When a customer buys something from you online, they select an item from your web site and typically add it to your shopping cart software. In turn, the shopping cart software communicates with an online payment gateway, which encrypts the data and communicates with the credit card bank. It typically verifies that the billing address entered by the customer is the same as what's on file, to help prevent fraud in online payment processing. If it's approved, an ecommerce gateway payment is issued to your merchant account and the charge is debited against the customer's credit card account.
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