Today’s modern pace of life has driven more customers to make their purchases online. Even now, with the current pandemic, cautious customers concerned for their health and safety have also taken to online shopping, many for the first time.
Due to the pandemic and subsequent closures of brick and mortar businesses, some have had to pivot their businesses to offer their products online. This positions them to increase sales and reach more customers.
However, before a business can launch their online venture, they must ensure that they incorporate a key feature in their business: a payment gateway.
What Is A Payment Gateway?
A payment gateway is essentially a service provider that approves payments. Furthermore, it is a software application that connects a website with a bank. This empowers customers to pay the merchant instantly, conveniently from their home. Payment gateways can be used by e-Commerce stores and non-profits who collect their donations online. Some of the most popular and well-known payment gateways include PayPal, Stripe, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, and even “direct” Mastercard and Visa payments.
How Do Payment Gateways Work?
The way payment gateways work is pretty straightforward. Here is the breakdown of each step:
- First a customer makes a purchase either over the phone or on a website.
- Next the payment information is sent securely through the payment gateway.
- After this, the merchant account processes the payment information.
- Once the payment has been successfully processed or denied, the customer will be notified.
- The final step is that money is settled to the merchant once the processing fees have been withdrawn.
How Can You Get A Payment Gateway?
Getting started with choosing a payment gateway requires some research. Here are 5 points to consider when shopping around for the best payment gateway for your online business:
- Easy to integrate. Ensure you choose a payment gateway that has easy and clear instructions on how to integrate. Ideally, it is best to choose a gateway that will not interfere with your website’s user experience, such as slowing down the payment process.
- Determine the fees – When it comes to selecting a payment gateway, be aware that you will encounter at least three different fees: transaction, monthly, and setup fees.
- Multiple currencies – If you have international customers, your provider must be able to support this customer base.
- Recurring billing capability – If you are a business that offers monthly payment plans, this feature is essential.
- Mobile payments – more customers are making their purchases over the phone and it’s a growing demographic that should not be ignored.
Integrating Your Payment Gateway
When it comes to the actual integration of your payment gateway, it is best to seek the expertise from an experienced developer. However, before you even pursue this step, you must consult with your website hosting provider to determine which “payment integration system” they support on their hosted website.
Once that is done, you can proceed with integrating the payment gateway and testing the final outcome. Again, for this step a developer will be instrumental as this requires significant technical coding expertise. Most reputable service providers do offer “documentation” necessary to fully integrate the payment gateway.
Position Your Business For Success
Selecting the best payment gateway for your business is a critical decision that can move your business forward and reach more customers, or it can completely thwart your efforts. The key to selecting the best payment gateway is determine what is the best way that your business can be supported to ensure customers have a seamless and secure payment experience.