card acceptance

What can you do to help ensure your online payment transaction is secure?

  • Look for https instead of http in the URL of an online merchant’s payment page. This shows that your payment information is encrypted to help prevent identity theft.
  • Be aware of the status of the Certificate Authority (CA) of an online merchant. If a message displays saying that the CA has expired or that your transaction is not private, reconsider completing the transaction as the https status of the payment page may no longer be valid.

Although you may not see the Transport Layer Security (TLS) in action (also known as Secure Socket layer or SSL), securing your e-commerce experience, it’s good to know there are background process at work keeping your online shopping experience as safe as possible.