Payment Gateways and Your Ecommerce Store
A topic that comes up regularly with our clients here at UniformMarket is payment gateways. A vast majority of uniform retailers we interact with have, traditionally, not needed to know what a gateway is and how it is utilized in relation to ecommerce stores. In this post we’ll take a look at what a gateway is, why you need one and what your options are when it comes to your store on the sellers-commerce platform.
What is a payment gateway and why do I need one?
With the steep increase of popularity of online shopping and the multitude of online payment options has come a increase of fraud which costs online store owners time and money. On top of the potential for fraud comes the ever growing requirements for maintaining PCI compliance. PCI compliance is a set of rules and regulations that help maintain a secure environment for merchants who process, store or transmit credit card information. A gateway helps a store owner tackle parts of both of these complex issues and make the process of accepting online orders much more efficient.
In layman’s terms a payment gateway handles the actual approval and processing steps of taking an online order. When a shopper is checking out in your store they enter their credit card information on a secure page (your store’s cart) and when the order is submitted the platform/cart submits the order to the gateway which in-turn reviews the information, determines whether or not the order is valid and assuming it does it captures the funds and sends your website a message back saying “this is a valid order - please proceed” at which point the order is complete. This process alleviates the concern of storing credit cards as the information is not actually stored in your online store but rather in your merchant account with the gateway provider. Deferring this process to the gateway provider allows a store owner to offload the PCI compliance related concerns to the developers who specialize in this field so that you can focus more of your attention to growing your business.
What options do I have when it comes to Gateway providers?
There are quite a few options when it comes to choosing a gateway provider with many companies offering similar products packaged in different ways. The Sellers Commerce platform is currently integrated with eight options for providers. Those being:
- PayPal Payments Pro
- Fast Charge
As mentioned, each of these providers offers similar products, however, the main differences tend to be related to the cost (both initial and ongoing) as well as the features (both out of the box and add-on which tend to come with an additional cost). We highly recommend store owners read up on each of these as to make an educated assessment on which is best for their business needs. On top of that some gateway providers are only setup to process payments from specific areas of the world while others are universal. When determining which is best for you it's recommended you look at the following questions:
- Does the gateway process payments from locations in which you are looking to do business?
- What is the full cost (monthly recurring as well as initial setup)?
- Will the gateway work with your bank account type?
The decision on which provider isn’t always easy luckily as gateways have become more of a necessity there is a plethora of literature out there including side by side comparisons of just about all of the providers mentioned above. Using a payment gateway is currently required of all stores running on the sellers commerce platform and because of this if you, as a store owner, have a questions or issue you are encouraged to contact our support channel as its more than likely not a unique question/issue and something our team have addressed in the past.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post, please let us know any feedback or questions you have regarding either the content of the post or anything related to your online store!