I’m often asked to provide advice on what type of shopping cart / payment processor a business should implement.  The answer is not quite so simple and in this article, I’ve tried to outline the processes and technologies that go together to deliver a payment and affiliate solution and offer some choices.

This is taken from information I provided within Wishlist Insider in response to a question about taking membership payments.

Let’s look at some terminology, first….

Payment Processors

A payment processor is ‘the thing’ that sits between your website (typically a shopping cart) and your banks internet gateway into your account.  It’s the bit that does the ‘heavy lifiting’ for credit card processing.

Payment processors include, but aren’t limited to: Authorize.net, 2CO, Securepay, EWay, Paypal and myriad of others.

Paypal does fall into this group, although it works a bit differently to the others.

Most of these processors offer an interface that we can code directly to and hook websites up to.  This will eliminate the need for a shopping cart but, in my opinion, you are seriously better off considering a shopping cart to make your life easier.

Shopping Carts

This is the piece of software that controls your products, how much you charge for them, the description of the products, any sales discounts, postage / freight, coupon codes etc.

There are lots of shopping carts around, some are good, some are mediocre and others are just awful to use.  Not all shopping carts support all payment processors nor do they interface with all software that will run on your site.  Point in case, the integration with Wishlist Member between Shopping Carts can be limited.

Typically, there are two styles of shopping cart – hosted and self hosted.

1SC (autoweb business) and WAHM Cart are hosted shopping carts – someone else hosts the software, does all the system admin etc.  You get an account on it and list your products.

Self hosted solutions include OS-ECommerce, Zen Cart, WP-E-Shop and WP-E-Commerce.  I’ve been testing WP-E-Shop and WP-E-Commerce on some wordpress websites and I quite like them.

The beauty of having a shopping cart is that you can generally have a couple of payment processors and offer more choice to your customers and it is much, much easier managing a catalogue of products rather than individual payment buttons for products.

Paypal Only

Most of us start off this way – we log into paypal, generate the payment button, paste it into our site and away we go.  It’s a good way to start.  I’m now running into issues with multiple membership levels, multiple products etc trying to keep it all straight.

Paypal will do recurring and one off payments, put the money into your paypal account and you can transfer it to your bank account.

What should you choose?

I think the question is – what do you need / want and what can you support yourself?

Hosted shopping cart solutions will generally cost you a monthly fee – there is a cost to maintaining the service.  For that monthly fee, most of the headaches disappear.  The downside – a prime part of your business is in someone elses hands – be very, very certain that your dealing with someone reputable.

Self Hosted shopping cart solutions will have a higher start up cost – you have to install and customize the solution however, ongoing costs are typcially much, much lower.  Most of the solutions I’ve seen just seem to run once they’re installed and may, or may not, require software updates or upgrades.  I strongly suggest you have a techie type on your team that you can call on when issues arise.

A word of warning:  1SC and Recurring Payments

1SC doesn’t support recurring PAYPAL payments.  If you are considering setting up a system that requires recurring payments (and that includes payment plans) and want to use Paypal to process payments exclusively, then 1SC is not the solution for you.

To be absolutely clear, 1SC DOES support recurring payments – with credit card payment processors.

What questions or experiences do you have with your current shopping cart – share your wisdom with other readers below….

About the Author Charly Dwyer

Charly has more than 30 years experience in the IT industry ranging from hands-on technical, to high-level business management, Charly has installed and configured computing equipment and has managed business contracts in excess of $25 million dollars.

As a result, Charly identifies the best way to integrate solutions and technologies for the most cost effective way to achieve a businesses outcome.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

    1. Hi Mouli,
      Paypal is certainly a good payment processor but many customers are still wary about paying using it. Some of my research indicates that offering the ability to pay by credit card (and removing the paypal look and feel) increases sales considerably.

      For some of us, using Paypal is often the only affordable choice though.

  1. Hi Charly, great article.. That makes alot of sense. I think I may have been typing it wrong what I truly want. In my Ideal world, I would sign up for 1SC, then I would go through the setup process and I would select Paypal Pro as my gateway/processor for 1shopping cart to use to take credit cards for me… I already have a Paypal Website Payments Pro account all setup and ready to go.. But I like the idea of coupons and not having to redo buttons. When I say I want customer to pay on my website, I dont mind if it is not actually my domain or host,, What I truly wish I could do, is create a 1SC button for each membership. The customer would click the button and then see a page asking for their info , billing info, and credit card info. So if customer pays via credit card, then 1SC would sent that info behind the scenes and paypal would process the credit card using my Paypal pro account that I setup in the 1SC .. Then after the credit card goes through, customer ends up on registration page with the integration I input through wishlist member.. BUT, if after the customer clicks on the add to cart buttong created through 1SC, and gets to the page to fill out the billing info, but does not want to use a credit card, and instead wants to use PayPal.. I wish there was a way to do that with wishlist member. Just like the checkout page on wishlist site or wishlist insider and wishlist member.. It has exactly what I wish my site could have. The form that gives them the option to fill in all billing and credit card info, but also a little button to the right that says, checkout with Paypal… Can I do that, or do I have to hire somebody? And of course make sure it works with wishlist member. And recurring payments doesnt matter at all. I will not be doing recurring payments on any memberships . They are all for a fixed amount of time, and customer has to repurchase after the time runs out, buy clicking on Button on site, or clicking on a email link I may send.. Thanks for your reply,and I like your website.. Looks like lots of other good info here to check out..

    1. Hi Jared,
      Thanks for the detailed response – most shopping carts will allow multiple payment gateways and will display the different payment options at the time of Checkout.

      1SC for instance, will display the credit card form and a tab that says Paypal. When your purchaser clicks on the paypal tab, they are taken to paypal to pay. If your purchaser fills out the credit card form, the payment is sent to Paypal Pro (if that’s what you’ve configured).

      WP-E-Commerce will allow multiple payment gateways to be configured and add different payment buttons to the bottom of the check out page.

      Other shopping carts do similar.

      If you don’t use a shopping cart, simply paste the button codes for the different payment processors onto your page and format them as you would like.

      You may find it easier, quicker and overall less expensive if you work with a developer like myself. I work with clients to determine what they want to do and then do the coding, formatting etc to meet your needs.

      Hope that helps,

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}