Selling your stuff online has huge advantages the most prominent of which is access to a global market. This opportunity was unheard of save for few multinational companies just a couple of years ago. A number of businesses established their presence while the internet was in infancy although some have still not awoken to the benefits of going online. A large number of those that are yet to sell their products online have not done so due to a lack of awareness on how to proceed. Selling your products and/or services online requires the setting up of an e-commerce website. The chief ingredients of this set up are a merchant account and payment gateway. If you don’t have an appreciation of what these 2 things are then the whole exercise of setting up an e-commerce account can be Greek to you. In this article, we are going to look at everything about payment gateways to help you understand this facility.
What Is A Payment Gateway?
The term payment gateway refers to a service that assists you in the processing of credit card payments. Customers who buy anything from your website will naturally provide their credit card information at the check-out page. Your website sends this information to the payment gateway seeking the authorization and processing of the payment. The submitted information is cross-checked with that which is available on file at the credit card company and the payment is approved when there is a match. This is followed by the transfer of the transaction amount from the account of your customer to your own merchant account.
What Are The Requirements Of A Good Payment Gateway?
- A good payment gateway must be able to have a safety guarantee for you and your customers. The information that is submitted by your clients as they make their payments should be protected from hackers and illegal use that can prejudice clients of their valuable savings. A vulnerable payment gateway can also compromise your finances as well resulting in unmitigated loses. The desired level of information security is achieved through encryption and other measures.
- A payment gateway also has to be reliable in terms of giving you excellent uptime. A payment gateway that is constantly down eats away your profitability and reputation.
- A good gateway does not have any hidden charges that come to the surface after you have already secured the service. The cost element is a vital factor to consider in the selection of a gateway. All gateways ordinarily have the same features and it is in the area of associated charges that you will come across some discrepancies.
- A good payment gateway for your e-commerce website has to be compatible with the shopping cart. This means that the decision on which gateway to opt for has to be a team effort that incorporates the staff members handling the database and shopping cart issue
- Another consideration that you need to make in choosing the right gateway is the level of experience and reputation that the service provider has on the market. You need to go for one that has been in service for a considerable length of time. This ensures that you can benefit from the wealth of experience gathered over the years. Issues to do with your payments are too delicate to be thrust in the arms of a rookie service provider who is obviously within the teething phase.
Depending on the target market of your business, you may want to ensure that your gateway accepts multi-currencies. This is especially vital for businesses that are targeting the global market.