Website Compliance Requirements: Steps to a Smooth Process
Running an online business and selling products or services online comes with some inevitable paperwork. The compliance process may take a few weeks, but when you prepare for it wisely, you can shorten it and avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Online business owners need to ensure that their websites comply with banks’ or payment processors’ regulations. It’s better to make all the changes needed before the entire process start to make it go quickly and smoothly.
In this article, we will discuss a few must-haves you should include on your page.
Transparent Terms and Conditions
The terms and conditions agreement is not only for customers but also highly important for protecting your business by making sure customers know their rights and responsibilities.
Here is what you should include in your terms and conditions.
Customer Rights and Responsibilities
- Payment and pricing details with all taxes or extra fees included and the list of payment methods accepted on your website. You can also add information about how late or missed payments will be handled or what will be done in the case of payment disputes.
- A refund policy. The point is to make it as clear as possible for users so they know what to do with items bought on your website in specific situations (even if there are only limited or no possibilities). In the EU, merchants have to replace, repair, or issue a refund if the products or services are not as described or don’t work properly.
- An opt-out policy to make it clear that customers can resign from your services. They can cancel or return the ordered product or service within 14 days for any reason and without any consequences.
Delivery and Shipping
In the case of shipping physical goods, include a clear statement of the delivery time frame.
Dispute Resolution Details and the Website’s Legal Liability
It’s better to include this information in your terms and conditions agreement to make it easy to resolve situations where a customer is not satisfied and asks for compensation.
Remember that your terms and conditions should follow consumer laws and cover things like the right to receive a refund. Of course, consumer laws apply even when you don’t put them in the terms and conditions on your website, but you can, for instance, limit your liability.
Moreover, keep on your website confidentiality obligation that the contracting party ensures the confidential handling of all customer data, and what merchant does to ensure data security (eg. SSL encryption).
Important for Financial Services:
You should always keep the AML / CFT Policy accessible for the users.
Imprint on Your Website
Putting contact information on your site is mandatory, so you need to include full contact details, such as:
- company name,
- physical address,
- email address and/or phone number.
Include this information in your terms and conditions, footer and contact us areas to make it easy to resolve situations where a customer is not satisfied and asks for compensation.
Note that in the country included in the section with location should be your principal place of business (usually, it’s the company’s headquarter).
You can also include the information about available for after-sales services or VAT details.
Website/URL is operated by Company’s name with the registered address, under the laws of Country, which has an agreement with xxx N.V for its license. XXX, registration Number is XXX and its registered address is at XXX.
Clear Product Descriptions
The content on your website needs to be updated and consistent. You have to especially be sure that each product or service you sell comes with a clear and understandable description that is not misleading.
Checkout Process on Your Page
If you want to sell online, you need to put a payment gateway in place. When your page is undergoing the compliance process, the bank rep will check how the payment flows from the customer perspective.
What if you’re just at the start and don’t have a payment solution on your page yet? You can add payments in test mode to make it possible to check the process.
Note that e-commerce merchants need to provide the checkout screen with the final transaction amount, or showing the sequence of the pages that the cardholder sees during the checkout process.
Also, note that the checkout page should always be encrypted via an HTTPS connection. The payment page should include clear information about pricing with all taxes or extra fees included, as well as all payment details.
You should also display logos of card brands to keep users informed about what payment methods are accepted on your website, and put on your site a recurring disclosure (if needed).
Speaking of recurring payments, you need to be sure that your customers know all the recurring transaction details, such as:
- The amount of the recurring transaction
- The information whether the amount is fixed or variable
- The date of the recurring transaction, plus the information whether the date is fixed or variable
- Clear information for a cardholder about the communication method
What’s more, don’t forget about providing a descriptor to make it easy to identify the purchase, with the name that will be recognizable for your customers. Unequivocal transaction identifier must be assigned to every transaction for reference in case of conflicts or issues.
And last but not least, is your business GDPR-compliant? The GDPR (The General Data Protection regulation), a new privacy law introduced by the European Union that includes new rules for businesses on how to manage personal data. According to the regulations, merchants should follow good practices to stay compliant to the EU rules. Read more about GDPR recommendations for merchants in this blog post.
Make the Compliance Process Less Painful
To sum up, before you start the compliance process, make sure your website includes:
- An imprint including the company name, physical business address, and telephone number or email address.
- Credit card logos on the payment page.
- Updated content on a finished and fully functional website.
- Clear and transparent pricing.
- A payment gateway implemented on the website (if you are just starting, it can be a payment solution in test mode).
- A clear information and details regarding recurring payments.
- Elements on a checkout page relevant to the GDPR recommendations.
In general, your website needs to be in up and running condition. You can also think about including an FAQ page that summarizes all the information needed, but it’s not required.
The whole process could be time-consuming, but when you take the proper steps, it will definitely be less painful.
Still have a question? Contact our Support Team. We’re happy to help!
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