close ad
Important WebAssist Announcement
open ad
View Menu

Web development tutorial

Online payment solutions (eCommerce Series)

Tutorial created by Ray Borduin, WebAssist

Categories: eCart, Dreamweaver


In this tutorial, you will learn about online payment solutions including seamless checkout, remote checkout, and various PayPal checkout options. In addition, this tutorial will help you determine when it's necessary for you to purchase an SSL certificate and set up a merchant account. Comparisons and contact information of payment gateway providers, SSL certificate providers, and merchant account providers are also included. At the end of this tutorial, you will find a linked index to the complete eCommerce series including hosting provider solutions and online shipping solutions.

It is worthwhile to note that we recommend a seamless checkout because of the power and control it offers vs a remote checkout experience. In the past, the main advantage to choosing a remote checkout was to avoid the complexity of coding. This no longer needs to be a consideration since eCart already contains the necessary code required for you to add a seamless checkout to your website.

arrow downIs this tutorial for you?

For anyone wanting to accept online payments:
eCart is not required to learn from this tutorial. This tutorial will help anyone learn about online payment solutions, including:

  1. Seamless checkout vs remote checkout
  2. Popular payment gateways
  3. PayPal checkout options
  4. When an SSL certificate is necessary
  5. When a merchant account is necessary
  6. How and where to set up a merchant account

Highly recommended for eCart users:
Following this tutorial will prepare you to set up the accounts you need to take online payments. Once your accounts are set up, you will be ready to complete the eCart checkout wizard.

What is eCart:
If you are building an eCommerce site, eCart can save you the time and frustration spent creating the most complex part of your website. eCart will guide you through building a custom shopping cart and checkout system to sell physical goods, digital goods, services, and to accept donations.
Learn more about eCart.

arrow downSeamless vs remote checkout

Seamless checkout:
Although the set-up is more involved, a seamless checkout experience is indicated for your website if you do not wish for customers to leave your site when completing a purchase transaction. Additionally, it allows you to control the look-and-feel of the checkout. It can also be argued that accepting payments locally lends greater authority to your site.

To provide a full-featured and seamless checkout, you will need:

  1. An SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate to provide the security required in seamless checkout.
  2. A payment gateway service to accept online payments via credit card, debit card, or e-check.
  3. A merchant account where your funds will be deposited.

Remote checkout:
As an alternative to installing SSl on your website, you can link directly to your payment provider and perform checkout on their website. Remote checkout is the simplest method for accepting credit card information from your online buyers. After pressing submit, your customers actually go to your payment provider's website (who has SSL) to fill out the credit card information. Afterward, they are returned back to your website.

Remote checkout saves you the trouble of installing SSL on your website. Because you are not asking anyone to fill out credit card information, you can avoid paying the annual fee for an SSL certificate and the hassle of updating links.

Keep in mind, if you are using user login and user registration, you may still want the security provided by SSL.

arrow downSSL certificate providers

The first provider you need for a seamless checkout experience is an SSL certificate provider. Necessary to the safety and security required in online seamless checkout, installing SSL allows you to use https instead of http to protect customer data. With https, any information submitted through a form is encrypted. Otherwise, credit card information bounces from server to server through the web and hypothetically, can be read by anyone.

Annual SSL certificates can be purchased through your hosting provider or through WebAssist. If you need to use the SSL certificate on more than one website or provide more stringent security features, the cost typically increases.

To compare SSL certificate providers and buy an SSL certificate, go to SSL Certificates: Secure your website and customer data.

arrow downSeamless payment providers

The second provider necessary to seamless checkout is a payment gateway provider. Payment gateways enable internet merchants to accept online payments via credit card, debit card, and e-check. A merchant account and an SSL certificate is required for all of these payment providers with the exception of PayPal Payments Pro which does not need a merchant account. (Also see Seamless PayPal options section.)

  1. PayPal offers both PayPal Payments Pro and Payflow Pro as seamless payment solutions. (See more in Seamless PayPal options section.)

  2. Authorize.Net is the biggest U.S. data provider and an excellent option for people just getting started.

  3. First Data Global Gateway (formerly LinkPoint), is a U.S. provider who provides swipe cards for brick and mortar businesses. So this could be a good choice if you already have a merchant account and swipe card with First Data.

  4. eWay is similar to Authorize.Net and serves businesses based in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

  5. Sage Pay is similar to Authorize.Net and supports banking outside of the US.

With any payment gateway option, we suggest that you also offer Express Checkout, PayPal's basic remote checkout. (See more in Remote PayPal options section.) You may be wondering why you would want to include PayPal payment buttons, even if you are signed up with Payflow Pro, Authorize.Net, and have your own merchant account. One reason is that PayPal's Express Checkout offers a quick and free sign up process with no monthly fees. But the biggest reason is that you can continue to serve customers who might not want to use a credit card or checking account.

Many customers with money in their PayPal account may look for a website selling what they want that accepts PayPal, even though they could use a credit card.

arrow downMerchant account providers

The third provider required for seamless checkout is a merchant account provider. A merchant account is a specific type of bank account that processes credit card payments, allowing you to accept them online through your payment gateway provider. If you already have a relationship with a merchant account provider, you can usually designate that account when you sign up for service with a payment gateway provider.

You can sometimes get a merchant account through your local bank. However, many local banks do not offer these specialty accounts. Even if yours does, you will also want to read the options provided by e-onlinedata and E-Commerce Exchange as an alternative to a local bank provider.

Benefits of e-onlinedata:

  1. No Application Fees
  2. No Annual Fees
  3. No Address Verification (AVS) Fees
  4. No Leasing
  5. No Termination Penalties with 60 day written notice
  6. Toll Free 24/7 Tech Support and daily Customer Service Support

Read more about e-onlinedata and sign up for their services.

Benefits of E-Commerce Exchange:

  1. Fast Setup
  2. Quick Approval
  3. Easy Installation
  4. Excellent Service and Support
  5. Low Startup Investment
  6. Most Merchants Welcome
  7. Over 99% Approval
  8. Few Credit Turndowns

Read more about E-Commerce Exchange and sign up for their services.

arrow downSeamless PayPal options

You can have a seamless checkout experience by using one of these PayPal options.

  1. With PayPal Payments Pro, you can bypass the process of getting a merchant account. When an order has been completed, the money goes immediately into your PayPal account. From there, you will transfer it manually into your bank account.

  2. With PayPal Payflow Pro, you will need a merchant account to receive payments, after which the money automatically transfers into your bank account.

The difference between PayPal Payments Pro and Payflow Pro is whether you are using PayPal as your bank or interacting directly with your bank. If you do not have a merchant account, you can use PayPal Payments Pro and use PayPal as your bank, with payments going directly into your PayPal account. With Payflow Pro, payment goes directly into your merchant account.

arrow downPayPal Advanced

PayPal Advanced combines both seamless and remote checkout. While you are required to have a merchant account and an SSL certificate, PayPal Advanced eliminates the involved process of your site becoming PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliant and gives your customer a secure checkout experience.

The seamless checkout experience is actually done on the PayPal site, using their SSL certificate. Although remote, it appears that the checkout is completed on your website due to an iframe technology. The drawback is the lack of control in the look-and-feel of the PayPal button and associated message because a piece of PayPal's website is in an iframe on your page. But PayPal Advanced is more affordable than the seamless PayPal options discussed in the previous section.

arrow downRemote payment providers

Some seamless checkout providers also offer remote checkout options, meaning the customer checks out on the provider's website, not your website. An SSL certificate is not needed. However, a merchant account is still necessary. (Also see Remote PayPal options section.)

  1. Authorize.Net SIM is the biggest US data provider and a best option for people just signing up.

  2. First Data Global Gateway (formerly LinkPoint) provides swipe cards for U.S. brick and mortar businesses. So this could be a good choice if you already have an account with First Data.

  3. eWay is similar to Authorize.Net and serves businesses based in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

  4. Sage Pay is similar to Authorize.Net and supports banking outside of the US.

  5. WorldPay is a card payment processor for small to medium businesses in both the United Kingdom and Europe.

  6. 2CheckOut is a U.S. based online payment processing service that helps you accept credit cards, PayPal and debit cards. Apply free! Follow this link and 2CheckOut will waive their customary application fee.

  7. Payflow Link is a PayPal remote checkout option that sends your payments straight to your bank account rather than a PayPal account.

arrow downRemote PayPal options

Using any of PayPal's remote checkout solutions, you can receive your customers' payments from their PayPal balance, debit card, credit card, or bank account.

  1. Express Checkout is PayPal's free remote checkout option that offers the quickest and simplest set-up. It does not require a merchant account or an SSL certificate.

    1. PayPal Lightbox Integrated, a streamlined, user-friendly checkout option of Express Checkout, is built on responsive architecture that's optimized for mobile, tablet, and PC. Although it is a remote checkout, it appears seamless to customers because your URL never changes. The entire experience pops up in a lightbox window over your page. This is similar to an iframe solution but instead of only the PayPal button and credit card form, the whole checkout experience is overlaid on your page in a lightbox window. When you sign up for Express Checkout, you are given the opportunity to integrate PayPal Lightbox Integrated.

    If you use eCart, integrating PayPal Lightbox Integrated is only a matter of clicking inside a checkbox vs. hours spent following the steps in PayPal's developer guide.

  2. Payflow Link, a PayPal remote checkout option, sends your payments straight to your bank account rather than a PayPal account. A merchant account is necessary but not an SSL certificate.

arrow downRequest API credentials

To integrate any of the PayPal payment options with your website, you can request your API Credentials.

  1. Go to PayPal > Profile.

  2. In the drop down box, choose API access > Update.

  3. API Access > Request API credentials.

  4. Request API Credentials > Request API signature > Agree and Submit.

  5. Store the following credential information in a secure location with limited access. Do not share it with anyone.
    API Username and Password are not the same as your PayPal Username and Password.

arrow downOnline payment solutions chart

Follow this link to compare the industry's top payment gateway providers in a user friendly chart.

arrow downWhat's next?

Once you've determined your online payment solutions, learn how eCart can assist you with building your eCommerce website. Saving you countless hours, eCart guides you through the steps of building a custom shopping cart and checkout system to sell your physical goods, digital goods, services, and even accept donations. Learn more about eCart.

arrow downWebAssist eCommerce series

With eCart technology as the cornerstone of the WebAssist eCommerce series, these in-depth tutorials will walk you through the steps of building an eCommerce site: product catalogs, shopping carts, product options (both static and dynamic), and checkout including payments. Completing the eCart portion of the series is help for setting up a back-end administration to manage your eCommerce business. Additionally, to be used with or without eCart, you will learn about payment gateway providers, hosting solutions, and online shipping accounts.

  1. Introduction to the eCommerce series: An overview of the WebAssist eCommerce series including a detailed description of each tutorial.

  2. Create a product catalog: Learn to create a dynamic product catalog for an online store.

    1. In Create a product catalog I, you will learn if a dynamic product catalog is appropriate for your online store and how to complete the initial set-up.
    2. In Create a product catalog II, you will learn how to create product administration pages, product catalog pages, and order pages for your dynamic product catalog.

  3. Add a shopping cart: Learn about using eCart to create a responsive shopping cart for selling your products online.

    1. Create an eCart object to define the structure of your shopping cart.
    2. Place an Add to Cart button on a product catalog which your customers can use to select items to purchase and add them to their shopping cart.
    3. Design a responsive shopping cart page that holds informational details about the products a customer is purchasing.

  4. Add dynamic product options I: Learn how to add dynamic product options to your website's online store using eCart's shopping cart functionality.

  5. Add dynamic product options II: Learn how to add dynamic product options, which include options within themselves (for example, incremental pricing), to your website's online store using eCart's shopping cart functionality.

  6. Add static product options: Learn how to add static product options to your online catalog store.

  7. Add checkout and administration: Learn how to manage checkout, payments, and the back-end administration of your eCommerce site using the seven tabs in the eCart Checkout Wizard - Settings, Payments, Shipping, Tax, Orders, Email, and Form Design.

    1. In the Settings tab, you will choose the general settings for your site and checkout pages.
    2. In the Payments tab, you will set up payment provider and checkout options.
    3. In the Shipping tab, you will choose shipping providers and set charges.
    4. In the Tax tab, you will set the rules for sales tax or VAT.
    5. In the Orders tab, you will configure your order storage options.
    6. In the Email tab, you will enter your email server settings.
    7. In the Form Design tab, you will select your checkout form from preset designs.

  8. Online payment solutions: Learn about online payment solutions including seamless checkout, remote checkout, and various PayPal checkout options.

  9. Hosting provider solutions: Learn about and choose between five hosting providers, 1&1, GoDaddy, HostGator, Network Solutions, and DreamHost.

  10. Online shipping solutions: Learn where and how to set up free shipping accounts with FedEx, UPS, USPS, and Australia Post.

arrow downReviews and comments

Comments will be sent to the author of this tutorial and may not be answered immediately. For general help from WebAssist, please visit technical support.

Sign in to add comments

Monica: 10 Years, 5 Months, 4 Days, 22 Hours, 6 Minutes ago

What did I buy for 799 and when does it get here and fr who

: 7 Years, 11 Months, 2 Days, 19 Hours, 49 Minutes ago

Payolee is a good option.

: 6 Years, 4 Months, 1 Week, 15 Hours, 14 Minutes ago

Another payment solution that can be considered is debit order collections. That way you can make sure you get paid automatically when payment is due which gives you more control over your cashflow

: 6 Years, 1 Month, 1 Week, 5 Days, 16 Hours, 15 Minutes ago


Thank you. This is a very great help.

FYI: this page is not accessible from the parent page


: 5 Years, 3 Weeks, 6 Days, 16 Hours, 55 Minutes ago

Kate Ford, you are doing good work thank you to share about to <a href=">Payment Gateway Services</a>
this post.

Build websites with a little help from your friends

Your friends over here at WebAssist! These Dreamweaver extensions will assist you in building unlimited, custom websites.

Build websites from already-built web applications

These out-of-the-box solutions provide you proven, tested applications that can be up and running now.  Build a store, a gallery, or a web-based email solution.

Want your website pre-built and hosted?

Close Windowclose

Rate your experience or provide feedback on this page

Account or customer service questions?
Please user our contact form.

Need technical support?
Please visit support to ask a question





Ease of use


security code refresh image

We do not respond to comments submitted from this page directly, but we do read and analyze any feedback and will use it to help make your experience better in the future.