With the advent of e-commerce, the term "gateway" has taken on new meaning. No longer simply the portal between a store's POS network and its processor, Internet gateways are the POS.
According to paymentAccess founder and President Allen Kopelman, the most accurate description of what is commonly called a gateway in the payments industry is software as a service - although that term never caught on in the same way. Subscription to paymentAccess, for one, does indeed entail access to numerous payment services through a user-friendly software program.
With computer-based POS systems being used in place of conventional terminals, one central benefit is the consolidation of different payment-acceptance mediums. PaymentAccess reportedly integrates phone, computer and in-person POS capabilities - making it simple for merchants that use different sales avenues (for example, both a physical store and online shop) to accept transactions through multiple channels.
"A lot of times people have separate gateways, but with our software it's all in one," Kopelman said.
In a number of ways, the service makes payment acceptance set up and operation a lot easier, according to the company.
For one, it addresses the always difficult issues of data security and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard compliance by routing all customer data away from merchant databases - where it tends to be most vulnerable - and to an external server run by paymentAccess.
Merchants still have access to that data, though such access is limited to ensure security while still allowing retailers to perform necessary functions like chargebacks and recurring billing.
For example, merchants can only access the last four digits of credit card numbers from old transactions, and all of the data a merchant can see is viewed on the gateway's server; it never crosses into the merchant space, where hackers usually feast.
For merchants concerned about employees accessing sensitive data, a feature in the software allows merchants to limit what employees can view; each employee is given a name and password to access the system, and the degree of access each account is afforded can be individually tailored.
"Each gets their own separate login," Kopelman said. "If a business owner doesn't want them to see reports or how much money is moving through the business, or wants them to be able to just process transactions, they can do that."
For repeat customers, paymentAccess streamlines the purchasing process through the storage of payment data on its server. Customers who are not swiping cards to initiate transactions must enter their full payment data a single time and create a user name and password at that time; for subsequent transactions, customers need only enter in their name and password, and all of their payment data is automatically plugged in.
Customers using multiple payment cards can simply add new cards to their existing profiles and select any of their registered cards for any given transaction.
For the merchant, reams of customer data - including transaction histories divided into old and pending transactions - are automatically stored and can be "exported" to a spreadsheet for easier viewing and organization. For merchants requiring help with the gateway software, a live help feature allows them to chat instantly with a paymentAccess technical representative through online instant messaging.
Kopelman noted that the paymentAccess merchant gateway is sold through reseller channels, and resellers can brand the payment portal with their own logos, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Except for the optional addition of accounting software, the gateway and its sundry features are provided for a flat monthly fee and no transaction fees, he added.
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