An E-Commerce Journal Part 2

By Joe Burns

The deal was easy to swallow. We were able to accept Master Card and Visa simply by buying the system. If we wanted to accept Discover and American Express, we would need to contact their credit card services department. We did. The cards wanted an additional percentage of the sale on top of what the bank was taking. We decided against it. Master Card and Visa were good enough for right now. If we need to expand in the future, we will.

The process would be simple. People would buy a painting, or paintings, and enter their card number. That number would be held, encrypted, on the server. We would download the orders at the end of the day. The credit card numbers would be entered into a program on the my wife's new computer. The software would dial the modem, connect right to the bank, and the transfer would take place. It is all encrypted and very safe.

Now that I have gone through the process of buying and setting up the system, I'm amazed at how safe it really is.

The bank does not charge checking fees as long we keep $3000 in the account. I simply drew $5000 from the bank loan and put it in the account to make sure I would never pay fees. I am allowed to write six checks a month for free.

When we enter a credit card number into the system, the total amount will be deposited. At the end of the month, the bank will simply withdraw their two percent fee from the total amount deposited that month.

It's pretty much that simple. All we do is put money in and the bank takes their fees. I liked the fact that the bank only took the fees at the end of the month so that my books would be very easy to keep. If they took their cut as each sale went through, the accounting might get a little complicated.

So! It doesn't sound so hard quite yet, does it? Now we need a Verisign certificate and account so our transactions will be secure.

You can buy the Verisign certificate right from the Verisign company online. When I first tried, I hit a road block. Peter Jones' name was still on the whois listing on StreetArtist.com. The funny thing was, it was just his name. The address was correct, but the name was wrong. It was a clerical error. I was listed as the administrative and the technical contact. I legally owned the name and could do with it what I wanted, but Peter was still listed, so I couldn't get a Versigin. Peter's name would need to be taken off of the domain before Verisign would grant me their services.

Those of you who have worked with InterNic, the domain name people, know that if you're the administrative contact, it used to be that you could change out just about anything. The admin person could...well...administer. Times have changed. Now, there was a ton of paperwork that needed to be undertaken. Peter would need to, AGAIN, fill out the paperwork and submit it to get his name off of the domain.

My heart dropped when I was told the entire process could take six to eight weeks. That was well past our September first start date and some advertising had already gone out proclaiming we would be online at that point. If we didn't have a Verisign, we weren't going to be able to accept credit cards.


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