Most of us have a go-to credit or debit card, the one that we automatically reach into our wallets and pull out to complete almost any transaction. Visa’s new online checkout program, aptly titled Visa Checkout, would like to replicate that experience for you in an online, password-protected sort of way.
Visa is not the first online payment gateway, not by a long shot. MasterCard, PayPal, and even V.me (Visa’s earlier digital wallet program) offer or had offered similar products. Rather like PayPal, Visa Checkout allows you to link major credit or debit cards to your account—even when they are not fully equipped with the Visa logo. You also control your checkout experience with a user-chosen password, just like any other payment processor. However, in the interest of added security, the Visa Checkout service does not require you to leave whichever shopping cart you’re using. (In contrast, the last time I paid with PayPal, I did have to temporarily leave my big-name online retailer’s site to authorize the transaction. I know I’m going to PayPal, and I carefully check the HTTPS credentials in my browser each time. But it still makes me a little bit nervous.)
Why is this news? If you’re an online shopper, it is inconvenient—and possibly unsafe—to continually enter your personal information into online forms. When you use your Visa Checkout account, this is done for you. And if you’re a business, particularly a business that sells online, a third-party payments system gets you a few added layers of security.
Oh, Those Online Payment Woes
For any business that relies even in part on e-commerce, online payments can be fraught with stress, if not with peril. Should you choose to handle payments strictly in-house, you have to meet some pretty strict security requirements. You also have to make sure your customers feel protected enough to give you their payment information. What can possibly go wrong here?
The shopper provides mistaken or blatantly fraudulent information.
Too many steps in the checkout process increases the likelihood of the customer leaving before it is complete.
Having to leave your site to complete a payment can be nerve-racking. It may even move some customers to shop elsewhere.
You must—you absolutely must—do all you can to keep your customer’s data secure. And that’s proving to be really hard these days.
So it’s not surprising then that in many online stores, payments are handled by third-party groups like Visa, MasterCard, or PayPal.
When Third-Party Payments Are a Good Thing
For businesses, using a one-stop, one-click solution like Visa Checkout puts the customer more at ease. Visa is a familiar and respected company, so there’s that added level of comfort for your customer. Because they don’t leave the site, it’s also more convenient. For the business, there’s a reduced risk of fraud, since the Visa Checkout account the buyer is using has already been pre-authorized. Visa also uses analytics to help spot fraudulent transactions.
Visa Checkout is not your only option for online payments. Like most businesses, you may choose to offer several payment providers. But there is the fact that Visa is one of the biggest and best-known credit cards, and Visa Checkout is currently accepted by merchants as diverse as Teleflora, Pizza Hut, and Staples. In other words, there are opportunities for growth.
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