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Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some questions that we receive on a regular basis from potential and existing customers regarding our Secure Hosting and Payments online card processing service. If you don’t see your question answered here then please don’t hesitate to contact us!

What is a transaction credit?

In simple terms, a credit represents a single, successful transaction, or a refund.
Failed transactions do not incur a credit, except in a specific scenario where 3D Secure is used.

What do I need to trade online?

To start accepting card payments online through your web site, you will need the following :-

  • 1. A merchant account with one of the banks listed below.
  • 2. An online payment gateway (that’s the part we supply).
  • 3. A web site, with a shopping cart system or a simple payment form.

Which banks can you work with?

We can work with any business that has a merchant account with any one of the following UK banks:

  • WorldPay (aka Streamline)
  • Barclaycard Merchant Acceptance
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds TSB Cardnet
  • Omnipay
  • First Data Merchant Solutions (formerly (Halifax) Bank of Scotland)
  • American Express
  • Diners Club
  • Elavon
  • CashFlows
  • Valitor
  • Ulster Bank
  • AIB

Do you provide merchant accounts?

We don’t provide merchant accounts directly, however we can assist you in obtaining a merchant
account from any of the banks listed above, and even have preferential rates available. Please
telephone for general information and pricing for merchant accounts.

What’s an eCOM Account?

If you don’t already have a Secure Hosting and Payments eCOM account, you will need to open one; to do
this please go here. The eCOM account is available on free trial for 14 days, but this period can be
extended if you require more time for testing. When integrated, your eCOM trial account allows you to
test the integration between your system and our secure platform, process test transactions, design
payment pages, view reporting and other management tools. Please note, that whilst on your free trial,
your account will not perform live credit card processing. Once your merchant number is ready to go live,
we will contact you and ask if you wish to switch your eCOM account to live online processing.

Do you have an API allowing direct integration?

Yes. We have two versions of the API to allow you to create a more advanced integration with the Secure Hosting and Payments system. Our API allows you to integrate your own shopping cart system, and the XML version of our API allows you to keep the cardholder within your own web site, so they would never need to be transferred to our server to complete the payment. With the XML API you can also specify whether a payment should be flagged as Internet or Mail Order Telephone Order (useful for call centres), and perform refunds and other tasks without having to log in to your Secure Hosting and Payments account. Please contact us for details of the API.

Do you have 3D Secure (VbV and MasterCard SecureCode)?

Yes. 3D Secure is available as an option, at no extra charge. The setup process and associated
timescales for 3D Secure vary from bank to bank. If you require 3D Secure then please contact
sales to be sent the relevant instructions. You can only start the process of registering for
3D Secure if you have a live merchant number for internet transactions.

Are your systems PCI accredited?

Yes, all systems used by Secure Hosting and Payments and its payment gateway Secure Hosting and Payments for the processing
& storage of card information are audited and validated by Qualified Security Assessors to the highest
possible standard available under the PCI:DSS scheme.

View our PCI certificate here.

How long does it take to set up?

Once we have received your completed application, we will contact you and outline the next steps and
associated timescales, providing your merchant number has been set up correctly by your bank to work with
our Secure Hosting and Payments payment gateway, then the setup process takes less than a week to go live. However, if we need
to request a new Internet merchant number from your bank the exact timescales are largely determined by your bank.

Can I process manual payments?

Yes you can process manual payments through the ‘Virtual Terminal’ feature located within your Secure Hosting and Payments Secure Hosting and Payments account admin area.

If you don’t have a web site and only process manual payments, then you would just need our Virtual Terminal only account.

Can I review transactions before processing them for payment?

Yes you don’t have to debit the customer’s card immediately. You can perform a ‘pre-auth’ at the point of
the transaction, which merely does an initial authorisation on the card including checks on the CV2 number
(3 digit security number) and cardholder address. You then have up to 28 days in which to complete the transaction.
To do this, simply log in to your Secure Hosting and Payments admin area, select the transaction from a list,
and click a button to pass the transaction for settlement. You can modify the original transaction amount, up or down,
although we recommend that you change the amount by no more than 10% either way due to bank processes.
You can also part settle the payment multiple times. The pre-auth feature is particularly useful for
merchants who like to review orders for fraud reasons, or where an item may be out of stock.

Can I bill an extra amount to a card after the original transaction?

Yes. Even after a transaction has been settled for payment, you can go back to it and add a new amount,
for example if the customer wants to add something to their order. Please note that as the CV2 number
is not kept under PCI regulations, you need to obtain the CV2 number again from the customer.

How do I process refunds?

Processing a refund is simple  just log in to your Secure Hosting and Payments account admin area,
select a payment to refund, select the amount and refund it!

Do you have a reseller package?

Yes, we are very keen to work with resellers, whether you are a web design company, a software
developer or any other business that can benefit from partnering with us. We are very focused
on resellers and can provide a variety of partner solutions, including a unique revenue share
scheme and for large scale partnerships can even provide you with your own white label own-brand
payment gateway service.

Please click here for details on benefits to resellers.

Why choose Secure Hosting and Payments over other PSPs?

Designed for flexibility

The Secure Hosting and Payments system is more ‘merchant friendly’ than any other available.
We allow you total freedom over the look and feel of all customer facing pages so that you can
achieve a consistent look across your web site and checkout pages. We have ready made integration
instructions with many popular shopping carts and for those merchants requiring a more sophisticated
integration, we offer an XML API allowing integration with your own custom built storefront, at no extra charge.

Our online payment system offers you a level of flexibility that is unmatched by any other service.
It has been designed foremost to address the often complex needs of the online retailer.
Our pre-auth and additional billing features are the most comprehensive available, allowing you to
handle virtually any kind of payment scenario.

Unique pricing model

Our transaction pricing allows a great deal of flexibility – you only pay for the amount of transactions
that you need. As our transaction credits have no expiry date on them you can benefit from a low per
transaction charge and use them up over a long period of time.

Preferential merchant account rates

We have pre-arranged rates with a major UK bank, allowing us to provide you with a complete package
for your card processing requirements.

What is the difference between bank account and merchant account?

A business bank account is a standard account which you can pay money into and withdraw money from. A merchant account however is a facility that the bank provides you with so that you can take credit and debit card payments from your customers, and this is usually subject to some extra checks on your business before it is issued. Once in place, your bank will provide you with a merchant number, and this is what we need to put you live on our systems.

Why do we need to pay you and the bank?

In order to take payments over the internet you must have two things.

  • 1) A merchant account

    This is a financial contract that you will need with a merchant acquiring bank and which provides you with the facility to accept credit and debit card payments. Your bank will charge you directly for this service, in the form of a setup fee, and a merchant service charge representing a % of your credit card transactions.

  • 2) A payment gateway (or payment service provider)

    This is what we provide you with. A payment gateway connects your main web site to your merchant acquiring bank over the Internet.
    We provide an area on a secure server to host your payment forms (or an XML API for direct integration) and will forward the
    transaction payment data in real-time to your merchant acquiring bank for authorisation. If your bank authorises the transaction the payment gateway will return a confirmation page back to your customer and send you notification of the successful order.

    You need a payment gateway in addition to your merchant account, as the merchant account itself is useless without one, being in itself
    only a financial contract. Some banks confuse the issue by offering their own payment gateways as an optional extra with their merchant accounts – beware however as the banks will charge you a hefty premium for this, typically an extra 2% on each card transaction. You are under no obligation to use the bank’s payment gateway, and you will save a great deal of money by using an independent one such as our Secure Hosting and Payments payment gateway service.

    You will find our charges comparable against any other payment processing system available in the UK, in most cases we are one of the cheapest as we charge a fixed rate per transaction rather than a monthly management fee for a set number of transactions or an additional percentage to the one you already pay directly to your bank.

Do I need to have a merchant account with the same bank as my main business account?

No! You can obtain a merchant account with a different bank from the one that holds your main bank accounts.
This allows you to shop around for the best deal on a merchant account. If you don’t currently have a merchant account, we can advise you of our negotiated preferential merchant account rates. All you need to do is complete our Secure Hosting and Payments online card processing application form and we will do the rest!

Which merchant account acquiring banks does Secure Hosting and Payments work with?

We can work with any business that has a merchant account with any one of the following banks:

  • WorldPay (aka Streamline)
  • Barclaycard Merchant Acceptance
  • HSBC
  • Lloyds TSB Cardnet
  • Omnipay
  • First Data Merchant Solutions (formerly (Halifax) Bank of Scotland)
  • American Express
  • Diners Club
  • Elavon
  • CashFlows
  • Valitor
  • Ulster Bank
  • AIB

What does Secure Hosting and Payments stand for?

Secure Hosting and Payments stands for Universal Payment Gateway. This is the name of our payment gateway and is the name the banks use to refer to our online payment service.

Can we go live while we are on free trial?

You can only switch your eCOM account to live card processing once it has been paid for. However, you have a free trial period in order to perform all your integration and testing. If you require more than the default 2 week trial period then we can extend this for you.

How can I upgrade from Lite to the other packages – will it be a long process?

It is very simple and the cost to Secure Hosting and Payments trade would be the pro rata price difference for the amount of unused months on your current annual contract, plus a one-off Secure Hosting and Payments trade fee of £25 + VAT. You keep the same account and all your existing settings will be unchanged. The Secure Hosting and Payments trade can be done very quickly.
Please contact sales to arrange an Secure Hosting and Payments trade on 0845 269 6645.

How are transaction credits charged with pre-auth?

The initial pre-auth transaction uses a credit, but the first subsequent transaction settlement is free provided it is settled within 3 banking days, and provided the transaction amount is unchanged. Any additional settlements will use a credit.

How are credits charged with 3D Secure?

Standard 3D Secure checks will not incur extra credits. The exception to this is outlined below.

Will we be charged for failed transactions?

No, if the transaction fails when presented for standard authorisation then you will not be charged a credit.
The only exception to this is where a cardholder successfully enrols/authenticates for 3D Secure but subsequent payment authorisation fails. This should, however, be a fairly rare occurrence.

Will you charge any more for Amex?

No, there are no extra charges from us for this. You will however need to contact Amex to obtain an Internet merchant number
for Amex, and then inform us of this number before we can put it live for your Secure Hosting and Payments account.

Can we still use our terminal machine if we set up an internet merchant no?

Yes you can, as your Internet payments are processed via a different merchant number from the ones processed via your manual terminal.
However, you may not need your terminal as our Secure Hosting and Payments online card processing service provides you with a ‘Virtual Terminal’ for placing manual transactions.

Are CV2 and AVS checks included?

Yes, these are included for no extra charge. CV2 is the card security code on the reverse of the card and AVS is a cardholder address verification.
The actual checks are performed by your merchant acquiring bank, not by us, so we are not responsible for the validity of the information.
There are situations where CV2 and AVS checks cannot be performed by your bank. The results are presented to you on an ‘information only’ basis, however we can set your account to reject transactions based on a combination of outcomes of these checks.

Can I process card payments taken over the phone?

Yes, telephone payments can be entered into the “Virtual Terminal” included free of charge with all Secure Hosting and Payments eCOM accounts.

Can I process manual payments through my website even if 3D Secure is enabled?

Yes, we have a unique feature that allows you to enter a telephone card payment manually through your own website and bypass the 3D Secure checks.

How long before I receive funds to my bank account?

The actual amount of time it takes for the monies to hit your bank account are purely down to the agreement you have in place with your
merchant acquiring bank. Our Secure Hosting and Payments service sends your transactions to your bank for authorisation in real-time and submits settlement files as per the bank’s requirements.
The bank determines how much time you must wait to receive the funds, and this should be clearly stated within your merchant account agreement supplied by your bank.

Does Secure Hosting and Payments handle the actual money from my payments?

No! It is important for us to make the distinction between your merchant acquiring bank and us. We act as a payment gateway, transmitting data
securely between your web site and your acquiring bank. We never have access to the actual funds from your transactions, only your merchant acquiring bank has this.
Merchants often get confused on this issue, as they think of us as being like PayPal or WorldPay. We are quite different from PayPal and WorldPay as, unlike them, we never touch your actual funds.

Can I have email notifications to more than one email address?

Yes you can – to do this log in to your Secure Hosting and Payments account and choose the option “company details” in your account settings, then
just enter the email addresses separated by a comma but no spaces. There is no limit to how many addresses you can add.

Do you offer multi-currency processing?

Yes, our Secure Hosting and Payments online card processing service offers processing in all major currencies, however please check with sales for details as some banks won’t support this and there may be certain minimum trading limits imposed by some banks.

If I set up a Euro merchant account will I receive the money in Euros?

No – the funds will be settled to your bank account in Sterling.

Do I have access to details of any failed transactions?

Yes, we provide reporting on transactions that fail any validation or bank authorisation, enabling you to review them and contact the customer where appropriate.

Can I see how the secure pages would look?

We allow you total design flexibility over your pages, therefore there is no “standard look” to show you! Your secure checkout pages can be tailored to match the design of your main web site.

How long has Secure Hosting and Payments been trading?

The company has been trading since 1998, which is a long time in the Internet industry!

Can I arrange a meeting with someone from Secure Hosting and Payments?

Yes, we would be delighted to discuss any queries you may have. We can either come out to visit you, or you are welcome to visit us at either of our offices in Tamworth, Staffordshire.