Authorize.net is a Payment Gateway company that allows you to process credit card payments through your website. They are not only the industry standard, but also my favorite for their logical API and friendly customer support staff. This guide aims to offer you a few guidelines to prepare your website before presenting it to Authorize.net. This will ensure a swift approval process and swift launch to your new Ecommerce Website or Online Store.
The first thing you’ll need to do is sign up with Authorize.net and create an account. Their page where you can start this process is available at Authorize.net’s Account Signup Page.
Signing up is an important first step, but it won’t ensure approval by Authorize.net. Auth Net will look at your website for certain criteria before they fully approve your account and give you the power to process credit card charges through your website. Here are a few things that they will DEFINITELY look for:
- Business Model Details – When filling out your application and building your website, it is very important to be VERY CLEAR about what it is that you do and why you will need to process credit cards. This is to ensure that only legitimate businesses are able to take credit card orders. Usually including something like “Our website plans to sell retail items to online shoppers” will do the trick.
- Shipping Policy – Make sure to also make a page about your shipping policy somewhere on your site. Including what carriers you plan to use, what rates and shipping services you plan to use and what shipping charges the customer will incur will probably do the trick.
- Shopping Cart – Being that most Authorize.net approved websites are Online Stores, Authorize.net usually looks to see if your website has a Shopping Cart page and Store page with Products and Pricing. If you have some variance on how things will be purchased on your site, be sure to include an explanation of that in your Business Model Details on the application you turn in to Authorize.net.
- Contact Page / Phone Number – Authorize.net wants to make sure its Approved Merchants are reachable and available to their customers. That’s why they mandate the creation of a Contact Page with AT LEAST a phone number posted, if not more detailed contact information or a contact form.
Aside from the above general functionality and informational details listed above, Authorize.net will also evaluate your website against certain technical standards to ensure the safety and privacy of your customers. Those technical details include:
- Compromising Scripts – Authorize.net will flag your account if your server has any files on it that give un-restricted information out about itself. Mainly this entails the use of a phpinfo file that calls the phpinfo PHP function.
- SSL Connection – Authorize.net will also make sure you send customer data over an SSL Connection. SSL Connections involve the use of a Secure Socket Layer that double-encrypts sensitive customer information so hackers and identity thieves cannot easily steal others’ information. You can purchase an SSL Certificate from your Hosting Service Provider. You don’t have to serve your entire website over an SSL Connection, but Authorize.net will require you at least serve your Checkout / Credit Card Processing Pages over an SSL Connection.
Mission Bay Media is a small website design group located in sunny San Diego, California. We make tons of Ecommerce Websites and Online Stores and have extensive experience working with Authorize.net and other Payment Gateway companies. For questions and comments on this Blog Post, or for help getting your own Authorize.net account set up, email firstname.lastname@example.org