Understanding online payment workflow

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This article explains how online payment methods actually function. Please see the instructions on setting up payment options in our article about accepting money online.

Online payment method is an immediate transfer of money paid for goods to your payment account.

The process of receiving money involves three parties:

  • your Ecwid store.
  • payment gateway or payment processor: special system, located outside your store but integrated with it. Payment gateways process your customers' credit cards and charge them. See the list of payment gateways integrated with Ecwid.
  • your merchant account at the payment gateway connected to your bank account.

When a customer clicks Continue on the last checkout step, they are redirected to the site of the payment gateway. There they submit credit card information, or sign in to their PayPal account and confirm the payment. And Ecwid transfers the customer and order data (order total, tax amount, shipping cost, shipping/billing address) to the payment gateway. 

The payment gateway connects the bank that issued the card, the card data is verified. If a customer paid by PayPal, PayPal verifies the account. Then either the money is charged or the transaction is declined by the bank. 

Then the payment gateway sends the transaction confirmation (callback) back to Ecwid, and Ecwid sets the corresponding status for the order. You can see it in your Ecwid Control Panel → My Sales.The transaction is also recorded in your payment merchant account. 

If the transaction is successful the money is put to your merchant account you have with the payment gateway. After that you can withdraw the money to your bank account.

The data transfer and transaction confirmation is performed via special secure channels between your Ecwid store and a payment gateway, the operations are fulfilled in background. 

From the customer's view the charging process looks like this:

  • they click the Continue button,
  • they get redirected to the payment site (for ex., PayPal),
  • type their credit card details or login to PayPal,
  • check their data,
  • confirm the payment,
  • get redirected back to the store and see the Thank you for your order page with the order details and invoice.

In Ecwid it is possible to accept money from customers without redirecting them to the payment gateway – the charge takes place right on the checkout page in your store. The payment form is shown right on the last checkout step, it's pulled from the payment processor and displayed in an iframe. Technically the charges are still processed on the payment processor side, but the customer stays in your store for entering the payment information. The payment options that work like this are WePayPayFlow Link, Payments Advanced, and PayPal Payments Pro HostedSquare, Stripe, American Express.

So Ecwid does not process your customer's credit cards. We rely on known and trusted payment gateways who provide necessary high security level for these operations. 

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