In one of the last posts, I have told you in a nutshell how to integrate your e-commerce site with a payment provider via API. Today we’ll concentrate on how to do the same thing using a different approach: Secure Form. It’s an easy and convenient method, and it’s often chosen by smaller shops and Software as a Service businesses.
“Secure Form” is not the one and only name used for this type of integration. Different providers have different names for the same service. (There’s Payment wall, for instance.) I’ll stick to “Secure Form” in this blog post, and show you what it’s capable of. Its’ implementation is quick and painless, as you will see in the tutorial below.
What Is Secure Form?
From customers’ point of view, it’s almost the same process as usual. They add chosen products to their shopping carts and click on the checkout button.
But when they do it, they don’t stay on the shop’s page – they get redirected to the payment provider’s page. It’s there that they decide upon the payment method (e.g. credit card, wire transfer, etc.) and complete the transaction. After the money is sent, the client goes back to the shop’s page. In short, Secure Form allows maintaining the process of collecting money by the payment provider instead of e-commerce webpage owner.
Be aware that not every provider offers this type of service. If you want to use it, make sure beforehand that it’s available.
How to Use Secure Form?
Here are the ten steps the merchant needs to make to integrate their page with Secure Form or other type of form maintained by the payment provider.
1. Test the waters.
To make sure that Secure Form (or its equivalent) is for you, you should register on a provider’s page and create a test account. It’s free of charge and will give you an overall view of the available functions. Sometimes, (not every provider enables you to do it) it will also allow you to implement the service.
2. Verify the merchant.
Your payment provider will require some information and documents. You’ll also need to specify your needs. After the verification is done and the provider contacts you, you sign a contract. Then you are ready for the next step: to make things actually work!
3. Configure the options.
You are verified, you signed an agreement, your account is almost in its fully operational state. In order to be able to start collecting money from your customers, you now have to perform the configuration of your account.
4. Almost ready.
Let`s go back to square one, but just for a moment. Remember when I mentioned that not every payment provider lets you test the account with full implementation of the service? If you haven’t done this, now is the time.
5. The whys, whats and hows.
Making yourself accustomed to the available documentation is always strongly recommended. Thanks to this, you will have a better grasp of all the possibilities that are provided with the created account.
What should interest you the most is how to implement payments in a way that allows you to use redirecting to the provider’s payment form.
The redirection should take place after the customer decides on paying for chosen service or product. After being redirected, the client goes through the payment process on the provider’s page (not directly on your shop’s page.)
6. A call to action.
You should create a call to action button on your page that will enable your clients to place their orders. It can be, for instance, a button “buy now”, “sign up”, “take the course”, etc. The specification of the call to action button you may find in the provider’s documentation.
7. What happens after the click?
After using the call to action button, the customer will be redirected to the payment provider’s page (with respective parameters in the background of the redirection.) Every provider requires a little different set of parameters. The most common ones, which should be always present, are:
- merchant’s authorization data, e.g. login or token
- the amount to be paid
- transaction description
- callback URL (the payer will be redirected there after completing the transaction on the provider’s page)
When redirected, the client finishes the transaction using a provider’s payment form. This is precisely why Secure Form method is as easy as pie: the whole magic happens on the provider’s side – there is no need for the merchant to do anything.
8. Secure Form payment – the aftermath.
And so – the customer finalized the transaction and got redirected to the page that had been set as a callback URL parameter. Along with the redirect, the provider sends the merchant the transaction data. (Most often – transaction status and some data enabling the seller to identify both the buyer and the purchase.)
9. How will the client know it’s over?
If the transaction was successful, the shop/SaaS page should display the information. If something went wrong – the displayed alert should inform about failed process and ask the customer to try again.
10. An addition you won’t regret.
Every self-respecting payment provider offers their clients the possibility to implement additional transaction notifications. Why would you want to use this mechanism? It’s covering your back, that’s why.
Not every client gets redirected back to merchant’s website. Consequently – the seller won’t always know if the payment was made. The reasons may vary, but mostly it’s because of lost internet connection or the internet browser’s window closed a little too early (before being redirected back to the shop/SaaS.)
If the shop gets extra notifications from the provider, those situations are no longer a problem. The provider informs the merchant about the transactions’ statuses. This way the shop owner will always know whether the money was sent.
One Thing Less to Think About
If you need a fast and secure way to handle your payments, there is a ready-to-go solution waiting for you out there. A simple and secure checkout, with a form created by a payment provider, and hosted also by a payment provider.
The merchant selling a product or licensing a software has only to redirect the customers to a form during the checkout process.
Sure saves some hassle.
You’ll find more on the subject of Secure Form in our Developer Zone.