As an entrepreneur at some stage of starting or updating an online storefront, you already know that an online payment gateway is an indispensable component of any ecommerce operation. Authorize.Net is one of the oldest, leading and trusted payment gateways today. Here is my review of this gateway.
History and Background
The trustworthiness of a payment gateway is of utmost importance for an ecommerce store, since many, if not most of the online buyers are wary of misuse or theft of their financial information. From this perspective, let us first look at who Authorize.Net is and some background information on them.
Authorize.Net is a Visa company and has been providing payment processing services since 1996. According to their website, they are handling online payment processing for over 400,000 merchants today (in 2014).
What could possibly be of even more importance and interest to you is the fact that most of the leading ecommerce platforms offer a ready option to integrate Authorize.Net as a payment gateway on your online store. Some of these platforms are Shopify, Volusion, and BigCommerce
Authorize.net's Top Features
Major features of Authorize.Net which are of particular interest to ecommerce store owners are:
- Online Payment Processing – allows you to accept credit card payments via your website (online store) and via Internet auction sites
- E-check Processing – allows you to accept electronic checks from bank accounts via your website (online store) or the Authorize.Net virtual terminal
- Mobile Payment Processing – allows you to accept payments from a mobile device
- Mailed or Telephonic Payment Processing – allows you to accept payments by manually entering the payment information into the Authorize.Net virtual terminal
Some other useful features of Authorize.Net are:
- Automated Recurring Billing – allows you to accept and manage recurring or subscription-based payments via your web storefront
- Advanced Fraud Detection – allows you to identify, manage and prevent suspicious and/or fraudulent transactions, with customized rule-based filters and other tools
- Secure Customer Data Management – allows you to tokenize and store customers' sensitive financial information on Authorize.Net secure servers for PCI DSS compliance
- Sync for QuickBooks – allows you to import settled transactions directly into your QuickBooks accounts
Authorize.Net Ease of Use
As we discussed above, Authorize.net lets you accept payments through the internet, mail, telephone, retail terminals, and mobile phones. Digital payment solutions like Apple Pay and Visa Checkout are provided, and the entire setup is monitored and handled by the people on the support team. The online account access is pretty easy to use since it lets you review and manage transactions that come in each day. Feel free to view account statements and download reports for sending to other shareholders in your organization.
One interesting part of the online interface is the ability to create multiple user accounts with certain permissions for each of the users. So, for example, you may not want one of your employees to have access to the reports, so you can block them out from this. Syncing to Quickbooks only takes a few minutes, and it opens up so many doors in terms of reporting and managing your finances.
Finally, the system has a Transaction Details API for retrieving the details of all your transactions. This comes into play for getting details into your account for future projections.
Authorize.Net offers two different payment processing service plans:
- A combination of Payment Gateway and Merchant Account
- Payment Gateway Only
Their pricing corresponding to each one of these is as shown in the table below:
|Service||Payment Gateway and Merchant Account||Payment Gateway|
|Per Transaction||2.9% + 30¢||10¢|
|Batch Fee||Not Applicable||10¢|
You can visit the Authorize.Net website by clicking here.
You should note that most of the hosted ecommerce platforms provide for integration of various payment gateways including Authorize.Net as a part of the plan you purchase from them, under varying fees and terms. Therefore, if you're setting up your store on any of the hosted platforms, you'd do well to check with them about the payment gateway and associated fees etc., before signing up directly with any gateway.
Once you're successfully registered with Authorize.Net, they allow you to configure and display their Verified Merchant seal on your website. Displaying such a seal can lead to an increase in the credibility, boost in shoppers' confidence and ultimately cause a reduction in cart abandonment numbers at your online storefront. You can configure this seal by logging into their merchant interface.
Since all merchants are legally required to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS,) Authorize.net is all about walking you through the steps to get to the point where your customer data is completely secure through the system. For example, they help out with installing and maintaining a firewall for locking down customer card data.
You'll also find lots of information about not using vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security measures. Basically, you have 12 requirements that must be met in order to legally accept payments from customers. Authorize.net not only provides information on their website about this, but the customer support team is always there to talk you through the basics.
Since Authorize.net has been around for quite some time, it has perfected the art of security, boosting customer confidence in your organization and giving you a certain amount of confidence in your own system.
Fraud protection is offered as a service, which reduces costs, improves flexibility, and prevents people from taking advantage of your online store. You can restrict access for some IPs, catch fraud before it happens and monitor the types of users that are currently on your website.
Reports are part of the Authorize.net system, but the primary reason so many companies go with Authorize.net is that it integrates directly with Quickbooks. This saves a valuable amount of time when trying to analyze your profits and create your own financial reports. The setup is simple, and you only have to walk through a one-time setup process. This combines well with your current Quickbooks account, and when you start talking to the folks at Authorize.net they will ask questions about your Quickbooks and guide you through the integration if needed.
Overall, the reports are as they should be: Nothing crazy, but comprehensive enough and compatible with Quickbooks. It's good enough for most businesses without any overly unique reporting needs.
As we've discussed above, you're not going to find any extremely low costs with Authorize.net. The pricing isn't terrible, but setup, transaction and gateway fees are all part of getting configured. However, people seem to still want to pay for Authorize.net because of the security, and the support.
A standard knowledge base comes with your user account, and you can even access the knowledge base if you're not a customer. It provides support for merchants, retailers, affiliates and corporate offices. The popular and recent articles are organized in tabs, and they are based on tickets that have been submitted from users in the past. Feel free to log in and search for the problems that are arising for you, and consider submitting your own ticket if you're unable to locate an article for your particular situation.
A toll-free phone number is given out for those who would like to speak with a real person. The support line runs 24/7, but you'll have to stick with the knowledge base on major holidays. In my experience, the support team is extremely knowledgeable, and the online resources are some of the best out there. You gain access to videos, articles and case studies. Since Authorize.net has been around for quite some time, the support database is filled with information. They have truly honed the craft of customer support and put together a team of decent people who are ready to help you at any time.
Who Should be Using Authorize.Net?
With secure, reliable, flexible and powerful online payment processing capabilities that let you accept and process credit card and electronic check payments via your ecommerce storefront, via mobile devices and also by manual entry of buyers' payment information, Authorize.Net is certainly a payment gateway worthy of your consideration for your ecommerce operations.
That begs the question: Who should be using Authorize.Net? Well, it's by far one of the more popular options for online stores, and part of this is because security is so strong with Authorize.Net. The pricing is fairly transparent, although it's certainly not the most affordable on the market.
I believe most companies go with Authorize.Net because they want a solid support team, good security and an interface that isn't too hard to integrate with other platforms. Therefore, you pay a little extra money for that peace of mind. So, I like to recommend Authorize.Net to small, medium and large businesses that want the full package. Some companies aren't ready for Authorize.Net because they may not have the cash flow. However, once that money starts rolling in, Authorize.Net is a solid choice.
If you have any questions about this Authorize.Net review, feel free to let us know in the comment section below.
Comments 1 Response
Hola, muy interesante la nota, gracias! Tengo una tienda online de productos digitales. Vivo en Argentina, pero mis productos los compran en su mayoría norteamericanos y europeos. Hasta ahora he usado Paypal, pero quisiera probar la alternativa de Authorize.net
Lo que no me queda claro, es cómo cobrar el dinero estando aquí en Argentina.