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Guide on how to choose a payment gateway adapted to your business in 2018

If you have an e-commerce business model, you know that a fundamental part of your costumers’ satisfaction relies on the trust offered by the user experience in the payment process. This is the key to increasing sales by minimizing cart abandonments at the last moment and you must not forget that a means of payment is successful only when the user is certain that their money is safe. That is why, choosing the payment gateway that you want to integrate into your web store is one of the most important decisions you can think about in order to, for example, increase the conversion rate of your users as much as possible and manage to make loyal customers out of them.

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How to choose the best payment gateway?

A payment gateway is simply the method by which your customers' payments are processed and authorized and by which you thereby receive the money for the sale of the product or service. Finding the one that best suits the functionalities demanded by your business is vital for its proper performance. Unfortunately, what often happens is that the gateway that best meets the conditions is not the most used.

Here we’ll summarize some key facts that you must take into account when choosing a payment gateway.

Integration and usability

It is essential to find the method that best suits the functionalities of your business and the needs of your customers. Being able to integrate that method quickly is just as important. Here are some significant aspects that can become major issues if they are overlooked: first of all it's important to get information about the payment gateway that you want to integrate, like their documentation; then you need to know if plugins or extensions are needed to integrate the one you chose successfully; you must know If your current hosting package meets the technical requirements in case it is necessary to install some software and have a web developer to facilitate the integration process.

It does not make sense to choose a gateway that you cannot integrate into your store.

In the case of hiring a virtual POS terminal you also need acceptance from the bank and then have permission to contact the provider. This process may take longer than desired (an average of more than 5 days between integrating the POS on the web and the verification process). As this is one of the payment options customers are more familiar with, due to the trust inspired by the association to a banking institution, integrating a virtual POS continues to be necessary, even though for many it implies undergoing an initial frustrating process.

As for the rest of the cases, many of these requirements are easy to handle and the best option is always to choose a payment gateway that can be integrated in less than 24 hours.

Current trends in information consumption indicate that you must choose a gateway that accepts payments from mobile devices. One fact: the trend to make online purchases from mobiles will continue to increase. The latest annual e-commerce study carried out by IAB Spain, reveals that only in Spain 40% of users make their purchases online using their mobile phones.

Cost of service

One of the questions that you will first think about when you set out to choose a payment gateway will be: how much will it cost me? A very useful tool that can help you get a quick idea is the PaymentBrain price comparator, specialized in the payment gateway sector.

The cost of the Integration process will vary according to your e-commerce platform, its flexibility and ability to adapt. The number of specialists necessary to complete the integration depends on how difficult it is to carry out. And all of these factors may increase the price. Although many businesses seek to spare themselves of this cost by using unqualified support, you'd better think twice before resorting to this strategy and just hire specialized staff.

The usual form of payment for maintaining the gateway active (you can also find it as "maintenance cost") is a monthly fee that has to be paid in some cases. However, the costs per transaction do usually vary according to the gateway and also the volume of sales.

PayPal commissions per transaction are 3.4% + 0.35 if the sale does not exceed € 2,500, for charges associated with refunds the collection fee is around € 20. If you have higher sales volumes the commission can go down to 1.9%, always adding 35 cents as a fixed rate. For businesses that handle small sales volumes these rates can be high.

There are gateways with more competitive collection fees. Stripe, for example, charges 1.4% + 0.25 € for each successful transaction, for non-European cards the commission amounts to 2.9%, for refunds the collection rate is just over € 15. The fees charged by Braintree are 2.9% + $ + 0.30 per transaction and they charge $ 15 for refunds.

If you decide for a virtual POS (Redsys is the most widespread POS platform in Spain) you should know that the transaction fees vary according to the conditions set by the bank that offers the virtual POS service (around 1%).

Direct payment management

It is indisputable that the experience evaluation made by your users depends on how simple it is to complete the final purchase action. The APIs (Application Programming Interface) is one of the tools that allow you to make a difference in the relationship you establish with your customers today. With them you can connect services and data in the process of interaction with the user, you can improve services that are offered and anticipate the interests and consumption habits of customers.

When choosing a payment gateway, knowing the strengths and advantages provided by the API (or several of them) with which it works is fundamental, since it would mean, in general terms, knowing in advance the scope your business could have. A complete API guarantees advanced payment control, better data management and better positioning against the competition; Since knowing your customer will not only allow you to provide better services, but will enable you to add more value to the interaction by offering them new opportunities.

Among the most common options are the APIs that facilitate direct payments of your products without the client having to go to external websites or add steps to the payment process. Although the use of mobile phones is unstoppable, it's quite common for the user experience in electronic commerces through these devices not to be the best. Mobile applications that have APIs that allow integrating them in multiple platforms is essential, the cost is reduced and the ability to adapt to the preferences of your users increases.

Security

There are tools that the gateways themselves implement, although many decide to hire third-party security services. Among the best-known security requirements are SSL security certificates, Address Verification Systems (AVS), as well as security regulations enforced by the Payment Card Industry (PCI).

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocols let you know when a server is secure. One of the main contributions of this technology is the encryption of transaction data between the three parties (banks, card issuer and online store), thus preventing any unwanted information to end up in the wrong hands. A simple way to identify a secure server is by checking that the URL starts with https:// and recognizing the typical closed padlock in the browser.

The function of an Address Verification System (AVS) is to ask the buyer for the billing address to which the card is linked. It is an anti-fraud mechanism that makes it possible to authenticate the identity of the buyer corroborating that he is really the owner of the card.

Be it a service provider (card issuers, payment gateways, among others) or financial entities, any business that processes, transmits or stores payment card data (credit or debit) must meet a set of standards established by the PCI SSC (Council on Security Standards of the Payment Card Industry). The aim of this is to reduce the risk of fraud and other vulnerabilities while protecting the holder's details. Complying with these standards gives confidence to consumers, something that will be reflected directly in the reputation of the brand. Through an audit or submitting your company to rigorous supervised self-evaluation, you can achieve a certification that enables you to process payments with cards safely, the option that applies to your company will depend on the volume of transactions processed annually.

In the current regulations there is a group of requirements to be met: to test security processes regularly, encrypt the transmission of card details, maintain a firewall configuration that protects the data, change security parameters (passwords, for example) that come by default, among others.

The tokenization service is one of the best data protection strategies of payment cards sice it reduces the number of systems that have access to the cardholder's information. Through this service during the transaction the PAN (Account Number) is replaced, through an encryption process, with a token code uniquely associated to the real data and with the same operability. This is an effective way to prevent the owner's information from being duplicated in the data flows generated by a transaction.

Since card payments is still preferred by consumers worldwide, you must take these security requirements into account when selecting a payment gateway.

Custom resources

Offering personalized reports and graphics that allow a better understanding of the commercial operation in its entirety is an added value. For gateway providers, it is essential to know the payment methods most used by consumers, what currencies and credit cards they use. All the information you are able to obtain through payments can be used with the goal of making your business grow. A valuable asset to have here is an intuitive dashboard that provides accurate information about transactions. Stripe's dashboard is a good example, any user with basic knowledge can get what he needs without complications.

Another interesting option is to have several payment gateways integrated and be able to get all the information related to the payments that are managed through them on a single dashboard. This could make further analysis much easier and provide a larger-scale development projection.

There are gateways that allow subscriptions or recurring payments and, even though at the beginning this seems more expensive, it is worth evaluating if the intention is to establish yourself in the market under a good image. Costumer’s loyalty is valuable, and getting to know your audience, in addition to trying to increase that positive perception they have of your business, depends a lot on what you can provide them with.

At this point, as you may have imagined, the APIs with which the gateway works are essential. As suggested earlier, today the focus of e-commerce is largely on implementing data management processes that facilitate a better user experience. A great part of this is achieved through the APIs, one of the personalized resources that has been successful in recent years.   

Support

There are two fundamental factors here: the acceptance of international currencies and the customer service-technical support pair.

In the first one, many of the gateways accept a huge group of currencies, so it is only a matter of verifying which one suits your interests best. If your business is not multinational and is more focused on a specific market, the best thing you can do is to value a payment gateway that includes the preferences of your users. It's unacceptable that a part of your audience feels marginalized simply because the currency in which they pay is not included in any of the gateways you have implemented. If this happens, the conversion rate will be irreversibly affected.

Regarding the pair "customer service-technical support" it is recommended to find a competent and fast service. The option of the gateway having its own platform to manage this is very common. That way they can create and improve solutions that adapt to the needs of suppliers and consumers quickly. Your store never closes, so if the payment gateway stops working, as a customer you will appreciate it if it had 24/7 technical support service.

The best option is a gateway that combines the usual communication channels to ensure that the client does not feel like he's been left to their own devices. It is not that easy, since this requirement is hardly ever perfect in the majority of the gateways. The best known method is email, but as there are customers who prefer a more personalized treatment, some gateways also do it by phone (PayPal in some countries) or by chatbot.  

A way to know first hand how this support works on the gateways, is to track users' opinions in forums or social networks. But it is true that doing this implies spending huge amount of time and results are not always reliable. An alternative may be to look for feedback from an opinion leader.

In this area, the virtual POSs do not have a good reputation, but as we said, it is almost mandatory to implement them because of the high usage rates among users.

 

Gateways for your e-commerce

Paypal

Paypal's payment gateway has the great advantage of enjoying the reputation earned as the most recognized and used means of payment today. If your target is a public that is under 40 years old, you should not ignore the preference they have towards Paypal. Another advantage offered by this gateway is the immediacy of the purchase action and the security it offers, as users do not have to submit their bank details to make the purchase, they just need to register a valid email associated with a card.

If your sales volume is not very large and you do not want to forget the preferences of a large group of users you must have PayPal. Its biggest disadvantage is the high costs of its transaction fees.

  • Integration: Quick
  • Commissions: 3.4% + 0.35 € up to € 2,500 (varies around 1.9% for sales greater than € 100,000)
  • Strong point: Reputation
  • Cons: High commissions

Stripe

It is a gateway that adapts to any business model and integrates payments from mobile devices with a very good performance. It has an API with excellent reviews thanks to the ease with which it is implemented and adapted. The fact that the cards' details that are handled in the purchase process go directly to your server gives you more security. It is currently the preferred gateway for startups thanks to the competitive rates they maintain for each transaction. Its payment process is quick and works perfectly on mobile devices.

Stripe is perfect for capturing those users who are willing to explore new forms of payment. Its strong positioning and the information its tools provide about your consumers make this gateway an excellent alternative.

  • Integration: Quick (1 step only)
  • Commissions: 1.4% + 0.25 € per transaction for European cards and 2.9% + 0.25 € for non-European cards.
  • Strong point: Business model in constant growth / Commissions / Direct payments on your website.
  • Cons: Its novelty for users (although they have been working for more than 7 years)

Redsys

It is used to formalize payments mainly by companies that have bank accounts in Spain, since it collaborates with most banks to carry out their virtual POS function. One drawback may be the negotiation process through which one must go to obtain the banks' concession.The transaction fee varies, since it depends on the operativity of the bank where the account is held.

Despite the low satisfaction that is obtained, the integration and hiring process for users is safe and should not be discarded for now.

  • Integration: Slow
  • Commissions: around 1% per transaction
  • Strong point: Security and confidence for the consumer
  • Cons: Hiring process / Redirection of the user to another web / Needed to have the online store active / Little usable panel

Braintree

Its greatest advantage is its specialization in payments from mobile devices (iOS, Android and Windows Phone). It has a high percentage of customer satisfaction, which makes it a payment gateway with excellent levels of preference. In your dashboard you can find precise information about the payment processes. Currently e-commerce companies from more than 40 countries issue payments through this gateway.

Baintree is perfect to take advantage of the infinite experiences that a consumer can have on their mobile.

  • Integration: Quick
  • Commissions: 1.9% + 0.30 € per transaction for European cards and 2.9% + 0.30 € for non-European cards
  • Strong point: Usability on mobile devices (accepts payments with credit cards from the mobile)
  • Cons: It is a subsidiary of PayPal

MercadoPago

It's the most used in Latin America since it focuses directly on this market. It allows you to use the different currencies that exist in the region and offers an electronic commerce solution chosen by more than 50 thousand e-commerce companies. One disadvantage of its use are the transaction fees that exceed 4.45%.

This is a good alternative if you know that part of your consumers come from this region, because the fact that they have used it before gives them a sense of confidence which can be beneficial for you.

  • Integration: Quick
  • Commissions: 4.45%
  • Strong point: Reputation / Possibility of paying in installments
  • Cons: High commissions / Availability of money after payment has been made can take up to 14 days

CoinGate

It is one of the most popular payment gateways used for blockchain transactions, according to estimated figures they have more than 50,000 users. It currently operates with more than 50 cryptocurrencies and is a good solution for single payments in the existing extensive network of cryptocurrencies. In each transaction you can choose in which currency you want to receive the money (there are alternatives of conversion to euros or dollars) and, to protect the client from any speculation, the updated currency conversion rate is used at the time of purchase.

What may be its biggest expectation in terms of business opportunities is the disruptive nature that it causes in economic relations; However, it can also be its biggest obstacle to overcome, since consumers are distrustful of bitcoin, especially because of the open debate that exists about cryptocurrencies.

  • Integration: Quick
  • Commissions: 1% of every transaction
  • Strong point: Economic independence and greater projection since it includes the preferences of a group of consumers that continues to increase.  
  • Cons: Variable perception on the security of cryptocurrencies

Paga+Tarde

This is a gateway dedicated exclusively to financing purchases in the Spanish market. By integrating it, you give the user the possibility to pay for any product, whatever the amount, in the installments they deem appropriate. As they declare on their website, the cost of financing with Paga + Tarde fluctuates in interest between 0% (if the store assumes it) and 25% APR.

Paga+Tarde is a good option for stores because it provides the opportunity to increase the conversion by not establishing the obligation to make a single payment, and that flexibility perfectly provides a different payment experience. It is a good way of selling high-priced products and thus increasing sales. What's more, you will instantly receive the money when the product is sold, letting the gateway take care of the rest (financing, payment of fees, interest on payment arrears, etc.).

  • Integration: Quick
  • Commissions: Between 0% and 25% APR for financing.
  • Strong point: Flexible payment experience
  • Cons: Redirection of the user to another website / Requires validation of the user as "eligible" to be financed.

PayU

It is one of the most used payment gateways in Latin America because of the ease of receiving payments with credit cards, debit cards, bank transfers, etc. Due to the growth they have experienced in recent years, they have managed to position themselves as an alternative to MercadoPago by enabling payment options in several countries in the region (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Peru). Their biggest disadvantage is that in addition to the commission they charge per transaction, they also charge a commission for transferring the money to your account.

  • Integration: Quick
  • Commissions: Varies by country

                      Argentina - 3.99% + 3 ARS (approximately 0.12 €)

                      Mexico - 3.50% + 4 MXN (around 0.18 €)

                      Chile - 4.59% + 151 CLP (around 0.20 €)

                      Colombia - 3.49% + $ 900 COP (approximately € 0.27)

  • Strong point: Security in transactions and sustained growth as a business model.
  • Cons: Extra Commissions

Sofort

This is a gateway that is presented as an excellent option to carry out direct bank transfers online. There are already several payment providers that have integrated it because of the ease and immediacy with which purchases are processed. Here's exactly where its greatest advantage relies, they have been able to adapt this means of payment, which is still widely preferred, to the current needs of both businesses and users. Three simple steps are enough to complete the payment process through this gateway: select the country and the bank, enter the access credentials to the account and confirm the transfer. For both parties in the buying process, it offers the great advantage of not stopping the order processing (while they wait to receive the money) because with the notification that the money has been transferred automatically, delivery times can be shortened and user satisfaction increased.

  • Integration: Quick
  • Commissions: 0.9% + € + 0.25 for each transaction
  • Strong Point: Immediate payments
  • Cons: You need a bank account in one of the banking entities linked to this gateway.

Divvy

Starting from the boom that the business models based on the collaborative economy have had in recent years, this payment gateway adapts to the current consumption habits and user behavior. With a fast integration and a customizable dashboard, it is a gateway that facilitates the purchase process allowing the payment to be shared from the beginning of the process, something that differentiates it from other gateways and greatly modifies the user's experience. Having it integrated in your store, when the user chooses to pay with Divvy, he will be able to split the payment in the quantities that he wishes and between all the people he chooses. Once this operation has been initiated, a link will be generated that can be shared with the people who will pay. They will be able to fulfill their part using any of the payment gateways that the online store has integrated. When the total payment has been completed, the seller receives a notification with which he can accelerate the delivery of the order.

In addition to increasing your conversions and decreasing cart abandonments, the main advantage offered by this gateway is the possibility of knowing your users in a broader context, each of the people involved in the payment will have access to your products (increasing the possibility of future purchases) and as a business you will be able to obtain valuable information about the preferences of several users (future buyers).

  • Integration: Quick
  • Commissions: € 0.10 per transaction up to the first 1,000 transactions. From here and up to 10,000 transactions the commission is 0.05 € per transaction
  • Strong point: Shared payments / Increased conversion rates
  • Cons: Unfamiliarity on the part of businesses and users

Go to website

 

Deciding on one or another payment gateway depends on the factual knowledge you have of your users. Although it is not an option to have a single gateway integrated, it is also not recommended to accumulate gateways just for the sake of having them, without knowing what the preferences of your users are. Once you have this information, it is advisable to integrate those that best suit the needs of your users.

Doing it from the same platform would save you time in the integration process and would offer your users the convenience of choosing the payment method they prefer without returning to the beginning of the cycle. In this sense MyChoice2Pay is an example of how you are able to activate the gateways that best suit your needs, and those of your users, with just a single integration.

Futhermore we can provide you some free advices to see which are the payment methods that would benefit you the most and what the best way to implement them is.

If the information in this guide has been useful for you, you will surely want to share it with someone else who is evaluating the best options for their e-commerce.

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