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Charging credit card

Posted on 2010-09-10
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Last Modified: 2013-11-29
Hello,

I want more details about the idea of charging credit card via internet without 3rd party.

After I get SSL and marchent account, how can I create PHP script to charge the credit card to the marchent account and how it work in general.

Thanks,
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Question by:Mohamed Abowarda
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Expert Comment

by:BrianGEFF719
ID: 33644789
PHP Supports two kinds of credit card processing natively:

http://www.php.net/manual/en/refs.creditcard.php

They are Monetra and SPPLUS. I personally have never used either, but most large gateways should provide some kind of API.

Hope that helps.
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Author Comment

by:Mohamed Abowarda
ID: 33644793
I also want to know how it works.

Thanks,
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by:BrianGEFF719
ID: 33644852
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 33645955
Are you located near any colleges?  If so, contact the Engineering or Computer Science departments and ask them what courses you need to take to become proficient in electronic security and e-commerce.  You've got a lot of study ahead of you, and you need to be careful about it; there are criminal penalties that include prison terms for those who make mistakes with other people's money.

Most people in the USA and many other countries would use PayPal.  The fees are nominal and they handle all the ugly parts of this problem.  Can you tell us why you do not want to use a 3rd party?
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Author Comment

by:Mohamed Abowarda
ID: 33648339
@Ray_Paseur: We don't want to use 3rd party because:
1. We will sell several types of products/service which is not support by 3rd parties.
2. The 3rd party charge additional fees for each product/service sold which will greatly affect our sales.
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 33648883
I think you're missing the point of using a 3rd party.  You're going to be charged credit card fees anyway.  PayPal fees include the credit card fees.  In practice I have found that PayPal fees run around 3% of medium-to-large purchases and 4% to 5% of very small purchases.  Expect your credit card fees to be comparable.  If your business model cannot withstand a 5% discount to list price, you need to get a new business model.

I am not aware of any product or service that PayPal would not "support," assuming that it is legal to sell such a product or service.  And if it's not legal to sell, you can forget about getting the cooperation of the credit card companies.  But I think the bigger issue is the need to hire or develop skills in electronic security and e-commerce.  In effect you will be trying to replicate the systems that PayPal has spent millions of dollars to develop.  I can think of no reason why it would cost you less than it cost PayPal to build these systems.

You might want to contact your local business bank and get their advice.  However when I have done that in the past, they wanted to send out a team of $200/hour specialists to "help" me with my e-commerce systems.  PayPal, on the other hand, was inexpensive and easy to work with.

Good luck with the project, ~Ray
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by:Mohamed Abowarda
ID: 33707187
@Ray_Paseur: According to our business goals, we need to charge credit card directly without third parties, actually, I am looking for help here rather than contacting the Engineering or Computer Science departments in university.

It will be better if anyone post PHP script example.
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Author Comment

by:Mohamed Abowarda
ID: 33707259
@BrianGEFF719: The last link is related to general information about credit card processing, I need the actual steps to start accepting credit cards without third parties.

Thanks,
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Accepted Solution

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Ray Paseur earned 200 total points
ID: 33707439
"the actual steps to start accepting credit cards without third parties."

When you charge the credit card, you will have to put the money somewhere.  What is the name of your bank?  Have you already contacted them and gotten their recommendations?  What did they tell you?  If you can share that with us we may be able to give a little more specific assistance.

As far as a PHP script example, I don't think you will find anything particularly useful.  PHP offers two credit card processing tools.  Neither of these is available for Windows.  SP Plus appears to be unavailable in English.  

http://www.php.net/manual/en/ref.mcve.php
http://www.monetra.com/

http://www.php.net/manual/en/ref.spplus.php
https://www.spplus.net/

The function reference pages of the PHP.net web site tell you how each function works, example here for m_responsekeys() which returns an array of strings which represents the keys that can be used for response parameters on this transaction:
http://www.php.net/manual/en/function.m-responsekeys.php

If you look at that page and the other pages of the online function reference, you will see warning messages that the functions are currently not documented.  You will also see that there are no user-contributed notes.  

In contrast (just to pick an example) the SimpleXML functions have dozens of notes and hundreds of lines of user-contributed examples.  In the PHP open-source environment this happens a lot when PHP programmers use the functions and share their methods and examples with the community.  The complete absence of notes should be considered a significant warning.
http://www.php.net/manual/en/ref.simplexml.php

So to sum up, I think your insistence on accepting credit cards without third parties is getting you into an area where there may be some theory but there is very little practical industry experience.  You might be successful, you might even be the first and you could write a book about your experience, but as of today even the entire PHP community cannot show you one single example from the notes on the PHP web site.  And that is why I advise against it.

Anyway, we have answered your questions and provided you with links to the PHP man pages that describe the functionality.  I'll continue to monitor this Q to see what we can learn about your bank and their recommendations.  Best regards, ~Ray
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by:Mohamed Abowarda
ID: 33708619
@Ray_Paseur: OK, that's good, I need to create the php script after creating merchant account, there is no information about MCVE functions at php.net, I need the steps on using the functions to do transaction to our bank merchant account.

Thanks,
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 33710887
What bank do you use for your business transactions?  What are their recommendations?
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Author Comment

by:Mohamed Abowarda
ID: 33710889
@Ray_Paseur: Actually, I am looking to have the full idea for everything before I start merchant account.
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 33710901
Uhh, that may be backwards.  You really need to go to your bank and get their recommendations FIRST because they will have a standard method and you must meet their interface.  If you have not done that yet, please do it.  Practical help will require an understanding of their protocols.

Best of luck with the project, ~Ray
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Author Comment

by:Mohamed Abowarda
ID: 33710918
Ray_Paseur: I know that each bank have thier recommendations, but in general, the php script is almost the same idea, I want to create the php script and then there is no problem to seek the bank recommendations and start merchant account.

Thanks,
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Assisted Solution

by:ingwa
ingwa earned 200 total points
ID: 33803593
I've read over all the comments in this question and feel it's important to clarify a few things.

Firstly, there is no way that you can process a credit card payment without having a 3rd party involved. To charge a credit card, generally you need a merchant account. Merchant accounts are issued by banks for the purpose of online transactions. Those bank accounts plug into an online banking protocol and network so that funds can be moved around via websites and the like. No bank will ever give you direct access to that system. That's where a payment processor comes in. They are plugged directly into the online banking system and are able to give commands to take and make payments. There are many different options out there, and all have varying levels and degrees of payments. Some take a percentage of each transaction, such as PayPal. Others charge a monthly fee, plus a small per transaction amount, and others provided combined services of processing, transferring funds to your merchant account, as well as additional layers of security. It just depends on what you need.

As you are not certain as to which bank you are going to use, I cannot give you definate answers. However one definate I can give you is that a) you are going to need a merchant account, or have access to one through a payment processor, b) you are going to have to have a payment processor, talk to your bank if you don't like what's out there, as they will have specifics that they will work with, and most I believe use at least authorize.net, and c) you will need an SSL payment page. This could be hosted on your server, on a virtual server that you rent, or a hosted payment processor such as paypal.

Hope this helps.
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Expert Comment

by:ingwa
ID: 33803612
Let me reclarify my statement about No bank will ever give you direct access to that system...should read: no bank will ever give you direct access to that system unless you have multi-millions of dollars which then means you are able to pay large premiums for insurances that the bank can guarantee transactions against in which case you may just be better off going with your banks solution and leaving it at that...money is not of consequence if you are large enough to afford exclusive services out there.
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Author Comment

by:Mohamed Abowarda
ID: 33803964
@ingwa: I appreciate the information you posted, the main problem here is that I don't have much idea about the php script that will process the payment, I know that I need merchant account and SSL certification, I need example on the php script.

Thanks,
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Assisted Solution

by:leakim971
leakim971 earned 100 total points
ID: 33804091
If you just need an idea or example, check a php module wrote for e-commerce solution
For example OsCommerce : http://www.oscommerce.com/community/contributions,1897

As the previous EE members said you will have a blackbox somewhere doing the true payment process
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Assisted Solution

by:ingwa
ingwa earned 200 total points
ID: 33804178
Medo,

In order to choose the very best code for your situation, it would depend on what merchant account you go for, along with what payment processor suits your budget and features required. There are many out of the box solutions out there, OsCommerce being one of the well known ones, to Magento, a fully blown object oriented ecommerce solution, fully expandable, to the simple yahoo shopping carts. There are so many solutions out there, you would need to identify what you are actually selling, to then what features you need, and require, and desire, then correlate all that information together and then start your hunt for the best solution. It's easy for me to say use this chunk of code to do a charge, and my code might work, theoretically but ultimately the script would also be customized to the specific payment processors API. PayPal have a whole wealth of developer information at x.com, and their services vary from the usual paypal cart button per product, to paypal payments pro, a dual payment channel process which includes a credit card form that sits on your server via ssl, AND a paypal express checkout for people to login with their own paypal account, to payflow pro which goes directly to your merchant account for a monthly fee. Each solution has specific code to enable them to work, and that is at the most basic transaction level: authorize, charge, refund (limited to type of account too). This code doesn't take into consideration how you add items to your cart if you have cart functionality.

There are many variables to consider, but getting your needs understood clearly will help you find the very best solution, and most probably--if you can come to certain initial compromises--find a free solution that you can then customize with some coding for your specific needs. And if you believe in your requirements enough, nothing but the very best will be sufficient for you to achieve your business goals.

Hope this helps.
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Assisted Solution

by:Ray Paseur
Ray Paseur earned 200 total points
ID: 33807637
I agree with what ingwa wrote above.  Rereading this thread leads me to believe that your project suffers from some lack of consolidation of thought, and you might be best served by hiring a professional development firm to realize your e-commerce goals.  Or you might want to just use eBay and PayPal.  But either way, the question remains very broad and the answers you will get are all over the map, so you might want to do some of the MBA work before you go any further.  Get the basics organized and written down.  What are you selling, where is it made, how is it shipped, what is the client, what is the demand, what are the margins, what is your budget for advertising and development, etc.  Armed with that information you can walk into a bank, open an account and begin the adventure.  The PHP part of it is, at this point, the least of your concerns.  Good luck! ~Ray
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Author Closing Comment

by:Mohamed Abowarda
ID: 33819108
Thanks all,
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Expert Comment

by:leakim971
ID: 33819164
Thanks for the points!
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