More and more businesses are taking online payments from customers. It can help you reach new markets, reduce costs and sell more efficiently.

The benefits

Make it easier to buy from your business

Every year, UK shoppers do more of their shopping online. The ONS reports that in May 2022, seasonally adjusted internet sales accounted for 26.6% of all official retail sales, compared with 19.7% in February 2020. The message is clear: every business needs to consider taking card payments online.

As well as accepting payments and increasing sales, eCommerce helps businesses to:

  • offer a broader range of products
  • promote best sellers more easily
  • offer discounts, promotions or sales more efficiently
  • enter new markets
  • reduce operating costs
  • support the drive of greater consumer convenience

And it doesn’t stop there.

Greater personalisation

By identifying your customers’ shopping habits, you can target promotions to individuals or groups.

Eliminate time and location restraints

You can trade all day, every day online and reach new customers or benefactors worldwide and in a range of currencies.

Scaling up

By accepting credit card payments online, businesses can grow more easily and at a lower cost than traditional, physical businesses. Lower storage and retail space requirements are just one area that demonstrates this.

How to do it

How you can set up your online payment system

An eCommerce website allows people to pay directly online for goods or services. They can do this using credit or debit cards or wallets such as Google Pay or Apple Pay.

To get started, you must purchase a domain name from a domain registrar such as Google Domains† or from your third-party website builder.

Then you set up a page on your website that can accept online payments. You’ll need to partner with a bank that can accept these payments and deposit them into your merchant account.

Whether you’re building a new eCommerce site or adding it to an existing site, you have three options:

Work with a payment gateway services provider

Several companies offer payment gateway services to small businesses in the UK, including Bank of Scotland Cardnet.

  • Hire a web designer

They can create or update an existing website to process online transactions.

  • Build your website using a third-party website builder.

You can build a website using simple, customisable templates from online providers. Simply select one of their themes, which come with pre-built integrations into common payment gateways.

Consider what information you need

Options could include inventory tracking, follow-up emails or advertising campaigns. There are even features that support social media extensions.

Make it easy for your customers

Your website should provide all the information customers need to decide whether to buy – with good descriptions and images. Consider what questions a customer might ask and answer them. 

Above all, make sure customers can easily:

  • find what they want to buy
  • add items to their shopping basket
  • enjoy a smooth and secure payment experience

Use tools to view online transactions

Consider what tools you need to gain oversight and management information from your gateway service providers. It’s helpful to think of these processes as a kind of online banking for your website. They could help you:

  • track transaction details
  • oversee order management – this is often built into the eCommerce cart software
  • get reporting and reconciliation
  • see reporting statements from the merchant acquirer

All websites taking payments must process eCommerce transactions using 3DSecure.

This ensures you are compliant with Strong Customers Authentication (SCA) regulations. It also provides heightened security for both you and the customer.

For more information download our PDF guide (PDF, 151KB).

Review Payment Card Industry (PCI) regulations

PCI regulations apply to any company accepting payments by card. Any third parties that process or store card transaction data on your behalf must also be compliant. They could include software providers, Payment Service Providers/Gateways and web hosting companies.

† These are just examples of the types of software available and Bank of Scotland does not endorse the services they provide. 

Cardnet® is a registered trademark of Lloyds Bank plc.