As with socialization, entertainment, and education, the future of sales is online. E-commerce provides both buyers and sellers with a convenient shopping experience, but only if they have the right tools.
By selecting an effective payment gateway, your business can speed up the sales process while keeping yourself and your customers safe.
Profile On Payment Gateways
A payment gateway is a service that processes payments from online sales. When customers fill their shopping carts, they enter payment information on a secure page. Your gateway collects this information, encrypts it, and sends it to the customer's financial institution. The institution then authorizes or rejects the payment, informing you through the gateway.
Payment gateways are the online equivalents of point-of-sale platforms in physical stores. They allow customers and companies to engage in transactions quickly and securely, without the fear of online theft or delays. An effective gateway makes online sales every bit as convenient as brick-and-mortar sales.
As with any type of business, leading gateways set the tone for the industry as a whole. The most successful payment gateways include:
- PayPal- One of the most popular gateways for consumers and businesses alike, PayPal accepts all major debit and credit cards. Consumers do not have to pay fees, while businesses must pay a 3.4% fee for completed transactions; there are no charges for setting up or maintaining an account. PayPal provides secure services for buyers and sellers in 190 countries.
- Stripe- A newcomer to the online payments business, Stripe has rapidly established itself as an innovative, competitive gateway. Its low transaction charges are the same for all payment methods, and there are no monthly fees. The only major downsides to Stripe are that you must have an SSL Certificate to use it and it will not allow your customers to use mobile payments.
- BluePay- Established in 2002, this gateway has become a favorite of paid bloggers. BluePay processes mobile and batch credit cards, large tickets, electronic invoices, and a myriad of other payment methods. The site is easy to use and has low transaction fees.
- Authorize.Net- Created in 1996, Authorize processes electronic checks, credit cards, recurring bills, and mobile and on-form payments. To set up and maintain an account, you must pay a one-time fee of $49 and a monthly fee of $29.
- 2CheckOut- In addition to processing credit cards, debit cards, and mobile payments, this firm also accepts payments from other gateways. It does not require starting or monthly fees, instead relying on small transaction charges.
Although no service is right for everyone, these leading gateways give you a sense of your options in this industry. By reviewing them, you can determine which features are ideal for your business and choose a gateway accordingly.
Questions To Consider
To find the right gateway, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much revenue do I expect to earn in online sales? If online sales make up a large and consistent portion of your overall revenues, it makes sense to choose a gateway with flat monthly fees. When online sales are relatively low or vary throughout the year, however, paying a percentage of each transaction may be cheaper.
- How quickly does this gateway process payments? Some firms process payments almost instantly, while others can take days. Processing speed makes an enormous difference to your business during tight quarters when you need revenues immediately.
- What payment methods does this gateway accept? Ideally, the gateway should accept all major payment methods, or at least all methods that you expect your customers to use. If the gateway relies on transaction charges, you should also make sure that the fee is the same for each method.
- What are the gateway’s customer and chargeback support policies? If you or a customer disputes a transaction, the gateway company should be willing to speak to both of you and investigate the issue. The more comprehensive their customer service, the easier it will be for you and your customers to respond if something goes wrong.
- How easy is this gateway to use? Look for firms with simple, self-explanatory web pages. Not only will you have fewer problems using their sites, but they are likely to put more thought into providing their customers with a convenient experience in general.
Selecting the right gateway is one of the most important choices on online business can make. By choosing a firm suited to you and your customers, you ensure convenient, safe sales throughout the life of your business.