Choosing a Payment Gateway

Online business owners understand that having an online store requires a lot of planning and research. This is because even the smallest variation in the landing page design or the positioning of the call to action can ruin the entire online selling process. However, it is the logistics of accepting payments which is the most important aspect when running an online business and it is crucial that you get it right.

This is where the payment gateways get into the scene. It is a service being provided by a financial institution or bank designed to take wheels after a shopper has entered his or her credit card information. There are two kinds of basic gateway and each of them is presenting a significantly different experience to the user. The first one is the on-site payment wherein the entire transaction process is hosted on the website to allow for continuity from the time they click into your landing page to the point they click on the ‘buy’ button.

The second one is third party which is also known as off-site payments and it involves directing customers to separate website to process the payment. This is usually the method taken by businesses relying on services such as PayPal and eWay. Although this method is efficient and secured, it actually affects the continuity of your sales pipeline online.

The important consideration to take when choosing a payment gateway is the experience of users whether you want to keep them on-site during the time of the purchase if it would be more comfortable for you to direct them into a third party page in processing the payment.

Majority of payment gateways are offering a dedicated piece of software known as application programming interface or API which integrates with on-site transaction software used by your store. When the time comes for the customer to give their credit card number, the details will be directly punched into the API and it acts as a secure channel between the website and the bank account of your business. This way of using payment gateway will not direct the customers off-site at any point during the transaction process and this enables you to build trust by keeping continuity on the online sales pipeline.

Another option is collecting the details of the customer on-site and to directing them into third party page for the payment processing. Although this may appear to be a cheaper alternative to hosting the payments online, it can sometimes present an obstacle to customers in the transaction pipeline.
Amidst the chances of disruption in continuity, services such as PayPal are recognized and trusted widely with respect to a more secured payment processing. Although this may be inconvenient for people who do not have PayPal account, directing the customers off your site to finish the transaction will not present a major hurdle for those who are familiar with the process.

Although every payment gateway provide professes to offer a level of security, there are some important things to look for when you weigh the alternatives. You should choose a service that is compatible with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.

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