The Green Sheet Online Edition
March 25, 2013 • Issue 13:03:02
A better payment gateway
I'm thinking of switching payment gateways primarily because of security issues. Other than PCI compliance, what else should I look for in my next payment gateway?
Frazier Bankcard Co.
We agree that security is paramount for payment gateways. A short list of other issues to consider includes reliability, ease of use, overall performance, customer service, compatible payment platforms, reporting options and cost.
For an in-depth discussion of this topic, see "Enlightening talk about gateway," by Ken Musante, The Green Sheet, Dec. 13, 2010, issue 10:12:01. To get the discussion going, Musante asked members of GS Online's MLS Forum the following questions: What payment gateway do you use and why? What are the pros and cons of a proprietary gateway?
Following are excerpts from the article:
SALESAMS listed what he seeks from a gateway, paraphrased as follows:
- There should be a quick link to the virtual terminal that's easy for the merchant to navigate.
- Fraud prevention technology should be built in and not at an additional expense.
- Automatic recurring billing is a nice feature if it's user friendly.
- Smart-phone integration is a plus, i.e., a smaller version of the virtual terminal so merchants can pull up the browser with ease and run transactions on their smart phone.
- A gateway that's compatible with check and ACH programs is also a plus.
- Not being a direct competitor selling merchant accounts (or farming them out the back door) is a must.
SALESAMS' criteria are excellent. Anyone out gateway shopping can use them as a punch list. I would add the following for my ideal gateway:
- Ease of integration: A strong integration API is key for developers and hosting service providers. A primary element is a strong developer's library that supports multiple programming languages, third-party developer application support, and carts and certified solutions support that we merchant level salespeople (MLSs) can direct developers to.
- Gateway features: Does the solution provide comprehensive tool sets to help merchants manage their business? Good gateway services build their value-added services around a customer management system or customer database. Customer databases that assist merchants in managing their business are much more crucial than stand-alone features that lack scalability.
- Multiple processing platforms: Due to the ever changing marketplace, a gateway should support more than one processor, transaction type and communication protocol. As markets change, it is important for these solutions to have diversity to work with multiple merchant types and opportunities.
- Customer support services: Providing quality customer support to merchants is critical. Does the provider make merchants jump through extra hoops to issue credits or pull older data?
MEROS described the following planned additions:
- Automated card account updater service to notify merchants not only when a card is expiring or being replaced, but also of the new expiration date (and account number, if appropriate) - a tremendously useful feature for merchants with recurring transactions.
- An affiliate module to track chargebacks by affiliate and publisher. This will enable merchants to track and dynamically reject transactions from specific affiliates and/or publishers.
- Dynamic descriptors to allow merchants to comply with the card network descriptor rules, while still giving cardholders ample information in the descriptor line to identify or question charges.
- A fraud scoring system that rates transactions based on a number of factors such as IP address, cardholder information, spending habits and other proprietary data points.
As you can see, gateways are more than just commoditized virtual terminals. Many have evolved into complete processing platforms that have more functionality and features than traditional solutions.
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