Mandatory Website Requirements
using a website to accept payments you must comply with certain
website requirements. Please note that as acquiring bank and as
Visa and MasterCard rules, they must be rigidly adhered to.
If a website is well designed and easy to use, customers will
return again and again and the risk of chargebacks will be greatly
reduced. Therefore as part of the application we will
need to see your company website. This does not need
to be live on your domain and can be a BETA site, however it must
be complete otherwise your merchant account application will not
Please be aware that if we think your website needs certain areas
sorting, or we feel you need advice - as certain business sectors
must follow specific website rules - we will say so and will not
simply reject your application.
1. Is the content real and not mock design text?
If when having a website built the true content is not available,
designers will often use mock, usually Latin, text to make it
look like real content. However, certain merchants either forget
to replace this or deliberately leave it in. Either way this
must be removed and real content used.
Not only does this help a customer know who you are and what
you do, it also allows us to fully understand your business
at time of application and also gives us confidence
that you do really exist and are not simply trying to get the
2. Are the products and services advertised real and not mock?
As above we must see actual products and services on your website,
including all pricing.
"If I'm a new business and I'm selling user generated content
such as advertising or webcams etc. how can I add real content
if nobody can purchase from me yet?"
This is an argument we often hear and one we understand. In
fact we have had the same argument with the banks that we use,
as well as Visa, time and time again. Unfortunately they are
not that understanding and it can turn into a bit of a catch
22 situation. However, to get an account live we only need to
see a handful of real content (we appreciate that once you have
the account your website will grow), therefore these are our
suggestions to help get the initial content...
Offer free advertising for a certain
number of months
Offer advertising that is only paid
for once the site goes live
Only accept cash or bank transfers
to pay for initial advertising
Share initial advertising with another
website to gain advertisements
If you decide to 'borrow' someone else's content then please
make sure that this is not easily detectable and can not be
discovered by means of a simple Google search (one of our biggest
due diligence tools).
3. Does your website display a refund policy?
A refund policy should be clearly displayed on your website.
This can be displayed anywhere on your site, as long as it is
displayed before a customer makes a payment. Your refund policy
may vary according to whether you are based in or out of the
Where you are supplying consumers (i.e. individuals buying
for themselves rather than for a business) you should make
it explicit that the shopper has the right to cancel within
seven days of their contract with you, or seven days of receipt
of the goods (whichever is the longer). You must also explain
that if the shopper does cancel their order, they will have
their payment returned and outline the procedures they must
follow to return their goods or services (these requirements
ensure you comply with EU regulations). There are variations
to these rules where you are supplying services or making
customised goods. For information on these rules you should
go to: the DTi website or speak with your own business advisor.
4. Does your website clearly show the following?
Clear posting of the company's legal
name on the website
Clear posting of the customer service
telephone number and / or email address
Clear posting of the Terms and Conditions
The above should be displayed under their own headings. This
makes it easier for the customer to view the relevant information
and means that they do not need to spend time looking for it.
If this information is collated in just once place i.e terms
and conditions, then you will need to separate them accordingly.
5. Are your contact details displayed?
You must clearly display your contact details for your shoppers.
These details must include:
Clear posting of your postal address
Clear posting of the customer service
Clear posting of the customer service
Visa and MasterCard require that the address which is mentioned
on the company incorporation document is mentioned on the website.
However we understand that for some adult merchants, due to
security reasons and the fact they trade out of said address,
this may not be acceptable. Therefore for adult merchant accounts
only, we allow shell addresses...
We recommend www.fletcherkennedy.com
for these shell instances, as they're cheap and easy.
6. Is your product pricing clearly stated?
You must provide clear pricing on your website for the products
or services on offer. Unless the website it for businesses only
and not private individuals, you must show all prices including
7. Does your website display the logos of the cards
you can accept?
Your website must display the logos of the payment cards that
can be accepted through your account (Clause 12b - Customer
Agreement). If you are using the World Account the payment instruments'
logos that you can accept will automatically be displayed on
the secure payment page.
In addition, you are required to display on your website the
logos of the payment instruments that you can accept. Ideally,
the logos should be displayed at the point of entry to your
shop. Thus ensuring that your shoppers are aware of the payment
instruments that you accept before they make a purchase.
To download all the credit and debit card logos, including
our own, please click here
8. Does your website have clear navigation?
Your website must have clear a precise navigation. The navigation
must enable a user to easily find their way around the website
and find relevant information quickly.
9. Does the website look professional?
A website is an extension of your business. If not your sole
business. It is one of the only opportunities to establish,
strengthen and maintain your brand in the eyes of prospective
customers. A badly designed site will affect the time that your
visitors and potential buyers stay on your site negatively and
you will not be successful in your online business.
A well designed website will impart professionalism and show
visitors that you care about your customers and your business.
It will also convey a feeling of trust and people will rather
buy your products when you have a good designed website than
from a person who does not have a professional looking website.
10. Does your website use banned words or phrases?
Visa, MasterCard and the banks that we use are very strict
about certain words being used on a website. The words below
are specific to adult content websites, however there may also
be certain words or phrases that can not be used in your industry:
11. Is your domain name registered in your own name and legal
Your web address (domain name) must be registered in your company
name. The reason for this is that if a shopper searches your
domain name, they can see who exactly owns the website they
have spent money with. Basically everything needs to tally up
for shopper confidence. This also helps stop fraudsters opening
and closing businesses every couple of days.
12. Is your website PCI Compliant?
Once your website goes live it will need to become PCI Compliant.
PCI Compliance is the Payment
Card Industry Data Security Standard mandated by the card schemes
for the protection of cardholders and transaction details. If
you do not comply with the standard you could face substantial
fines imposed by card schemes. You could even find yourself
being permanently barred.
You can become compliant by using an assessor. To see the current
list of PA-QSAs recognized by the PCI Security Standards Council,
please see below.
We do not take any responsibility for 3rd party websites and
/ or services.
Ask yourself - would you make the site live the
way it currently looks?
We know this sounds blunt, but if the site looks unprofessional,
has missing images, uses mock text instead of real content and
you yourself wouldn't want it to go live, then why would we
accept it and make a merchants' account active?
Your merchant account application will not be sent
to the bank unless the above requirements are met.
What happens if you've set up the account but I am still integrating
If you are still integrating your website, we
simply set the account to test mode and do not allow processing
until your website is ready. Once ready we set the account live
the same day.