I want to enable e-commerce on my NZ website - what do I need to know?

More and more businesses are adding e-commerce to their website to reach more customers, to automate their selling or to help with collecting money from account holders. There is a wealth of information and systems out on the internet about it, but so much of it relates to businesses overseas, sometimes it is difficult to know where to look for the right advice in NZ.

For our clients we have simplified it right down to two options and we address the pros and cons below. Before diving in though there are a couple of things you need to know:

1) Security

Security is a major factor when it comes to e-commerce transactions. For this reason all ecommerce transactions need to go through an approved gateway company. The gateway company ensures the credit card details and personal information are secure when the transaction between your customer and your website takes place.

2) Types of transactions

There are two types of transactions that can happen on a website, these have different names but we refer to them as seamless and non-seamless. A seamless transaction is one where the customer never leaves your website. You still need a gateway company to actually do the transaction behind the scenes, but the customer never sees them. New Zealand banks are more weary of this type of transaction and there are website security certificates and extra site security measures that your website company will need to put in place, but if done properly it will be approved by the bank.

In New Zealand the only option for a seamless transaction is a full merchant facility with the bank and an approved gateway like DPS. Paypal Pro is the paypal equivalent but as yet this is not available for NZ customers.

A non-seamless transaction takes customers away from your website to do the transaction on the gateway companies website. NZ banks like this option better because less security measures are needed on your website. Paypal is the most widely known example or the DPS hosted payments option.

3) What payment gateways are available in New Zealand?

There are many, some being offered by overseas companies, others by local companies or even the banks themselves. We recommend only two options to our clients, this is because we know they work, they are reputable and we have systems in place to quickly integrate them into our client's websites. Other options are available, but this is what we recommend - either DPS (Payment Express) or Paypal. DPS is based in NZ and have been the longest standing gateway company, they have good systems and support, as well as integration with all NZ banks. Paypal is the international standard and although support is difficult to receive it is rare that we need it.

4) Paypal or Payment Express?

The answer to this question will depend on your business and how many transactions you are planning to do. 

Use Paypal when:

  • You are just starting out or "testing the water"
  • You would rather pay slightly higher transaction fees and no monthly fee
  • Your customers are likely to already have a personal Paypal account or not be put off by setting one up
  • You will not be doing too many transactions per month
  • You don't mind drawing down the money to your bank account from your Paypal account (can take up to 5 days to clear from your Paypal account to your NZ bank account)
  • You don't mind non-seamless payments (customers leave your website and do the transaction on the paypal website)

Use Payment Express (DPS) when:

  • You don't mind setting up a merchant account with your bank (or already have one)
  • You are planning to do 30 or more transactions per month
  • You want your money deposited directly into your business bank account overnight
  • You want to do seamless transactions (so customers don't see the gateway company or leave your website)
  • You want to do "card not present" transactions (e.g. take phone orders or one-off payments that you can't put through your website ecommerce facility).

If you would like more information or to discuss your ecommerce options please let us know and we'd be happy to help.