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Of Web Shops And Clicking

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With the influx of modern technology into our lives, more services are made easier. New gadgets, tools, and modes of transportation make essential human functions like communication and transportation a breeze. Of these developments, none has made as much impact as the Internet. Communication, access to government service, and even business transactions are made possible through its use. And with the rise of internet merchants and online payment processors, the most basic human function of consumerist ethos (a.k.a. shopping) is clicks away.

What are internet merchants and online payment processors? Internet merchants are simply business people who sell their products or services through the internet. Internet merchant sites function as virtual shops wherein online shoppers can browse through pages of products or catalogs. These sites usually feature the prices of each service or product, sales promos, virtual shopping carts, and most importantly, several payment schemes. These payment schemes are modes of online payment processors. Online payment processors are institutions who offer companies or businesses a system to accept and process debit and credit cards minus the hassle of dealing with the different banks or issuers directly. They basically work as a middle-man between the card holder and the `Net merchants. The merchants pass credit card details to the processing website, or the merchant page could jump directly to the processor's site. The processors then validate the card details and account. After validation, card details are sent back through `Net merchants' page for confirmation or rejection. If confirmed, the purchase is done and the shopper only needs to wait for the delivery.

Despite the efficiency of internet merchants and online payment processors, the pros and cons still needs to be clarified. Customer convenience, added sales channels, automated authorization, and a streamlined payment system count as the advantages of availing the services of internet merchants and online payment processors. However, there are still risks in using the system. Charge or fees for online purchases are usually higher. Security risks are also issues. Unless you are sure of the security measures provided by the merchant and processing sites, this risk is real. Sensitive information like account information can be hacked into, altered, or stolen.

To avoid or minimize these risks and to fully enjoy the services of internet merchants and online payment processors, vigilance and information is key. Read the fine print on the account and conditions set by the `Net merchants. You may miss other conditions or extra charges if you just read the top half or click the Agree button. It'll also help to check the integrity or status of the processing site the `Net merchant uses. After all, it's your money that's at risk. If you're finally sure then, click on and enjoy shopping. A reminder though, you may need to exercise serious self-control.

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