Offering multiple alternatives to your customers is one of the best ways to increase the chances of generating a conversion. Choosing the wrong payment gateway can lead to lost sales, as not all of them can accommodate customers’ needs in terms of accepted currencies, security, or affordable fees.
Integrating payment options that add value to the shopping experience is essential for e-commerce. A satisfied customer is a customer who finds the payment method that best suits their needs.
If a user is not familiar with a payment method, they are likely to abandon the cart before completing their transaction. Therefore, the key to any payment method is trust, simplicity and clarity. The user must be convinced that his money is safe.
A large volume of transactions is processed daily through the payment gateways. Most ecommerce platforms integrate gateways that provide an immediate, easy and secure payment experience.
In addition to these factors, other advantages offered by payment gateway are the increase in the conversion rate and the best results in customer loyalty.
Although they may seem very similar, there are differences between one payment gateway and another.
Since we are talking about the success of your business, it is necessary to think carefully when choosing a payment processor for your marketplace.
What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is a service with which payments are authorized in ecommerce. In the absence of a Virtual POS (Point of Sale), a payment gateway is required if you wish to charge for a product or service sold in an online store.
Merchants cannot afford to ignore that payment gateways are currently the payment method implemented by all digital businesses. Its main function is to make it easy for customers to make payments online.
The world of the internet has been an important step forward for merchants. There are many companies that have been able to expand their activity thanks to online sales. In fact, many of them are created to only have an online presence, something that a few years ago was practically unthinkable.
How does a payment gateway work?
A payment gateway is part of that “magic” that occurs in the background payment gateway when a credit or debit card transaction is made. The gateway is responsible for sending information securely between the website and the credit card network for processing, and then returning the transaction details from the payment network to the website. For this reason, the payment gateway is an essential component that allows ecommerce to work.
If you have a website and are interested in accepting credit card payments, either online or through a mobile device, you will need a payment gateway. Consider it as the bridge between the sales of your products and your customers.
Aspects to consider before choosing your payment gateway
A payment gateway is nothing more than a form of payment with which payments from your customers are processed and authorized. For the sale of a product or service, the gateways facilitate the receipt of money quickly and safely.
In this way, the objective is to find the portal that best suits the needs of your business.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a payment gateway for your ecommerce platform.
Payment integration and ease of use
In the search process, the first thing to do is collect information about the gateway, the documentation, etc. That is why it is very important to know if plugins or extensions are needed to successfully integrate the gateway.
There are cases in which it is necessary to install some type of software, so it is necessary to know the technical requirements of your hosting package or the technology used in your website.
Generally, the integration of a gateway is easier with the services of a web developer. The knowledge and experience of a professional with this profile can greatly facilitate the process.
There is no point in choosing a payment gateway that you cannot integrate into your business. And once you have chosen a payment gateway, the ideal is to be able to integrate it in the shortest possible time.
If you decide to hire a virtual POS, you will also need the bank’s acceptance to be able to contact the provider. It is important to note that the virtual POS is one of the payment options with which customers are most familiar. The fact that it is backed by a bank makes it more reliable. Although payment gateway the initial steps for the integration of a virtual POS may seem a bit complicated, it is worth hiring it for an ecommerce.
With the exception of POS, for the rest of the cases the requirements to achieve a successful integration are much easier. As already mentioned, the best option is to choose a gateway that can be easily integrated.
Furthermore, online businesses cannot afford to ignore the fact that purchases made through mobile phones are continuously growing. The latest annual ecommerce study by IAB Spain highlights that in Spain alone, 40% of users make their purchases online through their mobile. Therefore, it is a good idea to choose a gateway that accepts payments from mobile devices.
The first thing you will probably think about when choosing a payment gateway is: How much will it cost me? A useful tool that can give you a quick answer is the Payment Brain price comparator, which is specialized in the payment gateway sector.
In the integration process, costs may vary. It all depends on your ecommerce platform, its flexibility and its ability to adapt. The number of specialists needed to complete the integration depends on the difficulty of the process itself.
Some ecommerce companies decide to use non-specialized support in order to reduce costs. However, sometimes it is better to hire qualified professionals and avoid unnecessary risks.
In some cases, to keep the payment gateway active (“maintenance cost”), a monthly fee must be paid. However, transaction costs tend to vary depending on the gateway and the volume of sales they process.
Some of the payment gateways with the most competitive collection fees are Stripe or Braintree.
The first charges 1.4% + €0.25 for each successful transaction. However, for non-European cards the commission is 2.9%. For returns the collection fee is a little over €15.
As for Braintree, they charge fees of 1.9% + €0.30 for European cards and 2.9% + €0.30 for non-European cards per transaction and €15 for returns.
If you choose a virtual POS, you should know that the transaction costs vary depending on the conditions established by the bank. In general, these fees are around 1%.
Direct payment management
A simple and easy-to-use payment method improves the positive evaluation of your business by the user. In this context, the advantages offered by APIs are of vital importance.
APIs (Application Programming Interface) are one of the tools that allow you to make a difference in the relationship you establish with your customers today. With them, services and data can be connected in the interaction process, services can be improved and consumer interests and habits can be anticipated.
- When choosing a payment gateway, it is important to know the strengths and advantages offered by the API (or several of them) with which it works. Knowing these details would imply knowing in advance the scope of your business.
A complete API guarantees advanced payment control, better data management and better brand positioning against the competition. By knowing your client, you will not only be able to offer better services, but you will also be able to add more value to the interaction by offering new possibilities.
- Among the most common alternatives are APIs that allow payments to be made on the merchant’s own website. In this way, the customer does not have to be directed to external web pages or add steps to the payment process.
- Although the use of mobile phones is unstoppable, in ecommerce, sometimes the user experience with these devices is not the best. A possible solution to better adapt to the preferences of your users are mobile applications that offer APIs that can be integrated into multiple platforms.
- Popular security requirements include SSL security certificates, Address Verification Systems (AVS), and payment card industry (PCI) regulated security standards.
- The Payment Services Directive II or PSD2 is a European directive that will change the current regulation of banking and payments. PSD2 must be taken into account in all those companies that offer payment services, is your company ready for PSD2?
- Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocols let you know when a server is secure. One of the main contributions of this technology is the encryption of transaction data between the three parties (banks, card issuer and online store).
- This prevents any unwanted information from ending up in the hands of a stranger. An easy way to identify a secure server is to set the URL to start with https:// and recognize the typical closed padlock in the browser.
- The Address Verification System (AVS) requires the purchaser to provide the fiscal address to which the card is linked. It is an anti-fraud mechanism that allows the identity of the buyer to be authenticated, confirming that he is really the owner of the card.
- Regardless of whether it is a service provider (card issuers, payment gateways, etc.) or a financial institution, any business that processes, transmits or stores payment card data (credit or debit) must comply with a set of standards established by the PCI SSC (Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council).
- The purpose of these rules is to reduce the risks of fraud and other potential threats by protecting cardholder data. Compliance with these standards gives consumers confidence, which will directly reflect on the reputation of the brand.
- It is important to obtain a certification that allows your company to process card payments securely. This can be achieved through a rigorous supervised audit or self-assessment. The option that applies to your business will depend on the volume of transactions processed annually. The tokenization service is one of the best strategies for protecting payment card data. Tokenization reduces the number of servers that have access to cardholder information.
- Through this service, during the transaction, the PAN (account number) is replaced by a unique token code associated with the actual card data. This substitution is carried out through an encryption process without affecting the operation of the card at any time.
The token is an effective way to avoid duplication of cardholder information in the data streams generated in a transaction.
- In current regulations there is a set of requirements to be met to obtain this certification. Some of these requirements are testing security processes regularly, encrypting card data transmission, maintaining data-protecting firewall settings, and changing default security settings (passwords, for example).
- Card payment continues to be the preferred option for consumers around the world and any security requirement dwarfs when it comes to convenience and protection of users’ private data.
- One of the resources that a payment gateway can offer is personalized reports and graphs on your platform. These statistical resources will help you better understand the entire business operation.
- For payment gateway providers it is essential to know which payment methods are most used by consumers, which currencies and credit cards they use. All the information you can get through payments can be used to help your business grow. In this sense, an intuitive control panel greatly facilitates the management of your transaction information.
- There are gateways for subscriptions or recurring payments and although this may seem more expensive at first, it is advisable to consider this option if you want to build a good brand image. Loyalty criteria continue to be very effective for users.
- Knowing your audience, in addition to trying to improve the image they have of your business, depends a lot on what you can contribute.
- At this point, as you may have imagined, the APIs with which the payment gateway works are essential. Today the attention of ecommerce is focused on the implementation of data management processes that provide a better user experience. This is largely achieved, as we have already mentioned, with a good API.
- Many of the payment gateways accept a large number of currencies, so it is just a matter of checking which one best suits your interests. If your business is not international and is more focused on a specific market, it is better to consider a payment gateway that includes the preferences of your users.
- What should not happen is that part of your audience is excluded by the fact that their currency is not included in any of the gateways that you have implemented. Not having an integrated gateway that accepts international currencies will irreversibly affect your conversion rate.
- When it comes to customer service and technical support, it is recommended to find a competent and fast service. The option that the integrated gateway includes the management of this service is the most recommended. In this way, the necessary solutions can be quickly adapted to the needs of suppliers and consumers. As a customer, you will find that if the gateway stops working for any reason, there is a 24/7 technical support service.
- The best option is a gateway that combines the usual communication channels. However, this requirement is not always implemented in all gateways.