The continued rise of online shopping means the eCommerce industry is booming, but it isn’t just online retailers that are accepting online payments. Now, a wide variety of businesses offer online payment options. So, if you want to enable customers to book services via your website, download digital products, sign up to a subscription service or purchase physical products, for example, you’ll need to start accepting online payments.

A reliable payment gateway is the first step to generating online revenue, but what exactly is a payment gateway and how do you know which provider is right for you? In this article, we take a look at what a payment gateway does and what you need to consider when selecting a payment gateway for your business.

What Is a Payment Gateway?

A payment gateway is one of the easiest and most secure ways of accepting online payments. It’s essentially the first step in the payment process and it enables users to input financial information so that funds can be transferred from their account.

Once a user inputs their information, such as their name and credit or debit card details, into an online payment gateway, the data is encrypted to keep it secure. It can then be passed on to the user’s bank and the merchant’s acquiring bank. Alternatively, the merchant may use third-party credit card processing services, in which case the payment gateway will forward the payment information to the processer.

In a matter of seconds, the payment gateway will receive critical information from the banks and/or processer and this enables the gateway to authorise or decline the transaction. Then, the funds are transferred from the customer’s account and are placed in the merchant’s account, thus completing the transaction.

As you can see, a payment gateway is a critical piece of the puzzle if you want to start accepting online payments. Due to this, it’s important to choose a payment gateway that can meet your customers’ and your company’s needs.

Accepting Online Payments: Choosing a Payment Gateway

Although payment gateways are widely used, they are not all created equal. As a result, you’ll need to assess various factors when you’re deciding which payment gateway to integrate into your brand’s website. To help you get started, take a look at these six things to consider when selecting a payment gateway:

On-Site vs Off-Site Payments

An on-site payment gateway (also known as a self-hosted payment gateway) facilitates online payments via your own servers, while an off-site payment gateway (or hosted payment gateway) processes the transaction via the host’s servers.

A hosted payment gateway often provides some level of customisation, but a self-hosted payment gateway gives you complete control over the user interface (UI) of your payment page. Conversely, hosted payment gateways can be more secure than self-hosted options, depending on how the merchant integrates and manages the gateway.

Available Payment Methods

Different payment gateways offer varying payment methods, so it’s extremely important to check what payment methods a particular gateway can facilitate before you integrate it into your website. After all, when you’re accepting online payments, it’s advisable to ensure that the most common payment methods can be offered.

As well as enabling customers to make card payments via major providers, such as VISA and Mastercard, you may want to choose a payment gateway provider that also offers additional payment options, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal and even cryptocurrency.

Integration Options

When you’re accepting online payments, it’s vital that your payment gateway can be seamlessly integrated into your website. Rather than viewing a payment page as a distinct section of your website, consider how it appears and functions in conjunction with other webpages, such as a basket page or landing page.

As different payment gateways have varying integration options, you’ll need to choose a gateway that complements your website. At PayAlly, we ensure our clients can easily integrate custom payment gateways alongside sites built with Android SDK, Apple SDK, C#, Java, PHP and node JS. What’s more – our user-friendly plugins make it easy to integrate a new payment gateway into Prestashop, Magento, opencart and WooCommerce websites.

Fixed and Recurring Payments

An increasing number of retailers are now operating on a subscription-model, and incentivising customers to sign-up for a subscription service ensures regular revenue for your business. However, not all payment gateways facilitate subscriptions.

If you currently offer subscription sign-ups or this is something you may introduce in the future, it’s worth choosing a payment gateway that can facilitate both fixed and recurring payments.

Pricing and Fees

In most instances, payment gateway providers charge a fixed monthly fee alongside a fixed transaction fee or a commission-based transaction fee but it’s important to watch out for minimum monthly fees, chargeback fees, refund fees, setup fees and international transaction fees.

At PayAlly, we take a custom approach to building payment gateway solutions that reflect our client’s needs and objectives. With competitive pricing and 1:1 support from a dedicated Relationship Manager, you can be confident that our payment gateway solutions are a cost-efficient way of accepting online payments.

Safety and Security

Security is a major issue when you’re selecting an online payment gateway. As well as adhering to relevant regulations and preventing data loss, a secure payment gateway can also inspire customer confidence and prevent sales being abandoned at the checkout page.

Before installing a payment gateway on your company’s website, take the time to ensure it meets industry-leading security standards, such as compliance with PCI. With additional security measures, such as 3DS2 and tokenisation, you can elevate your company’s online security and ensure that payment information is kept confidential.

Accepting Online Payments with PayAlly

Our bespoke approach to financial solutions ensures that we treat every client as an individual, and our payment gateway services are no exception. No matter what industry you’re operating in or what size your business is, our dedicated team is on hand to provide 1:1 support.

To find out more about our trusted payment gateway solutions, contact PayAlly now.