Understanding online payment workflow

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This article explains how online payment methods (e.g., credit card processing) 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: 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 the "Continue" button on the last checkout step, they are redirected to the site of the payment gateway where they submit credit card information, or sign in to their PayPal account and confirm the payment. At this very moment Ecwid transfers the customer and order data (order total, tax amount, shipping cost, shipping/billing address) to the payment gateway. 

The payment gateway connects to the card issuer, the card data is verified (or PayPal verifies the accounts if the customer pays with their PayPal account), then either the money is charged or the transaction is declined  by the bank for some reason (e.g. there's not enough money on the card). 

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. Also Ecwid send the email notifications to the store owner and the customer. 

If the transaction is successful the money is put to your merchant account you have with the payment gateway, where you can withdraw it from to your (bank) account.
 
The data transfer and transaction confirmation is performed via special secure channels between your Ecwid store and payment gateway, the operations are fulfilled in background. 

From the customer's view the charging process looks like this:
- they click the "Continue" button,

- get redirected to the payment site (for ex., PayPal),

- type in credit card details or login to PayPal,

- confirm the data and payment,

- get redirected back to the store and see '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 out from the payment gateway side and displayed in a iframe. Technically the charges are still processed on the payment side, but customer stays in your store for entering the payment information. The payment options that work like this are Ecwid paymentsPayFlow Link, Payments Advanced, and PayPal Payments Pro HostedSquare, Stripe, American Express.
 
Thus Ecwid does not process your customer's credit cards. It relies on known and trusted payment gateways who are able to provide necessary high security level for these operations. 

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