I’ve had quite a few clients ask me recently about the differences between having their online stores process payments onsite vs offsite, so I wanted to take a moment to explain how it all works so you can weigh out the pros and cons of each.
There are two ways to accept credit card payment for your goods and services online: Onsite payment processing and Offsite payment processing.
Onsite Checkout is faster and easier for your customers.
Onsite (sometimes called single-page checkout) basically means the customer never leaves your website. They enter their payment details on your site at the checkout screen, creating a seamless transaction.
Here’s a look at a custom WordPress website using onsite payment processing. Notice that in the payment area, the customer can enter their credit card details directly on your site. Clicking the “Place order” button completes the order.
In order to incorporate onsite checkout, your site must have an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate to encrypt data. An SSL is available from your hosting company — generally starting around $60/annually. It will give your site the added benefit of displaying as secure (see image below) and Google gives a small ranking boost to HTTPS/SSL sites.
For onsite processing you must also have an enhanced/paid payment gateway account like PayPal Payment Pro & additional software to incorporate your Pro account into a standard ecommerce cart.
These things add to the initial setup & on-going costs of your website. For small businesses who do not anticipate having enough online sales to offset those costs, using a FREE payment gateway like PayPal Payment Standard for offsite payment processing is a good alternative.
Offsite Checkout allows you to accept credit cards with no monthly fees or added setup costs.
Offsite means that the customer will be transferred off of your website to complete the payment portion of their transaction via a secure portal.
Here’s a look at a custom WordPress website using offsite payment processing. Notice that in the payment area, the customer would click “Proceed to PayPal” and would be transferred to PayPal to enter the credit card details and complete their order.
A free payment gateway like PayPal Payment Standard allows you to process credit card payments without monthly fees, additional software or added start-up costs. Also, since no payment information is being transmitted via your website, an SSL is not required.
From a customer’s perspective, onsite payment processing it is a smoother process and will most likely result in more completed transactions. Customers may be less likely to abandon their shopping carts if the payment portion of the transaction was easier. Having less abandoned carts could significantly improve revenues & profits, but whether that balances out the added costs of setup and ongoing payment gateway/SSL costs is something that each business needs to weigh out for themselves.
If you have offsite payment processing currently on your website and would like to upgrade to onsite or, if you have any questions about it, contact us!