Your first priority, whether you manage an online marketplace, a physical store, or both, is to please customers and make sales. You’ll likely lose clients or, at the very least, slow down business if you don’t provide a seamless checkout experience.
We’ll go through what a payment gateway is, how it may help your business, what to look for when picking a solution, and five of the most secure payment gateways.
Overview: What is a payment gateway?
Payment gateways enable businesses to accept payments via the internet. They transfer money from your clients’ accounts to your payment site in a secure manner. Your payment gateway enables secure transactions by encrypting data provided by your consumers, such as credit card and bank account numbers.
Point-of-sale (POS) systems, POS terminals, and other POS hardware are also utilized with payment gateways in physical establishments.
Payment gateway vs. payment processor: What’s the difference?
For online transactions, payment gateways and payment processors are both required. Payment gateways accept or refuse transactions between your online business and your customers, while payment processors process payments.
In a nutshell, payment gateways are virtual point-of-sale software solutions for your e-commerce company, whereas payment processors serve as a middleman between your payment gateway and the merchant bank.
What to consider before choosing a payment gateway
Before you choose your secure payment gateway, there are a few important factors to consider. While it’s all too tempting to go with the lowest alternative, this can lead to you picking a tool that isn’t the best fit for your company.
When choosing a payment gateway, keep the following costs in mind:
Setup expenses for payment gateways
Gateway fees are paid once a month.
Processing fees at the gateway
Fees for PCI compliance
All of the above fees are not charged by all payment gateway providers. If you receive your gateway through them, for example, some merchant account providers include the setup expenses. Before deciding on a payment gateway, consider the size of your company and the number of customers you have.
A frustrating checkout experience is the worst thing that can happen to a customer. Your clients will be more inclined to make repeat purchases if you use the correct payment gateway, which will deliver a positive experience as well as safe payment choices.
Before making a final decision, always get a demonstration or walkthrough of how the payment gateway works.
Examine the customer support options for each payment gateway. Is there a variety of ways to contact customer care (phone, email, help ticket, knowledge base)? Is customer service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Think about your business strategy and your customers to figure out what kind of customer service you’ll need.
Payment gateway setups
The payment gateway you select will be largely determined by whether or not you have previously chosen a merchant account and, if so, which alternatives are compatible with it.
In general, there are three ways to set up a payment gateway:
Choosing a merchant account provider that has its own payment gateway is a good idea.
Using a payment service provider that has a payment gateway built-in
Choosing a single payment gateway instead of a merchant account provider that includes a payment gateway
The top 5 payment gateways for secure transactions
While most payment gateways have similar essential functionality, they differ in terms of pricing, contracts, and customer service.
Let’s take a look at five of the most effective payment gateways we’ve found.
PayPal is one of the most well-known and dependable payment services available. PayPal’s Payflow payment gateway, which is automatically incorporated in its online processing capabilities, is available for processing payments. Businesses that currently have a credit card processing provider can use it as a stand-alone payment gateway.
Users do not need to sign a contract to utilize Payflow. Payflow also works with practically every payment processor and interacts with the major shopping carts.
You can accept payments in 25 different currencies if you sell to customers from other countries. PCI compliance is also ensured by the payment gateway.
Payflow, on the other hand, locks in your customers’ payment information, so you won’t be able to migrate your customer data to a new gateway if you switch providers. If you run a subscription-based business, this could be a problem because you wouldn’t be able to bill your customers without re-requesting their information.
PayFlow comes with two pricing options.
Payflow Link has no monthly fees or setup fees. Per transaction, users are charged $0.10. Users have access to a hosted payment gateway with a variety of payment alternatives.
Payflow Pro costs $99 to start up, $25 per month for the gateway, and $0.10 per transaction. A fully configurable payment gateway is available to users.
Stripe Connect is the company’s own payment gateway. Stripe’s core product is designed for companies with a developer or team of developers, and it’s a considerably more complex system than your typical payment platform.
Stripe Connect is a payment integration integrated within Stripe’s original platform. There are no additional gateway setup fees, monthly gateway fees, or transaction processing fees as a result of this.
Stripe charges 2.9 percent + $0.30 every transaction for credit card transactions.
Stripe offers a variety of different payment options in addition to all major credit cards and ACH payments, including:
Apple Pay is a service that allows you to pay
Google Pay is a service that allows you to pay
Klarna \sBacs Direct Deposit (DD)
Square is a free point-of-sale system that also serves as a payment gateway. It also has a free web store powered by Weebly that connects to Square payments automatically, however Square is not available as a separate payment gateway.
Square charges a fixed rate of 2.9 percent + $0.30 per transaction for online transactions, with no startup, monthly, or PCI-compliance fees.
Square, on the other hand, does not take ACH payments and could strengthen its customer service choices. Square’s live customer care is now only available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT. If a company has a difficulty on the weekend or outside of specified hours, this is a significant disadvantage.
Authorize.net is a payment gateway that has been operating for quite a while, dating back to 1996. It’s a dependable and popular solution with few drawbacks. The one major problem is that, like PayPal’s Payflow, Authorize.net locks in your customers’ payment information, preventing you from migrating your customer data to a new gateway if you decide to change providers.
Authorize.net is a payment gateway service, not a merchant account provider. The majority of digital payment options, as well as all major credit and debit cards, are accepted. Card-not-present fraud is also avoided with its Advanced Fraud Detection Suite.
Authorize.net is a wonderful option if you have a lot of overseas customers. If your company is headquartered in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, or Australia, the gateway accepts transactions from practically every country.
Authorize.net is a comprehensive solution with a lot of gateway experience. It is, however, on the more expensive side of payment gateways.
Here’s an overview of the costs:
Users must pay a $49 startup cost and a $25 monthly gateway fee when signing up directly with Authorize.net.
You’ll pay an extra $0.10 per transaction if you already have a merchant account (Authorize.net can set you up with a third-party merchant account).
Only the gateway is available for $35 per month and $0.30 per transaction.
Braintree is a payment processor that focuses in e-commerce. You get both a payment gateway and a merchant account when you sign up for a Braintree account. PayPal purchased the solution in 2013, placing it in extremely good company.
Braintree, like other payment gateways, accepts all major credit cards, as well as a variety of digital payment options and ACH payments. For subscription-based enterprises, it also facilitates recurring billing.
Braintree’s only fees are its transaction fees, which are 2.9 percent + $0.30 per transaction. Aside from that, no setup, monthly, PCI-compliance, or gateway costs are charged. You will also not be bound by a contract.
Braintree also offers a sandbox account, which allows customers to test the product before committing to a merchant account.
Delight online customers at checkout
Because there are so many payment gateway choices available to businesses these days, it’s even more vital to do your homework before jumping in. Consider your business model, such as if you sell only online or in a physical location, and whether the gateway can handle all of the processes you require.
Product demos are a company’s best friend, and it’s even better if you can get a sandbox account to test the product before putting your money on the line.