Archive for the ‘Online Buying & Selling’ Category

Does hosting for a shopping cart on a site have to be PCI Compliant?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

If you have a shopping cart on your website or are thinking of having one, you may have heard about the required PCI Compliancy (as of 2004). This is a security requirement preventing hackers from accessing your forms and data comprising your customers’ ID. Hackers can get to your databases if security isn’t high, and if you stored credit card numbers, hackers can get to them unless you have a PCI Compliant server. Even if you take credit card numbers on your site and do not store them, a hacker can monitor this process if your server is not PCI compliant.

Keep in mind, your website hosting has to be PCI compliant ONLY if you take credit card numbers on your site. This is true especially if you feel the need to store credit card numbers. This is a risk you do not have to take. When you have PCI compliant hosting, it means you need a whole server (computer) to yourself. Hosting is renting space on a computer that is dedicated to the Internet. It is best to use a company that specializes in hosting. They have backup systems for content as well as power supplies. If your area experiences a storm, you should avoid downtime with most hosting companies as they have a backup plan.

If you are a small company and want to have a shopping cart but can not afford the PCI Compliant hosting, there is a way to get around this and still be safe. Most hosting that a small company pays for can do the job for about $20 a month. If you rent a dedicated server, the difference is a much larger monthly fee. Your company can still be held accountable for any misuse of a credit card.

The safest way to take credit cards is to not do it on your site.


Even if your programmer says you are not doing it, if it appears that you are taking them on your site be skeptical. The safest way is to not store any of your customer’s data on your site. Every time they
order, they should refill out the data as if it was their first time. This means you do not require a login to your site. When it comes to putting in a credit card, they are redirected to or Paypal.
The address clearly shows this.

If you go to, put in an amount and follow it through without putting in your credit number and you will see it goes to with transNET Media ® LLC’s name on it.Your site can add up the amount and even transfer the details of what was purchased to It will then send the merchant a notice to fill the order and the recipient will get a receipt. Read more…

The Buzz Term “PCI Compliant”

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

When it became possible to sell items on the Internet, everyone wanted to do it. It became a dream job. Work at home while your websites work for you all the time, taking money and dropping it into your bank account. It was happening, but the horror stories started to erupt. Identity theft has been traced to charging on the Internet. This scares buyers from shopping at their computers and prefer the real store front.

There are many that believe that it is unsafe to buy or put their credit cards online, and justifiably so. Although this should be, and can be, the safest way to buy. If a site is set up properly, your clients are at no risk. But unfortunately there are a lot of overlooked holes that websites fall into because people trusted their developers to know how to avoid the risks. If you are an online merchant, you have heard the buzz phrase, “PCI compliant.” Is your site PCI compliant and does it have to be?

If you go here you can read about what this means for your site’s security and what you need to take into account when taking money. If you’re using Paypal, it is compliant, but who is taking the credit card number? Is your site taking the number and sending it to Paypal, or is your site allowing Paypal to take the number? Read more…

Why a Custom Shopping Cart

Monday, March 1st, 2010

There are many items that don’t require customizing when selling on the Internet but too often the need for customizing isn’t considered when a merchant requests a shopping cart. The first response to the need for a shopping cart is a canned one. That is, one that has already been created as a package and adapted to the needs of the merchant. Let’s make an analogy. Supposing you have to move to Phoenix and you need to rent a house. You talk to someone and you tell them you need a house and it needs to have three bedrooms, two baths and a certain area. You put your money down and move. You forgot to mention you have a dog and you need a backyard. He also thought you would like a spa but you have little use for it since you have small kids and will have to close it off so they don’t fall in. The point is you, missed the details. It is better when you take a clear assessment of what you need and make sure you get it.

When building your site any research you do to define what you want your
shopping cart to do will save you in the long run. Suppose you are selling large items that you do not want shipped overseas, does your shopping cart allow you to be specific and not take orders where you do not want to send them. Suppose you sell freshly baked cakes and only want to deliver in your area and you want to calculate the distance. Suppose you need to get real specific as well. This is something most shopping carts don’t do. Suppose you want clients who order very large orders to get a discount on those large orders as
well. Or you would like to give your club a special discount without having to
send them a refund. Developers often use the canned carts like VirtueMart, X-Cart, Zen Cart, or PayPal’s shopping cart. Read more …

Your Unique Cart

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Selling items on your website is always a unique experience. Most canned shopping carts appeal to a generic item, gifts for example, sold with a repeat performance and a constant price. Most shopping carts are set up for price changes and item changes. However, the canned-cart doesn’t allow for all the features one might need. To just say to your programmer, “I want a shopping cart and I want to take credit cards online,” can get you into a place you may not want to be. Today, most programmers do not want to build or write code for something that has already been done. Why reinvent the wheel? If it were a only a wheel you needed then that would be fine, but there are certain things you need to look for when building your site with a shopping cart. Before you jump into the online sale don’t let your programmer put you at risk or create a site that is obsolete in a few years. It is best to let yourself experience online shopping for yourself, especially with products that are similar to your own products. This will help you in two ways:

  1. Give you insight as to how the shopping cart should perform.
  2. How you can make it better or more efficient for your user.

An efficient and friendly site always brings a customer back. I recommend that you write out the way you want your desired process to work, and if at all possible, pay attention to the details that you think your customer will appreciate. A few things to consider are a particular way you want to sign the receipt, following up with the customer the day after the order, or even follow up after the order has been filled to let them know where the purchased product is. This can be a little more work for you, but it could save you money and your developer time. Read more …

Check Your Online Purchase

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

It is so easy to buy on the Internet. One suggestion that I always make is to check your destination of your purchase when buying on the Internet. Unfortunately, we bought one gift this year that never made it. We kept checking and it was a major store that never got back to us and the gift was never sent because they didn’t have one to send. Three days after Christmas we finally called the store and they said to call in three more days, because they had to track one down. After three more days passed the company was able to track another gift down and send it late. Here it is way past the New Year and it still has not arrived at its destination. We ordered this gift on Dec 15. It was a good thing we checked on it. By Jan 13 we cancelled the order. It was going to get there and their customer service didn’t know what was going on.

Another time I sent a gift basket to a family in Central America. It also never arrived yet the money was charged to my account. I called the company and they said it was impossible to get it to this country because of customs. Read more …

The Buying Online Experience

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

In this down economy and the big merchants stays big and the little merchants struggle, it is good to patronize the small merchant. The small merchant on the web usually specializes in something often not offered by the bigger online merchants. I encourage buying from the small merchant websites. Here are some tips to being safe when buying from the small merchant.
Make sure they have a return policy.
Call them and ask them a question to see about their response to a call. Also, to see if they are there. I would not buy from them if you are satisfied with their response.
Email them too for a response.
Questions to ask:

  • Do they store your credit card number online.
  • Do they store anything from the order.
  • If they do store your credit card number. Tell them you do not want them to store it. Can you avoid it.
  • What do they use for the transaction, paypal or something else.

If it is paypal, it is safe. Many others are too. It is good to do a little research to see how safe. I do not mind when a website takes me to a third party for a transaction. The third party is all about security for credit cards like It is good when a website does not try to pretend to be big. The only other thing you want to make sure about a small company is that they fill the orders they receive. Talking to them on the phone lets you know they are there. Some website stay up when they merchants have gone. Once you are sure the merchant is good, you will have a good shopping experience.