The Beginner’s Guide to Online Payments

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Before you’re ready to start selling tickets online, you’ll need a way to process credit cards.  If you’re not opting to use Tix’s merchant account for credit card processing, you’ll need two things to process online payments:

  1. An eCommerce merchant account
  2. An account with a payment gateway

Many merchants have difficulty understanding the difference between these two things and typically aren’t familiar with how a payment gateway works to process payments.  To help empower Tix users, we want to demystify online payments by answering common questions and breaking down the entire online payment process.

What is an eCommerce merchant account?

An eCommerce merchant account is simply a term for a bank account that allows for the direct transfer of funds from a credit card transaction.  Your merchant account can be set up directly with your bank and is the account where your ticket revenue will be deposited when your payment gateway batches out your payments.

What is a Payment Gateway?

A payment gateway is an application that authorizes, captures, and settles online payments.  To put it simply, your payment gateway handles the multi-step process of checking to make sure your customers have sufficient funds in their bank account for the amount they’re purchasing.  Your gateway also handles putting these funds on hold in your customer’s bank account and sending the funds to your merchant account.

It’s important to note that Tix does not store any credit card information or handle any type of payment authorization.  We simply pass the information on to your payment gateway through a secure SSL encryption, and your gateway handles the rest.

If you want a step-by-step guide on how a payment gateway handles credit card transactions, (one of the largest payment gateways) has a short and sweet video that runs down the entire process.

Things to consider

  • First and foremost, you should be aware that not all gateways are created equally. Each has their own terms, fees, and stipulations that you should be aware of before you sign up.  You’ll want to go over their terms of service with a fine-tooth comb and ask any questions you have to ensure that there are no hidden aspects that may make the “perfect” gateway an unaffordable option for your business.
  • Tix works with over 30 payment gateways, ranging from free PayPal Business Standard accounts to larger payment gateways like Stripe and For a full list of payment gateways with which we integrate, please contact us directly.
  • Some banks offer their own proprietary payment gateway, such as Chase offering their payment gateway Orbital. These gateways may also be available to you at a discounted rate because you’re already doing business with that particular bank.  When you’re setting up your merchant account, ask about any suggested payment gateways your bank works with.  You may be able to find a gateway that fits your needs at a rate that makes your wallet happy, without having to shop around.
  • If you need access to your money within a particular time-frame, this is something you should communicate upfront when looking for a payment gateway. Depending on the gateway and merchant account you choose, you may have access to your payments in as little as 24 hours.  Typically, you can expect payments to hit your merchant account within 48-72 hours.
  • Non-profits may qualify for discounted rates from particular gateway providers.
  • Square is not a payment gateway. It is a POS system that handles card-present transactions only.  While Square has begun to integrate with a handful of online stores, these platforms have partnered directly with Square to provide specific ecommerce solutions. Square does not provide sufficient information to integrate with Tix, so you will not be able to use it as a means of checkout for in person or online ticket sales with Tix.
  • No matter what gateway you choose, make sure you have access to a support team (that will actually pick up the phone). There’s nothing worse than having payment issues and nobody around to help.

If you have any questions about integrating your gateway account with Tix, please contact us directly.

Tix is a state-of-the-art, cloud-based ticketing system that features fully integrated access controls, event management controls, multi-channel distribution capabilities, and a robust reporting suite. We specialize in no-cost, feature-rich ticketing solutions for venues, promoters, producers, universities, theme parks, tours, museums, casinos, theatres, film festivals, concerts, night clubs, music festivals, race tracks, and more.

To learn more about who we are and what we do, give us a call. We can be reached at (800) 504-4849 or