Essential guide to Payment Gateways
In order to process transactions through your website or over the phone, you will require an Internet Merchant Account and a Payment Gateway (also referred to as an online payment system). Ecommerce businesses rely on getting paid so it is essential that you select the right payment processing system.
What is a Payment Gateway?
A secure, real-time online payment authorisation and clearance service that the website transaction passes through.
Which Payment Gateway?
There are many payment providers in the UK and Europe that provide payment services for online businesses. Look for one that is affordable, trusted, secure and reliable. If in doubt speak to your bank and check which payment gateways they are integrated with.
- What integration support is available to make the transition as seamless and hassle free as possible?
- What fraud screening services are included as standard?
- How can they help with your PCI Compliance requirements?
- How easy is it to report and reconcile your online transactions?
- Are they integrated with other payment methods such as PayPal?
If only processing a very small number of transactions a good starting point could be PayPal. However, as the business grows you will often get better commercials and a number of inclusive transactions by integrating a Payment Gateway.
What type of Payment Gateway?
The type of gateway you require will depend on:
- How would you like to accept payments? (Website, telephone, mail order).
- How to store the card data and how much control would you like over the payment user journey? Will it be hosted on your Payment Processor's server (hosted solution) so you do not handle card data or your own (API solution)? Learn more about the differences between Hosted and API solutions.
How much should I pay?
Businesses are generally charged on a pence per transaction basis (generally the higher volumes of transactions processed, the lower the pence per transaction charge). General costs:
- No set-up fee
- A monthly fee – generally ranges between £19 - £50 (Keep in mind the more functionality you require the more your payment gateway will cost e.g. digital payment link, International APMs etc.)
Don’t forget to…
- Test: Put some test transactions through the payment gateway before it is live on your website
- Is it seamless? Make sure you are satisfied with the payment experience first and then implement and offer to your shoppers.
- Ask: How many free monthly transactions are included in the payment gateway? As a rough guide at Pay360 we offer between 350-700 inclusive gateway transactions per month.