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Online Payments Gateways – all you need to know

29 Jun 2021

What do I need to consider before I get started?

So, you have a business idea, and you’ve decided to sell your products online through an eCommerce website. Depending on how far your idea has come along you may already have a website and online store. If not, it is wise to do some research before you get started and investigate the different types of website platforms and shopping carts on the market as these will impact the type of payment gateway you will use. These three components are important to understand so that you decide on the best payment gateway solution for your online business.

  • Website Platform – this is essentially what your website is built on, and the foundation of your site. Using a website platform or builder allows you to construct a website without manual code editing and are generally very popular for private websites.
  • eCommerce Platform or Shopping cart – this is a piece of software that sits on your website which allows customers to select products, review what they have selected and make modifications if necessary. This “shopping cart” take the customers from the initial product selection stage on your website right up until the point of payment.
  • Payment Gateway – once a customer decides to make a purchase and payment through your site the payment gateway captures and transfers payment data from the customer to the acquirer. The gateway acts as an interface between your website and its acquirer and ensures it validates the payment data in a secure and compliant manner. It will also ensure funds are available to pay for the goods or services and provides a fully encrypted journey so that any sensitive credit card information is not mis-managed.

When you have all the above setup it will allow you to take electronic payments through your website. Online payment gateways provide an easy and secure way to manage these payments. You will find that there are plenty of payment gateways out there that you can use, and they all vary in features, price, support, and complexity. You will also need to ensure the payment gateway you decide on is compatible with your website builder and shopping cart.

How to choose a Payment Gateway and what to consider

  1. Integration - Ensure that the payment gateway can integrate with your website builder and shopping cart. If for example you have a WordPress site using WooCommerce, then your gateway must be compatible with this solution. You want to use a payment gateway that does not impact the UX (user experience) of your site with slow or clunky processes. Ideally find one that integrates seamlessly into your site and works with the major website platforms and shopping carts.
  2. Ideally use a Direct gateway (not indirect) - Ideally you are looking for a direct payment gateway, and not indirect. With a direct payment gateway your customers stay on your website and are not redirected away to a providers site, usually the acquirer’s website, to complete a payment. With direct gateways the customer will complete the payment on your site, you just need to ensure you have an SSL certificate, which is a type of digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection.
  3. Security - choose a secure gateway provider and make sure they are certified and PCI-DSS compliant. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) upholds the security provisions of the electronic payments world. Just make sure any payment gateway provider you select is PCI-DSS compliant.
  4. Fees and Pricing – there are a lot of options out there, so it’s worth shopping around for the best deal. You will probably have heard of the likes of PayPal and Stripe, two large players in the online payments space but you will pay a premium for these well-known brands. Typical processing fees start at 1.75% and $0.30 per transaction for domestic cards and 2.9% with an additional $0.30 per transaction for international cards. There are then monthly fees on top of this if you are looking for any checkout customisation features, so it can really start to add up. If you are looking for a premium option at competitive rates, please contact us here. We will be able to walk you through the entire process.
  5. Accepted Payment types - it is rare for a payment gateway to accept all payment types so its important to understand your customers more than ever. Where are they purchasing from, which countries and which locations? Are there popular payment types that you might not have considered traditional? For example, Alipay and WeChat are becoming increasingly popular payment methods for Australians. For payment gateway recommendations that accept these payment types you can contact us here.

We have touched on some of the key factors and features that will impact you on your eCommerce and online payments journey. Here are some critical questions you should be asking any potential payment gateway provider before you commit.

  • What website platforms and shopping carts does your payment gateway integrate with?
  • What are the fees from the payment gateway?
  • How secure is the payment gateway and what level of compliance do they ensure?
  • What payment methods do they accept through the gateway?
  • Is it a direct gateway enabling you to take the payment from your website?

Once you understand the answers to the above questions you should be better placed to decide about what payment gateway provider to use.

This can be a complex area for any business so if you need help, advice or support with a payment gateway or business payment solution please reach out to us here.

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