term electronic commerce or e-commerce is used to describe carrying
out sales over the Internet. At its best, e-commerce incorporates automated,
real-time, seller-to-buyer transactions. E-commerce thus means advertising,
selling and supporting goods and services using a web shop 24 hours
a day for customers worldwide. The web shop should be a business that
works while you are occupied elsewhere (sleeping, for example - a useful,
indeed essential, activity) and which is not geographically restricted.
There are four levels of sophistication for handling e-commerce payments.
Level 1) For customers who already have credit card processing
facilities for an off-line business and who don't require an on-line
shopping software, all you need is an ammonet
Secure credit card data transmission account.
Secure credit card data transmission
offer a FREE, browser-based, encrypted transmission system
for credit card details to our customers who already have
credit card processing facilities for their off-line business.
Please click here for the details.
2) For customers who have a private or business credit card (that's
all that's needed - a card, not card processing), ammonet
recommends the PayPal system. This inexpensive and simple
system merges perfectly with all ammonet
web hosting accounts.
3) For our Economy and Business Account customers
who already have credit card processing facilities for an off-line business,
ammonet offers a choice of complete virtual
shops FREE. These provide you with a shopping cart, create product
catalogues, organise the layout of the site, track inventory,
transactions, create invoices, generate sales statistics, and can
be configured entirely to your taste using "point & click"
technology from your browser. You can use any one of our virtual shops
as a stand-alone application
with your Economy or Business Account server, free secure data transmission
included, or as part of the ammonet full
Level 4) Our comprehensive real-time
e-commerce option covers all the facets of building and maintaining
an on-line shop. The ammonet solution is
robust and low cost because our approach is that all of our Economy
and Business Account customers should have the best possible opportunity
to participate in the "global marketplace." ammonet
offers everything you need to establish, manage and promote your web
business using the latest technology and lowest costs in the industry.
There are no hidden fees with ammonet and we encourage comparison.
require three basic features to conduct "real-time" e-commerce
24 hours a day, seven days a week, world-wide:
A web server to host a site, with access to
encryption and optimally with your own domain name.
As a minimum, your web server should support SSL (secure socket
layer) and PGP (server-side) encryption for secure transactions.
ammonet offers both types of encryption
FREE with all domain name accounts. For more details, please refer to
These features are necessary if you plan to use the electronic credit
card processing gateway.
A web shop with a shopping cart, catalogue and inventory
features. ammonet offers a complete
virtual shop FREE with our Economy and Business domain name
hosting Accounts. The ammonet MCart
web shop integrates seamlessly with the MCPS e-commerce electronic
gateway via its transaction server.
3.On-line payment methodology. By far the best method
of payment processing is to be able to carry out real-time credit card
transactions using an internet-compliant merchant account
and an electronic gateway linked to a payment processing
full, real-time credit card processing system requires three
a credit card payment processing facility (card validation,
money transfer, fee payment to the credit card companies)
- an internet-compliant merchant account (a retail
merchant account is not compatible with a full, real-time on-line system)
- an encrypted electronic gateway and transaction server
linking your MCart with your customer's computer, your server (where
your MCart is located), your work station (where you receive e-mail
detailing the transaction) and the credit card processing facility.
If you already have credit card processing facilities for your
off-line business, then an ammonet Economy or Business Account together
with our free MCart Web Store are sufficient for e-commerce. In
this case, of course, your credit card payments will have to be
transacted manually. You will receive your encrypted order details
by e-mail from your MCart and then, after deciding whether the
credit card details are valid, you will transfer the details of
the order to your retail merchant account or directly to the credit
card company to be processed. This is not a true on-line, real-time
transaction but does make use of facilities for which you are
If you do not already have credit card processing facilities,
you can ask your own bank about their credit card processing options
or go directly to the credit card companies and open accounts
with them individually. There are also third party solutions,
of which Cybercash
are the best known.
Please note that, in many countries,
e-commerce is defined by the credit card companies as a "mail
order" business and incurs higher fees and sometimes has
different rules. In other words, a retail merchant account,
strictly speaking, might not be compatible with internet transactions.
You should determine the implications of this, if any, for your
the least sophisticated level, you arrange for payments to be
made by cheque, money order or direct bank transfer. Not every
customer has a credit card and not every merchant handles them.
B. If you want
to accept credit card payments but have no need of our online
shopping basket software, we recommend PayPal.
a bundled e-commerce option that integrates seamlessly with
MCart, our on-line, virtual shop. It incorporates the
three components described above:
- for your credit card
processing facility and merchant account,
the combination of 1st
Commerce and Merchant
Commerce and Payment Services (located in the USA) or WorldPay
are happy to guide you through the application process.
Commerce provides an internet-enabled merchant account and Merchant
Commerce and Payment Services or WorldPay
implements money transfers
between your customer's bank, a payment processing service,
and your bank. This relieves you of the necessity of manually
reconciling accounts, confirming authorisations, transferring
funds and so on.
Commerce has two requirements only:
you must have a US bank account with your business name on it.
If you do not already have one, 1st Commerce can advise
you on how to open such an account,
a US address. If you do not already have one, 1st Commerce will
arrange for you to obtain one in the form of a Post Office Box
at minimal cost (currently $25 per year plus postage).
does not have these requirements, and offers various commission
rates depending on sales volume.
will find that these requirements are the absolute minimum for
internet credit card processing solutions and, to our knowledge,
are not matched by other providers, most of whom require at
least some form of incorporation of your business in the provider's
country and whose transaction fees are significantly higher.
Note: before you venture into the
world of on-line credit card processing, please read our
section on the problems inherent in this aspect of e-commerce.