Payment processing for events is a critical part of your registration system. Credit card is the most popular option, but depending on your event and your organization, you may want to consider allowing other payment types too.
Credit Card – Real Time Transactions
Online credit card transactions are convenient for the registrant and the event planner and event planners are guaranteed to receive the money when a transaction is approved. Plus, payment reports are automatically updated in the registration system, funds are directly deposited into your bank account and receipts are automatically generated and emailed to the registrants.
To process online credit card transactions for your events, you need:
- An Online Merchant Account – this is also called an e-commerce merchant account and is different than merchant accounts used for face to face, phone or mail transactions.
- A Gateway Account – ePly will integrate your online form with your gateway account. Your gateway is the connection to the various financial institutions involved in processing a transaction.
When you open an online merchant account, your account provider may also set you up with a gateway account or leave it up to you to choose one.
ePly is a PCI (payment card industry) compliant registration system and has integrated with the following gateways: Beanstream, Stripe, Moneris eSelect, Caledon, Authorize.net, PayFlowPro (PayPal), Link Point, PSIGate, Elavon, FirstData, eWay, IATS, MSI, Netbanx, NetMerchants, Paymentech, Sage, Skipjack. If your gateway is not in the list, please contact us and we will tell you if we can integrate with your gateway.
If you need to open new merchant or gateway accounts we recommend these companies for payment processing.
Process For Approving A Credit Card Transaction
The automated process of approving or declining a credit card transaction is approximately 3-5 seconds long. It happens like this:
- The registration form is filled out and the event registrant clicks “submit”.
- The credit card data is securely sent to the payment gateway.
- The payment gateway passes the transaction details to the merchant account holder’s bank’s processor.
- The transaction details are then submitted to the Credit Card Network (CCN), a network of financial institutions that manage the processing, clearing and settlement of credit card transactions.
- The CCN sends the transaction details to the event registrant’s credit card issuer (bank).
- The event registrant’s bank approves or declines the transaction and sends the details back to the CCN.
- The CCN sends the details back to the merchant account holder’s bank’s processor.
- The merchant account holder’s bank’s processor sends the details back to the gateway.
- The gateway saves the results and sends them back to ePly.
- The ePly system displays the approved or declined message to the registrant, generates and emails a receipt and saves the results in the event database (ePly does not save the credit card details).
- The event registrant’s bank sends the funds to the CCN which passes them to the merchant account holder’s bank.
- The merchant account holder receives the funds in their bank account 1 – 2 business days after the transaction takes place.
Credit Card Capture
There are times that you may want to capture a registrant’s credit card information, but not process a charge against it right away as a means to help reduce no-shows or as security against a hotel room booking. Simply asking registrants to enter credit card information into a regular text box field on a form would be irresponsible and would violate your merchant account agreement and PCI rules.
Automatic Recurring Payments
Allow your attendees to pay a deposit amount when registering and have future payments automatically scheduled and processed.
When you offer a pay by cheque or request an invoice option on your form, here’s what happens:
- The event registrant fills out the form and chooses to pay by cheque, then clicks submit.
- The ePly system records the data in the event database and sends an email invoice to the event registrant containing instructions on how much to pay and where to mail the payment.
- When the Event Planner receives the payment, they will record it in the ePly system to track amounts paid and amounts still outstanding.
If you don’t have an e-commerce merchant account set up and you are looking for a quick and easy way to allow your event registrants to pay by credit card, PayPal can be a good way to go. Your event registrants do not need to have a PayPal account in order to pay you.
The ePly system is set up to automate most of the set up for you and for a basic integration all you need is the email address you use for your PayPal account. If you would like PayPal to automatically update the payment reports in the ePly System, it’s just a matter of making a few edits to the Instant Payment Notification settings in your PayPal account.
All of the steps are outlined in the setting up PayPal article.
Wire Transfer, Money Order, Cash, etc.
All other offline payment methods work in a similar way to paying by cheque. The amount a registrant owes is recorded in the event database, the registrant receives an email with instructions on how to make their payment and the Event Planner records the payment once it’s received.
If your college or university uses OneCard for student payments, you can easily allow this as a payment option on your event registration forms.