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7 Steps to Choosing the Right Payment Gateway for Your eCommerce Store

By Adam Torkildson. Originally published at ValueWalk.

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As a business owner, one of the most important aspects of setting up your eCommerce store is making sure you get paid. A payment gateway is a big part of this process. It’s the software application that provides the secure transfer of your customer’s credit card information from your website to the credit card payment network. Once approved (or denied), it returns those transaction details back to your website, and you get paid. Selecting the right payment gateway can play a role in how willing customers are to buy from you, how much you earn, and more. Here’s how to make the best choice.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Payment Gateway

1. Cost

Price is naturally a top concern for most business owners. Payment gateways have three types of costs – setup fees, monthly fees, and transaction fees. Most transaction fees hover around 2.9% + $0.30. However, some payment gateways offer a set monthly fee with a lower transaction fee which could be a better choice if you tend to have higher value transactions. Meanwhile, setup fees are generally fixed, so you won’t be able to save much money there.

Before choosing a payment gateway, it could be helpful to figure out how much money you’re accepting each month in total and what your average sale amounts to. This way, when you receive quotes from payment gateway companies, you can understand how those fees will apply to your business and choose the most cost-efficient option.

2. Security

Receiving payments online also requires that you store sensitive financial information, so security is critical. You’ll want to double-check that the gateway you end up with is level-1 PCI DSS compliant for the best protection. Keep in mind that some companies also offer additional support, like fraud detection, that could be worth the investment to ensure your customers trust your business.

3. Cards Accepted

How do your customers pay? Most people use MasterCard, Visa, and Amex, and most payment gateways accept these cards. Still, if your customers tend to pay with debit cards, you might need to look for an alternative gateway that supports that type of card.

4. Payment Flow

Your payment flow determines how you collect payment. Most commonly, this is through a secure form directly on your website or through a redirect to a separate secure hosted payment page. The first option requires more programming to integrate the payment gateway, while the latter takes less time to incorporate. You may also consider an escrow system that can withhold funds before the admin approves it, which is more helpful for bidding websites.

5. Holding Time

Money is typically held for several days in case of refunds of charge-backs before being delivered into your account. You can choose a waiting period of one to seven days, depending on your service provider. Depending on your business, you might need a shorter holding time, so choose the payment gateway that works for your financial situation.

6. Ease of Sale

Most customers shop on their smartphones, laptops, and tablets. If your payment method doesn’t work properly on one of those devices, customers may abandon their purchases and shop elsewhere. Be sure to check that the payment gateway you choose can adapt to the various types of devices and networks that your customers shop on.

7. Integration

Your payment gateway has to integrate into your website. When it doesn’t merge well, it can cause the payment process to be glitchy, which can scare customers away. Verifying that the payment gateway you choose can integrate with whichever hosting site you use (Shopify, WordPress, etc) ensures that your sales funnel remains intact. Plus, some gateways even integrate with your accounting and invoicing software.

Ultimately, choosing the right payment gateway takes research. Do your homework by forming a base knowledge of how much money you take in each month and your average transaction value. Then, research the cost and features of the gateways you’re interested in to make sure they’re a match. Selecting the right one can make or break your business, so choose wisely.

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