Choosing a payment gateway
Now you have an idea of how payment gateways and merchant accounts work, it’s time to work out who will provide your payment gateway and merchant account. You could:
Select a merchant account and payment gateway as two separate services.
Opt for a modern payment gateway that does not require a merchant account.
Choose an all-in-one payment provider that offers a combination of both payment gateway and a merchant account.
Before making any decisions, consider the following…
Modern or classic?
There are two approaches to payment gateways; modern gateways and classic gateways. The biggest difference between the two is that modern gateways do not require you to have a merchant account.
Hosted or integrated?
Hosted payment gateways will redirect your customers to a payment processor’s platform where they can enter their payment details. Integrated gateways create an in-line system via API so that customers can enter their payment details without having to leave your site.
You must be PCI compliant. It’s the law and failing to demonstrate compliance not only puts your customers at risk but puts you at risk of a heavy fine. There are a number of payment gateways that are Level 1 PCI DSS compliant, (taking the responsibility off of you), but it is important that you check before making any decisions.
Many payment gateway providers will provide a robust level of fraud protection which keeps both you and your customers safe. Additionally keep your eyes peeled for CVC/AVA verification, which protects you from invalid or fake cards.
To use most payment gateways, you must pay a fee. Some charge a fee per transaction, whilst some charge a monthly usage fee. Take a little time to get your head around how your chosen gateway’s pricing works.
If you plan to automate payment, a gateway that enables automated billing is going to be high up on your priority list. Check which platforms provide automatic billing as well as support for regular payments.
Depending on whether you are using a Magento, Woocommerce, Shopify or another ecommerce platform you will need to consider how easy your chosen gateway is to integrate. Consider what level of developer support the service provides as well as the speed of the integration process.