eCommerce market revenue worldwide is expected to reach $4.15 trillion in 2022. Some might be making money in this business, but others are losing. Many customers complain of poor online shopping experiences. Why would 80% of online shoppers abandon their carts halfway? The answer is probably not difficult to see - the payment gateway doesn’t meet their expectations.
Luckily, you can fix it and we are here to help.
What Are Payment Gateways?
First of all, let's clarify the difference between payment gateways and payment processors.
- A payment gateway is a tool that enables customers to make a payment online. The customers enter their payment details and receive results on the transaction. This part is visible to customers.
- A payment processor is an organization that processes payments between a customer’s bank account or wallet, verifies the data and issues the money or refund. This part is not visible to customers.
In a nutshell, after a customer makes a purchase, a payment gateway sends data from the website to the payment processor. Moreover, payment gateway can screen orders, calculate taxes, or use geo-location for location-specific actions.
When processing a transaction, the payment gateway follows several steps:
- Order placement - A customer places an order on the website, goes to the cart section, proceeds to checkout, and enters payment information.
- Encryption - User data is encrypted for private exchange between seller and buyer, and sent to the payment processor.
- Request -The payment processor sends a request to a financial institution or a credit card company.
- Fulfillment - After the request is verified, the customer receives a message confirming the transaction and returns to the website.
A picture is worth a thousand words so let’s look at a diagram of the payment process to get a better idea of how it works:
So which payment gateway is the best for your business? Let’s take a look!
How to Choose the Best Payment Gateway for eCommerce?
Anyone can claim to provide the best payment gateway for eCommerce, but who is telling the truth? To make an informed decision about which system to use, consider these questions:
Does it suit your business model?
Every business has special needs for eCommerce payment solutions in terms of transactions, payment options, payment methods, etc. For example, marketplaces and small online stores process payments differently because their transaction volumes vary greatly. Before adopting any system, analyze your business needs - if you can’t survive without recurring billing, then your options are limited. Don’t forget to make sure that your payment platform seamlessly integrates with your CMS.
What are the transaction fees?
It is hard to figure total costs at the beginning, and soon, fees and commissions pile up and substantially decrease your profit. Think about fees before you’ve committed your money, especially if you are a small retailer with a tight budget. Find an option with an adequate price/service ratio.
Comparing payment gateways we see that they charge different fees for their services. It’s up to you to decide which option is more cost-efficient for you.
Payment gateway fees rates
Does it serve your area (languages and currency)?
Make sure your eCommerce payment platform accepts local currency so your customers are able to purchase from you without complication. The perfect solution uses the same language as your audience. It also must support multiple currencies and languages if your business works globally.
Does it support various payment methods?
Your ideal solution will offer your customers all the necessary payment options - recurring payments, credit, escrow, etc. Some of them are predetermined for your type of business and that's your only choice.
Here is a table showing what payment methods and options are available for the most popular payment gateways.
Top eCommerce payment gateways comparison
Is it secure?
Customers will not trust their money and personal data to unreliable payment gateways. Your system must protect sensitive data and eliminate the possibility of fraud. Look for PCI DSS and GDPR compliant options. Data should be encrypted and tokenized to avoid hacker attacks. Machine learning security features, in addition to the basics, can detect fraudulent schemes and predict breaches.
PCI DSS Compliance
Does it have good customer support?
You might be able to integrate a payment gateway without technical knowledge but you will not be able to fix serious bugs without specialists. If something goes wrong, customer support should be available to solve the problem. Otherwise, you will be left on your own.
Now you know how to choose the best option ‒ but where to go from here? Your business model must guide your decision. Let’s talk about gateways in detail.
Top payment gateways for each type of eCommerce businesses
Not all payment gateways are the same, and the wrong choice may be a reason for a bad conversion on your website. Every business needs its own payment gateway. That is why it’s vital to differentiate checkout options according to the type of your eCommerce website.
Let’s figure out which payment gateways are best for each type of eCommerce website.
Small online shop
Small businesses, by definition, have small staff and little money (at least at the beginning). You, as the owner, will need to do almost everything yourself. Therefore, it is best to find a solution that is easy to install without tech specialists and expertise.
Checkout should be quick and easy so the client doesn't lose patience and abandon their cart. Instant payouts are the best option in this case as money can be sent from your credit card immediately.
The best payment gateways for small businesses are:
- Square - is the best for online retailers. This is a highly customizable payment tool with a variety of APIs. It is especially good for restaurants and shops that had a physical office and now go online. Square has POS integration that accepts payments in person, creates invoices, sets up subscriptions, and makes international payments.
- PayPal - is the most popular choice, if you have a dropshipping business. It is supported in 203 countries, has low transaction fees, and offers superior customer experience.
- Stripe - is a highly customizable solution that can grow along with your business.
- Authorize.Net - is easy to set up and use, and doesn't require a development team to be integrated.
- Braintree - is great for startups and accepts most of the major payment methods.
A marketplace has a complicated structure. In a nutshell, it is a platform with multiple merchants selling multiple products. Therefore, above all else, the payment gateway must accept multi-party transactions.
What is specific for this type of business:
- need for security because of fraud possibility. There are many sellers on the platform and some of them might be suspicious;
- high volume. Marketplaces have more transactions so the payment gateway must be able to process them all;
- multiple sellers within one website. Money from transactions goes to different bank accounts, not to a single one, as it happens at online stores.
At a marketplace, whether B2B, B2C, or P2P, the following types of payment are possible:
- instant payout - buyers’ money is sent in full directly to the credit card or bank account of the business owner without additional steps (e.g. when a 3d party withholds it). This option is available for every type of marketplace but is used most often with B2C and P2P businesses who have lower transaction volumes.
- mass payments - pay multiple sellers at once. This is useful because customers can save time and money on flat rates from transactions while having a seamless shopping experience.
- payments in installment - payment in parts over time. This is great for large purchases when bills can’t be paid at one time.
- split payments - one payment is divided into several transactions. Customers will not be obliged to pay for everything all at once and can cover expenses consequently, e.g. pay for purchase and commission separately.
- credit - buy now, pay later. A seller receives the entire purchase price, but the platform collects the money from the buyer later. This scenario is popular for B2B and B2C platforms
- Escrow - payment is temporarily held by a third party until the purchase is complete. This provides additional protection from fraud and is especially useful for P2P marketplaces where users are not obliged to go through strict authentication.
The best payment gateways for marketplaces are:
- PayPal - is a leader because it has a proven track record. PayPal for Marketplaces has been launched recently ‒ this system was created to meet the specific challenges of the online marketplace.
- Braintree - In addition to the basics, Braintree has good data protection, and reward programs.
- Stripe - has a product for marketplaces to increase retention and scale operations globally.
- Dwolla - a scalable and reliable platform with reasonable fees for transactions and a variety of payment types.
- Adyen MarketPay - uses a unique technology approach so they can charge lower fees.
Websites that use a subscription model provide their products every week\month\year for a fixed price. Companies use recurring billings to ensure consistent income.
Online recurring payment solutions are perfect for:
- E-learning courses and lessons
- Blogs with memberships
- Online services like SaaS, advertising, games, apps, and virtual services.
Subscription-based businesses need payment gateways that support recurring billing. This means the service is paid for according to a specific schedule after the customers fill in the authorization form and confirm the agreement. This model requires the software to manage repetitive billings and ensure security.
The best payment gateways for recurring payments are:
- Helcim - is the best because it allows unlimited and customized subscription plans, customized quotes, and payment monitoring. Additionally, this system enables users to create customer accounts to manage subscriptions.
- Square - is a popular POS system with easily manageable payments and affordable pricing.
- PayPal - has easy-to-use payments for online memberships with fast access to the funds.
- Stripe - is easy to integrate, offers a variety of languages and currencies for global selling, and optimizes operations.
- Wave - is a free and easy-to-set-up software for recurring billing.
Wholesale eCommerce websites sell goods in bulk to other businesses.
What is specific for this type of business:
- big volumes and massive payments
- frequent transactions because customers usually buy on a regular basis
- transactions that involve many participants (receivable and payable accounts, billing, and procurement teams)
- delayed payments (30-90 days after the purchase)
- multiple payment options (i.e. split and mass payments, payments in installment, credit)
The best payment gateways for wholesale eCommerce are:
- Fundbox Pay - is a leader here because it can pay sellers immediately while giving customers up to 60 days to pay for the purchase. It is secure and easy to use which your customers and you will enjoy.
- PayPal - manages invoices easily and allows to send custom ones
- Square - is an easy-to-set-up software with a comfortable invoice tracking feature.
- QuickBooks - synchronizes payments with accounting statements to simplify taxes and bookkeeping.
- Plastiq - centralizes different payment methods and offers rewards and cashback.
Crowdfunding and charity
These types of websites are created to collect donations. Visitors donate money for specific goals. The most well-known examples among crowdfunding websites are Kickstarter, Patreon, GoFundMe, and Golden Giving.
What is specific for this type of business:
- money is collected and transferred to the project owner after the deadline.
- a payment gateway collects donors’ contributions, sends money to the project owners, and charges a commission.
- reward, donation-based, equity, and lending-based models of crowdfunding all need different payment systems
Best payment gateways for charity and crowdfunding:
- Stripe - is considered the best option because it takes most credit cards and over 135 currencies. API integrates with your CMS and donations can be sent by credit card directly from the website. This software provides a great flexibility in payment options and ensures a good customer experience.
- Donorbox - was developed specifically for non-profit organizations to make the donation process fast and seamless.
- iATS Payments - is a nonprofit-centered payment option with 20+ years of experience in the market.
- PayPal - is a well-known, trustworthy, and functional software.
- TransNational Payments - provides easy and secure transactions and has a payment tracking feature.
A payment gateway facilitates payment procedures between the website and the payment processor. It is an important part of making your website attractive to visitors. The right software will help your customers avoid headaches when submitting payments.
You must remember that different businesses need different payment gateways. In this article, we explained the needs of every business model and mentioned top eCommerce payment gateways for each of them.
If you have any other questions related to eCommerce web services we are at your service.