If you own an e-Commerce store, it is more important than ever to offer your customers a secure, convenient, and seamless payment system at checkout.
In order for your business to accept electronic payments, processing both debit and credit cards, you will need a payment gateway.
A Payment Gateway Defined
A payment gateway is a specific service that approves and processes payments both in online and brick-and-mortar stores. It acts as a “portal” enabling a transaction flow between customers and merchants. In order to protect sensitive card information, it utilizes encryption and other security protocols. The data is gathered from a website, application, or mobile device and then transferred to banks/processors and back.
How Does It Work?
When it comes to discovering how payment gateways actually work, let’s take a look at the numerous steps it takes to complete its process:
- A customer clicks on the “pay” button on a website’s shopping cart.
- Then the customer must fill in all their personal/financial details.
- This information is then transferred securely into the payment gateway.
- Cyber guards are used to protecting all data from fraud. It ensures that all information will be delivered to the “targeted bank.”
- Once card verification is received, the gateway requests that the customer’s bank launch the transaction.
- Finally, the bank pays the merchant’s bank and deposits the funds into that account.
Four Methods Of Payment Gateway Integration
The payment system consists of the payment gateway and the method integration. There are essentially four ways that a payment gateway can be integrated into an e-Commerce website: hosted, self-hosted, API or non-hosted methods, and local bank integration. Let’s take a look at each one:
- Hosted payment gateways
A hosted payment gateway is more of a third-party solution. It essentially redirects the customers of your website onto a payment gateway page in order to complete the transaction. It’s on this payment gateway page that the customer types in their credit card information. Once the transaction information is sent, the customer is then redirected back to the merchant’s website. Here is where the transaction is completed and the transaction approval is displayed.
In this type of gateway, all customer payment information is collected within the merchant’s website. When all information has been gathered, it is transferred to the payment gateway’s URL.
- API or non-hosted methods
With a non-hosted payment gateway, it enables the completion of payments directly on an e-Commerce website with the use of APIs (Application Programming Interface). By using this particular integration method, merchants have access to manage the interface of the checkout page from start to finish.
- Local bank integration
When using this type of integration, merchants can shift money to a local bank used by the customer. After the initiation of a payment, the customer is taken to a landing page, indicating the success of the money transfer.
How To Integrate A Payment Gateway
If you are considering employing a hosted solution for your website, you could look at “out of the box” solutions that already have plugins out on the market. All it takes is entering a piece of code and adding the new payment method to your existing list.
When it comes to integration with an API, you will need an e-Commerce programmer as well as a web designer. However, this method would be best suited for medium to larger businesses. This is especially the case if branding plays a major role.
Choosing The Best Payment Gateway Provider
When it comes to determining which payment gateway provider would be best suited for your business, consider the following elements:
Depending on the payment solution provider, be prepared for the following fees:
- Monthly gateway fee
- Gateway set up a fee
- Merchant account set up
- Fees for every transaction processed
- Transaction limits
One deciding factor that may have you looking at alternative options is a provider’s transaction limits. There are payment gateway providers that set transaction limits as a minimum and maximum amount. Some may even have daily or monthly transaction limits. This should definitely be considered before you choose a provider.
- Merchant account options
You can open a merchant account via a bank or payment gateway provider that offers merchant accounts as part of their package. It is best to choose a provider that offers a merchant account from the beginning.
- Supports essential payment methods
Ensure that your payment gateway provider accepts all credit card networks. Another critical requirement is multi-currency support. If you serve international clients, you want your customers to have the capacity to pay, regardless of the currency they use.
Depending on the gateway provider, they offer multi-currency support processing either with or without additional fees.
Choose The Best Payment Gateway For Your Business
Choices abound for payment gateway providers. As a business, it is critical that you choose the payment gateway that provides your customers with the best checkout experience.
The payment gateway you choose will determine the payment methods you offer, the currencies you accept, and how fast money can enter your merchant account. Take the time to choose wisely.