Merchant Account Services

The Ecommerce Website Preparedness Checklist

Ensure Your New Ecommerce Website Is Ready To Accept Credit Cards Online


Author: Emerson Law

Rating: 10.0

Pages: 1|2

Delivery Methods And Timing Are Clearly Posted

A common cause of chargebacks is from customers who are impatient when waiting for their order to arrive. They may think, wrongfully, that their order will be at their doorstep in just a couple of days when in reality it won't be there for a couple of weeks. The only way to ensure your customers have realistic expecations is to provide them with clear information regarding your shipping methods and timing.

There are various ways of doing this. The most common ways include:

  • Listing shipping times with each product (only used when different items have different shipping times)
  • Listing the estimated shipping date on the order confirmation page
  • Listing the estimated shipping date on the order confirmation email

Privacy Statement Is Outlined

When accepting an order from a customer through your website you will be collecting sensitive information about that customer including their name, address, phone number, and credit card information. Of course you need it to process their payment and complete their order. But what are you going to do with it once you have fulfilled their order? Do you store it? Do you discard it? Do you plan to sell it? Outlining just how safe your customers' personal information is in your hands is necessary to help ensure that your customers feel safe purchasing from you. You want to reassure them before they get any bad ideas and reach for that phone and file a chargeback at the first sign of a problem.

Product Offered Is Clearly Described

What exactly are you offering to your customers? You may have an intimate knowledge of your products but your customers may not. If your products are available in various configurations or with different features this needs to be made very clear before your customers make their purchase. A detailed listing about your products is very helpful in assisting your customers to understand what they are looking at. Some helpful ways to describe your products include:

  • Manufacturer
  • Manufacturer product name and/or number
  • The function of the item. What is its purpose?
  • Size (Dimensions)
  • Weight
  • Color(s)
  • Where it was manufactured
  • Warranty information
  • Who would use it?
  • What is it used for?
  • What is it made of?

All of these pieces of information can help to better describe your product. This will help to reduce orders from customers who are not sure if it is the item they are looking for. This will result in less returns and chargebacks.

Page Where Credit Card Info Is Entered Is Secure

Of all of the topics covered in this checklist, this one item is the most important; both from a merchant account approval point of view and a customer confidence point of view. By a secure order page I mean you have either acquired your own Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate or are using one provded by a third party provider. You can acquire your own SSL certificate from companies like Godaddy, Thawte, and Verisign. If acquiring your own SSL certificate is cost prohibitive or techically challenging, you can also use the free secure connection offered by your payment gateway provider. All of the popular gateways including and Verisign allow you to use their free secure order pages as part of their payment gateway services.

You would be hard pressed to find a merchant account provider who would be willing to establish a merchant account for an ecomerce website that does not have a secure order page. Or, more specifically, merchant account providers expect all pages where customer data is captured, including name, address, and credit card information, to be conducted over a secure connection. Customers also have the same expectation.


As you can see, a lot more thought needs to be put into the design of an online store then meets the eye. There are plenty of factors in determining whether an online store will be successful or just a chargeback magnet. The merchant account account provider and successful ecommerce ventures already know this pay careful attention to the details laid out above. Following these guidelines will not only smooth over the application process for establishing your Internet merchant account, but will help to endure that your online store isn't handicapping itself by missing the little things.

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