Part 8: Payment OfferingSubmitted by Matthew Turland on Tue, 09/08/2009 - 07:39
This post is the eighth part of a series covering the feature set of the Magento PHP-based e-commerce package. In particular, it reviews the payment features. Many features in this post have a corresponding configuration area in System - Configuration - Sales - Payment Method.
Customer Store Credits Feature
This feature is only available in the Enterprise Edition of Magento. No online documentation covers this feature. The Magento User Guide book appears to, though it's difficult to judge basedly solely on the table of contents.
To manage store credit for a customer, go to Customers - Manage Customers and click the Store Credit tab on the form to add or edit a customer. The interface for this feature is fairly intuitive: a current balance is shown, that balance can be adjusted by a given amount, an e-mail is optionally sent to the customer to inform them of the change, and a history of balance modifications is shown in a grid at the bottom.
On the customer side, a corresponding Store Credit tab exists on the customer dashboard. It merely presents the current balance and offers a link to go to the Gift Card page. The admin and storefront demos for the Enteprise Edition do not appear to be the same installation (i.e. they don't share data), so it's not possible to explore the customer side of this feature further because store credit can only be managed from the admin side.
A few alternatives to the Enterprise Edition's implementation of this feature include the J2T Points & Rewards extension as well as rolling your own by following the related chapter in the php|architect Guide to Programming Magento.
Configurable to Authorize and Charge, or Authorize Only and Charge on Creation of Invoices
Some online payment gateways give you the option to either authorize and capture funds at the same time or only authorize and capture at a later time. In the latter case, Magento will capture funds when an invoice is created. The user guide covers how to do this.
To summarize, simply go to the configuration area for the payment method you're using and set Payment Action to Authorize Only. After that change is made, funds will be captured when you create an invoice for an order. This is useful if you want to delay charging for items until after they are in stock or have already been delivered.
Integrated with Amazon Payments
Checkout by Amazon and Amazon Simple Pay are both supported payment gateways. They have no documentation on the user guide or wiki, but their configuration areas can be found in the same admin area page as other payment gateways. The configuration areas themselves include related links to sign up for service or view FAQ documents.
Integrated with Multiple PayPal Gateways
Payflow Pro, Express Checkout, Website Payments Pro (Express and Direct), Website Payments Standard, and Website Payments Pro UK (Express and Direct) are all supported. Aside from Payflow Pro, signup links for service are included in the configuration area for each service, but nothing else in the way of links or explanation. See this section and subsequent sections of the user guide for more information.
Gift Certificates/Cards (Physical and Virtual)
This is another feature that is available only in the Enterprise Edition. There is a screencast available for it, though like the screencast to introduce the Enterprise Edition it is more for marketing than support. This feature also is also not documented in the user guide, as with most features specific to the Enterprise Edition.
The demo store provides a good idea of how this feature works on the storefront side. Physical gift cards can be purchased and shipping like any other tangible product to be used at a local brick-and-mortar store in the recipient's vicinity. Virtual gift cards are also available, where a link is e-mailed to the recipient who can follow it to add the gift card credit to their account in the online store.
Integrated with Authorize.net
The Authorize.net payment gateway is supported. More information on its configuration can be found in the user guide. No signup link or other documentation is included in the configuration area; it's all settings.
Integrated with Google Checkout
The user guide covers configuration for the Google Checkout payment provider. Because Google has a separate Google API section under System - Configuration for integration with services such as Google Analytics, the configuration area for Google Checkout is placed there rather than with other payment gateway configuration areas under Payment Methods.
Saved Credit Card Method for Offline Payments
Obviously, multiple payment gateways are supported by Magento that are consulted to authorize and capture funds on checkout. There's also the option of saving credit card information locally, which the user guide covers. Aside from recurring payments, there is really no advantage to this approach and it incurs a large amount of liability because of the sensitive nature of the information being stored. Nevertheless, for organizations that have that particular need, Magento supporting them is a point in its favor.
Accept Checks/Money Orders
Yes, there is a land beyond credit cards: checks and money orders. See the user guide for more information on configuring Magento to handle them. Information like who to make checks payable to and where to send them are displayed when this payment method is selected by a customer. Its availability can be restricted by country of the billing address as well as a minimum or maximum order amount.
Accept Purchase Orders
Like checks and money orders, this payment method has a user guide section and a configuration section under Payment Methods. The same available country and order amount restrictions are available. Upon selecting this as the payment method, the customer is prompted to enter a purchase order number.
Payment Extensions Available through Magento Connect
Magento Connect is similar to the Mozilla Firefox Adddons site in that it hosts downloadable Magento extensions and provides a searchable categorized directory of them. Roughly 200 payment gateway extensions are available at the time of this writing. My only gripe with this feature is that the Magento Connect web site makes it difficult to link to a particular set of search results very easily.
The level of support for various payment gateways and other payment methods is impressive, as is the level of flexibility offered by the Enterprise Edition features. Online documentation remains scant for the latter, though at least configuration for the former is covered in the user guide.