eCommerce Basics

New to eCommerce? Just getting the hang of things? You’re in the right place. Every day, businesses just like yours turn to us to walk them through the basics of going online. So if you’re ready to unlock the enormous business potential of the internet, let’s get walking…



No matter what you’re selling, every eCommerce business revolves around one thing: a website. Here’s where we explain the basics of how to develop your website, get it online and open up for business.


Domain registration

You’ll start by coming up with a domain name (i.e., a virtual address) for your website that describes your business—something like or And just like in the real world, you’ll have to buy or lease your virtual address. You do that by registering it. There are quite a few companies that can do that for you (including GoDaddy, Enom, Tucows, and Network Solutions). Once you decide which company you like, they will take you through the entire process. This includes checking to ensure that no one else has already chosen the name you want to use, registering it and providing you with technical support.



Making your website available to the general public is the next step. Your site consists of files and databases, and it can only be accessed by people if the files are located on web servers.
Rather than buy and run your own server, you’ll rent space on one from a web hosting company. In many cases, the company that registers your domain for you will also provide web hosting. Hooking up with them is easy; we’ve provided a list of recommended web hosts here.


Website development and design

Developing a website has become much easier in the past few years, so if you have the inclination you can do it yourself. There are lots of website design programs on the internet that let you do that now: such as, and They’re user-friendly and especially suited to simple web pages.

On the other hand, you can also get a professional to design your site. A good developer will create your pages, put together web-based tools (if you need them), and provide you with a look and feel that suits your business. PSiGate partners with reputable developers who can get you started today.


Shopping carts

A shopping cart is an impressive software package that does a whole lot of things that are crucial to running your store. Specifically, an eCommerce shopping cart:

  • stores product information (prices, descriptions, images of items for sale)
  • displays that information to visitors to your website
  • manages things like customer orders and product catalogues
  • sends transaction data to your payment gateway, so you get paid

PSiGate is widely integrated with many shopping carts right out of the box.  Take a look at our compatible shopping cart list and find the solution that’s best for your business.


Payment Gateway


The Payment Gateway is just like the checkout counter in a supermarket—only fancier. Online shoppers who have filled up their carts in your store will then head to the Gateway to pay. There they’ll provide the details of their credit or debit card: Visa, Visa Debit, MasterCard, American Express or Interac Online. The Gateway will verify the details with the card holder’s financial institution and generate an “approved” or “declined” message in real time.

Unlike a physical checkout counter, however, the Gateway hosts some extras that make your life as a merchant even easier. In addition to providing multiple layers of anti-fraud tools, it includes a virtual terminal, a merchant tools dashboard and a way of setting up automatic payments for transactions that occur regularly over time. And of course it also features merchant and tech support by phone or email, so you’re never at a loss for help when you need it.


Merchant account

This is an intermediary that takes funds from the customer’s credit or debit card and sends them to your bank account.

Every merchant has to have a merchant account—it’s the only way you can get paid. PSiGate provides merchant accounts for Canadian and American merchants, but you can also use a merchant account from another provider if you want. (Like we said, we’re flexible.)

PSiGate merchant accounts feature great advantages. First of all, choosing PSiGate for both your merchant account and payment gateway keeps things simple—if you ever have a payment processing issue there’s only one number to call, not two. And secondly, we specialize in eCommerce, which means that our fee schedule and customer service hit the sweet spot—competitive rates, no surprises and a personal touch that small business owners really appreciate. Take a look at Fees Explained to see what we mean.


Merchant Account

Bank Account


Fees explained

Electronic transaction fees can be a minefield for merchants: complicated rate schedules, hidden extra costs, inflexible plans. Billing may start out looking simple, but it can get complicated very quickly.

Here’s how it works. Every time you complete a transaction with a customer, you are charged a fee known as the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR). That’s a combination of the fees charged by the card association and your online payment provider. And no one objects to that—after all, they have to make money from running their business.

But then they start adding on the “extras.” Premium cards, for example, carry a higher fee than basic ones; website purchases involve a bigger charge than face-to-face transactions. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, some payment providers also charge additional fees, like monthly minimums and fixed transaction costs—all of which get added to your MDR.

You can see right away where this is going. With all the different types of cards out there nowadays, together with different purchase methods and additional extras, your bill won’t be what you thought it was going to be. It will actually be a lot higher—as you’ll find out when it arrives in your Inbox at the end of the month.

But at PsiGate, we know that it doesn’t have to be that way. We understand the importance of pricing transparency, and this is an area where we shine.


We’re eCommerce specialists—we make it easy

Unfortunately, some providers don’t make it easy for you. They can be less than clear about what you’ll pay as a merchant, offering attractive MDRs that differ from what is quoted in the fine print. You’ll find that out if you ask them a few basic questions:

  • Does this rate apply to eCommerce transactions, or only card-present?
  • Do you charge a monthly minimum fee?
  • Will I be locked into a contract? If so, for how long?

At PSiGate, on the other hand, we make it easy. Our sales team does everything it can to simplify the process. We’ll break down prices for you (ours and our competitors’); explain how to minimize your costs; and work out a rate schedule that is suited to your business—not some “typical” business that has nothing to do with you.

Above all, we tailor our pricing to eCommerce. You won’t see things on your bill like adjustment fees, non-qualified fees, rate adjustment fees or interchange differentials. You won’t be slapped with a premium on eCommerce transactions using a standard type of card. You won’t ever be hit with a nasty surprise that bites into your bottom line. All you’ll see is a price that is optimized for eCommerce merchants, plain and simple.

Try us. We think you’ll like us.

Get started today

Now that you know everything you need to start accepting payments online, take a look at our pricing.

See our pricing