With just 4 man-weeks of research and development we just released our first stab into e-commerce!
I began by researching what libraries were out there. Quickly there were 2 big solutions to choose from: ActiveMerchant and Amazon’s new payment service. If we used Amazon we would have to display their branding. People trust Amazon so using their branding may be positive but it would also wreck the continuity of doing a Spongecell purchase. ActiveMerchant would allow us to keep everything on our site but we would have to set up our own gateway and merchant services accounts.
ActiveMerchant is a ruby library that lets you use a few different credit card gateways. I got a some test accounts with different gateways and began to experiment with the library. I tried ActiveNet, TrustCommerce and UsaEPay. I’ve had bad experiences with PayPal so I stayed away from them. TrustCommerce was the only one I could get to work well in less than 30 minutes. TrustCommerce does require a C library which is a little bit of a downside but that library installed without headache.
The people at TrustCommerce were responsive and they had a good connection at Bank of America to get our merchant account set up. Getting all the accounts set up took about a week. We already had our federal tax id.
We began testing ActiveMerchant from inside our application with real credit cards 1 week before release was scheduled. I’m glad we did this because a lot of the return codes differed when using the real TrustCommerce account. I learned that it’s up to the credit card processor to deny the transaction if an incorrect cvv or address. That means that if you find a lost credit card on the street and a shady website then you are in business!
Now go to Spongecell and buy something!