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The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 08, 2024 • Issue 24:01:01

Street SmartsSM

Street Smarts
What to look for in a payment gateway, and why

By Nick Cucci
Fluid Pay LLC

At any given point in time, between 12 and 24 million stores are online (see tinyurl.com/55yt29an). As more shoppers turn to online options, the ability to process payments online is quickly becoming essential.

Payment gateways help companies offer secure transactions to their customers, empowering them to safely accept shoppers' payments. And between 2020 and 2030, the payment gateway market is expected to increase by 19.7 percent (see tinyurl.com/4c8rkev8). Following are insights to consider when choosing the right payment gateway for your business.

A payment gateway accepts payment information on a website and then processes the payment, which is then passed on to the website owner (or the correct administrative party). These secure systems make online shopping possible—as long as you choose the right one.

Choosing a payment gateway

Technology has evolved to a point where brands have plenty of potential payment gateways to work with, and many offer a great experience. However, that doesn't mean all payment gateways offer a quality experience.

Your chosen payment gateway will define your experience and that of your customers. Work with one that offers exceptional security and an easy experience that supports how modern shoppers expect to interact with your website. The right gateway can have a surprising impact on sales conversions.

Look for features that will ensure a great experience. Every payment gateway will have custom experiences and features. Explore everything you will get when you choose a particular gateway.

When it comes to managing money and personal information, reputation is a top consideration. Choose a payment gateway with a glowing public reputation that demonstrates how well it works. Look out for reviews that imply potential risks or show a history of poor experiences. Ask how long company leaders have been in the gateway business and what their prior business experience is. Also, research the company's acquisition history and underwriting capabilities.

If your gateway underwrites or has a payfac, why, as an ISO, would you want your customer base there? If those merchants called the gateway directly, they would be offered another merchant account without your knowledge. Why compete with your partners? Select a payment gateway that hasn't been sold 100 times to private equity funds, and doesn't have its own bin/payfac.

Look for proprietary technology that is built in-house and not acquired through massive mergers. Make protecting your portfolio your top priority, and be certain your gateway is aligned with that purpose.

Essential integrations

Your payment gateway must work with the brand you use to host your website, now and in the future. A payment gateway might work with your current website, but what if you move your website to a new location down the line? Choosing a gateway that integrates with top platforms, like WooCommerce, which boasts over 4.4 million stores, can help ensure you'll retain that gateway even if your business changes.

Look for fully ingested APIs, too. This means your gateway ingests its own code, doesn't make different calls inside its UI, and is built off of its public-facing api. This will be a huge help to your development team, as they can use the "inspect" tab in the browser while logged into the gateway to see the active api calls. This makes troubleshooting code simple and in its truest form.

The systems you choose to support your businesses all come with a price, and you want pricing that makes sense. If a payment gateway seems way cheaper than others, there is probably a reason for it—but don't be tricked into overpaying, either. Compare pricing to ensure you are paying a fair price for the gateway's services. The fee schedule should be competitive and put you in the driver's seat to set up a profitable fee schedule for your business.

A superior customer experience

Great technology doesn't guarantee a great experience. Choose a payment gateway that offers a top experience for you and your customers. It should be easy to work with and simple to navigate. Gateways that over complicate the payment process can cost you sales. No shopper wants to fight a payment processor just to make a purchase.

Remember, too, that we are transitioning to a subscription-based era. For items people use on an ongoing basis, they love being able to subscribe and save. A good payment gateway will make it easy for your customers to choose your products again and again. Gateway services should also support hot items like dual pricing, surcharge and cash discount. They should all be compliant, as well, and integrated across the entire suite of products.

While most online orders used to be limited to desktop computers, people now shop on phones, tablets and even video game consoles. When you choose a payment gateway that is compatible across devices, you make it much easier for customers to choose your brand.

Financial transactions keep our world spinning, but they can also include quite a bit of detail. To make it easy for your staff to follow transactions and ensure compliance when it is called into question, you want a gateway that simplifies reporting for you. You should be able to modify reporting to fit your needs and find the right information for each transaction at any time. A great example is CSV exports to import into QuickBooks.

Bot detection and management

Fraudsters are always seeking new ways to create chaos. A hot topic lately has been bots attacking unprotected shopping carts. Your gateway should do more than a CAPTCHA that asks users to identify fire hydrants.

Find a gateway that analyzes and detects anomalies in your traffic, scoring each request by how it's different from your baseline. Machine learning and fingerprinting play a huge role in bot detection and can deter all card spinning attempts. You and your gateway should be protecting your merchants this way automatically, without their asking, across your entire portfolio.

Customers expect brands to be online and to have a clear presence confirming they are worth investing in. Before you choose a payment gateway, look into its online presence. Does it have articles that educate and inform? Is its industry expertise evident?

Of primary importance is to select a gateway that wants to cater to you instead of stealing merchants or continuing down a path of growth by acquisition. Make sure its offerings fit your needs and that key representatives are reachable when you need help. Call centers and unsupported customer support agents won't suffice. Find a gateway that aligns with your business integrity and is obsessed with what they do. Obsession always beats talent. end of article

Nicholas Cucci is the co-founder and COO of Fluid Pay LLC. Cucci is also a graduate of Benedictine University and a member of the Advisory Board and Anti-Fraud Technology Committee for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, as a CFE himself. Fluid Pay is the ONLY 100 percent cloud-based Level 1 PCI Payment Gateway processing transactions anywhere in the world. Contact Nick at Nick@FluidPay.com. Benefits of crypto for the underbanked

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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