Payment gateways have revolutionized online businesses by enabling them to accept payments from customers across the globe. The popularity of payment gateways has surged in recent years. However, the abundance of options can often make it challenging for business owners to make the right choice. If you’re grappling with this decision, this blog will guide you through everything you need to know about payment gateways.
Key Players in Online Payments
Several key players are involved in online payments:
Merchant: The online business owner who integrates a payment gateway on their website or app to accept payments for their services.
Customer: The individual making a purchase, providing payment information, and initiating the online transaction.
Acquiring Bank: The financial institution that processes payments on behalf of the merchant and manages the merchant’s account.
Issuing Bank: The bank that issues cards or bank accounts to customers, ensuring sufficient balance for successful transactions.
Payment Gateway: A crucial element allowing merchants to sell their products and services online, while customers enter their payment information.
Card Brands: Entities issuing customer cards and enabling payments between card issuers and merchants. Common card brands include Diners Club, UnionPay, American Express, Discover, Mastercard, Visa, and more.
Understanding Payment Gateways
Payment gateways are technologies or services that enable merchants to collect payments from customers. Think of payment gateways as the online equivalent of the POS terminals used in physical stores to accept card payments.
Payment gateways handle everything from securely transferring payment information, checking the customer’s account balance, notifying the payment status, to transferring the funds to the merchant’s bank account. They serve as a crucial link in online payment processing.
Merchants can seamlessly integrate payment gateways into their websites (self-hosted payment gateways), allowing customers to enter their payment information without being redirected to another site. In contrast, some merchants use third-party payment gateways, where customers are redirected to the payment gateway’s or bank’s website to enter payment information before returning to the merchant’s site.
How Payment Gateways Work
Let’s delve into a step-by-step explanation of how payment gateways work:
Entering Payment Information: When customers add products to their cart and proceed to pay, they are redirected to a payment gateway. Here, they input payment details such as card number, expiry date, and CVV.
Authorization: The payment gateway may take customers to a 3D secure page for added security or the issuer bank’s page for authorization after receiving their payment information.
Checking Account Balance: After validation, the issuing bank verifies whether the customer has sufficient balance for the transaction.
Displaying Messages: If the balance is insufficient, the payment gateway notifies the merchant, who informs the customer. The customer can then select an alternative payment method. If the balance is adequate, a success message is sent to the merchant.
Settling the Payment: Once a success message is received, the issuing bank settles the payment with the payment gateway, which, in turn, transfers the funds to the merchant, either instantly or within a few days.
Completing the Transaction: After the payment is debited from the customer’s bank, card, or wallet, the customer is notified with a message confirming the payment and order placement.
Fun Fact: Payment gateways accomplish these steps in nearly real-time, typically within 3-5 seconds.
Why You Need a Payment Gateway
In contrast to physical payments, where you can visually confirm the payer’s identity, online payments are more susceptible to fraud. A payment gateway is vital for several reasons:
Security: Payment gateways offer encryption and secure data transmission (HTTPS), protecting both you and your customers against fraud. They employ tools for fraud detection and prevention and provide support in case of fraud.
Identity Authentication: Payment gateways use authentication methods like one-time passwords (OTPs) to verify the user’s identity.
In essence, a payment gateway is essential for online businesses, ensuring secure and convenient payment processing, regardless of their location.
Criteria for Selecting a Payment Gateway
When choosing a payment gateway, consider the following factors:
Security: Ensure the payment gateway is PCI-level certified, uses data encryption (HTTPS), offers 3D Secure authentication, employs fraud identification and prevention tools, and provides support in case of fraud.
Supported Payment Methods: Make sure the payment gateway supports the payment methods your customers are likely to use, whether it’s credit/debit cards, e-wallets, or net banking.
Pricing and Fees: Consider setup fees, annual fees, refund fees, and commissions per transaction to understand the cost implications.
Reliability: Opt for a payment gateway with a high payment success rate, user-friendly interface, and responsive customer support.
Ease of Integration: Look for a developer-friendly payment gateway that doesn’t require extensive setup time.
Payment Gateway vs. Payment Processor
Payment gateways and payment processors, while often confused, serve different functions:
Payment Gateway: Acts as an intermediary between the customer and the merchant, handling the entry and secure transmission of payment information. Examples include Stripe, 2Checkout, and Skrill.
Payment Processor: Focuses on moving funds from the customer’s account to the merchant’s account, ensuring all involved parties, including the merchant and card issuer, get paid. Examples include PayPal, Square, and Authorize.Net.
Benefits of Using a Payment Gateway
Merchants benefit from payment gateways in several ways:
Expanding Customer Base: Payment gateways allow businesses to reach customers worldwide, offering diverse payment methods that cater to various regions and currencies.
Time-Saving: Online payment processing is faster and more efficient, reducing waiting times for customers and enhancing the merchant’s sales conversion rate.
Enhanced Convenience: Online businesses can operate 24/7, accommodating customers’ preferred shopping times and providing unparalleled convenience.
Different Types of Payment Gateways
Choose the type of payment gateway that suits your business needs:
Hosted Payment Gateways: Customers are redirected to a payment service provider’s checkout page to complete their payment. They then return to the merchant’s website for order finalization.
Self-Hosted Payment Gateways: Customers enter payment information directly on the merchant’s website, providing a seamless experience without redirection.
API Hosted Payment Gateways: Similar to self-hosted gateways, these are customizable and allow merchants to personalize the checkout experience.
Local Bank Integration: Customers are directed to the payment gateway or bank’s website to enter payment information before returning to the merchant’s site.
How to Integrate Payment Gateways
Integrating payment gateways into your website is a vital step in accepting online payments. However, relying on a single option may limit your business’s reach and flexibility.
To overcome this challenge, consider using a payment aggregator like web technology expert. With web technology expert, you can integrate over 30 payment gateways, support 190+ currencies, and offer 300+ payment methods. This enables scalability, expansion, and seamless switching between payment gateways if needed.
Here’s how you can integrate payment gateways using web technology expert:
Create an Account: Sign up on the web technology expert’s website, providing the necessary details and creating an account.
Connect Your Payment Processor: Access the web technology expert dashboard, add an integration, and configure your payment processor. Select the payment methods you wish to offer to your customers.
Build Your Checkout: Customize your checkout experience for different regions, languages, and payment methods, allowing you to cater to a global audience effectively.
Configure Checkout Settings (Optional): Adjust settings for location, language, display fields, and payment method order to enhance the checkout experience.
How web technology expert Can Help
web technology expert simplifies the management of multiple payment gateways, ensuring seamless customer experiences. With consolidated reporting, support for all local payment methods, routing options, and comprehensive analytics, web technology expert offers a reliable solution for handling your business’s payments.
Choose a web technology expert to manage multiple payment gateways, allowing your business to focus on what it does best.
In summary, understanding payment gateways is crucial for any online business. By choosing the right payment gateway and considering options like web technology expert, you can streamline payment processing and offer a secure and convenient experience to your customers.