A payment gateway is an essential part of any online store. It’s the system that allows your customers to actually pay you, without the hassle of sending a bank transfer or the risk of identity theft. But there are many different companies offering these services, so how do you know which is the best eCommerce payment gateway for your store?
The choice goes beyond just finding a way to transfer money from A to B. You also need to think about the customer experience of your eCommerce store. Are there too many steps to make a payment? Will your customer be redirected to an external browser page to pay? Security should also be a major consideration. Without the assurance that customer details will be kept safe, shoppers are unlikely to complete many transactions at your store.
So, whatever stage you’re at with choosing a payment gateway — whether you’re still working out what they actually are or you already have a shortlist of providers — we hope this guide will help you decide which is the best fit for you.
What exactly is a payment gateway?
Let’s quickly cover off the basics so we’re all on the same page. A payment gateway is an e-commerce service that integrates with your website or online store to allow customers to complete a purchase with you. It essentially provides the connection between you and the customer’s bank, which instantly approves or declines the transaction so you can take the appropriate action.
Payments can be via credit card or another online payment method, but the most important thing is that the transaction is handled securely by a third party. Some of the best-known examples are PayPal and Stripe, which have succeeded because they focus both on the merchant and their customers.
Do I really need a payment gateway on my website?
It goes without saying that this service comes at a cost. If you’re just starting out in eCommerce, this can seem like a big expense you could do without. So what are the alternatives?
Well, you could ask customers to send a bank transfer or other direct online payment. Some people might be prepared to do this if they really want what you’re selling, but most will see it as too inconvenient. Any time you ask someone to leave your website, there’s a chance they won’t come back. You’re also giving yourself more admin work, having to match payments with orders and process refunds in the same way.
If you already have a physical store with a credit card reader then you might be tempted to use that for payment processing. The obvious problem with this is the risk of fraud. People who already know you and your business might trust you with their card details, but complete strangers won’t.
Then there’s also the option of cash on delivery if your business operates locally. But this really limits your customer base and also puts you at risk of last-minute cancellations and other problems.
So in short, if you want to run a credible and secure online store that operates smoothly and has space to grow then yes, you need a payment gateway.
How to choose a payment gateway for your eCommerce site
There are certain basics that all payment gateways should cover off. These include:
- Secure payment processing for all major credit and debit cards
- Consistent performance (no downtime)
- Measures to fight credit card fraud, protecting both the merchant and the customer
But there are other features that will really help you decide which one is going to be the best match for your online store — quick onboarding and integration, lower subscription costs, short and fast payment steps to mention a few. Give these some careful consideration, otherwise, you could find yourself wasting a lot of time and — worse — losing potential customers.
Other payment methods
Credit and debit cards are really the minimum, but many consumers have other preferences and may leave your site if you don’t accept their preferred payment method. Online shoppers are now increasingly using various methods such as digital wallets, for example, and others would like the flexibility to buy now and pay later. Choosing a payment gateway with a wide range of payment options will help you sell to more consumers.
Choosing a payment gateway with a wide range of payment options will help reduce barriers to purchase for some consumers.
Assuming you are not also a developer in your free time, you’ll want to look for a payment gateway that is simple and quick to integrate on your site, ideally with a variety of customization options.
Any good payment gateway will regularly update its software to improve performance and security. This should be done with minimal disruption to your business, but it’s worth checking what the process will look like at your end.
On the other end, you want to make things as easy as possible for your customers. This can be achieved with a payment gateway that stores their billing and delivery details so they don’t have to fill in endless forms when they reach your checkout. You should also look for a service that will operate payment within your site rather than redirecting shoppers to another page.
There are plenty of providers out there, and hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to select the right one for your business.
At Dibsy we have carefully developed a solution that caters to the merchants’ needs, while ensuring your customers pay fast, simply, and securely.
Visit our website to learn more.