Shopping carts serve one basic function. They keep a record of what your buying and allow you to make changes to your order. Most shopping carts do this part well.
Most people believe that shopping carts handle the whole financial transaction. Once you click the final order button your list of items may go to a database, while the pricing and payment information goes to a different piece of software which then sends this information to a payment gateway, where the actual billing takes place.
Besides a shopping cart you also need software to actually process a payment. There are several payment gateways where you can send your payment information. Of course each gateway operates differently, and not all gateways process all credit/debit cards. Your shopping cart needs to be seamlessly integrated with your payment software. This combination must handle failures of the gateway (it does happen), NSF denials as well as a properly executed payment.
The shopping cart you use must reflect your products and the options available with those products. Different products may have a different number of options while option A on product 1 may not allow option B on product 2. If products are being shipped then packing and shipping totals must be calculated.
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People are using their hard-earned money to purchase products through your shopping cart. It HAS to work. Period. There must be absolutely no doubt if a payment was approved or denied. After a payment, you should be able to review the transaction immediately, or even a year later. If your web site keeps credit/debit numbers in a database then they MUST be encrypted, not just enroute, but in the database as well. At Digital Synergistics Enterprises we use the strongest encryption available which is far more than legally required.