If you are looking to start your first online store from scratch, one of the essential pieces of technology you’ll need is a payment gateway. Payment gateways are responsible for transferring payment information from a customer’s bank account to a merchant’s bank account. In other words, payment gateways enable you to be paid for your products online. This is the same technology that can be found in point-of-sale devices in physical stores and retailers.
However, finding an excellent payment gateway for your online store can be more complicated than simply installing a POS device. In fact, utilizing the wrong payment gateway system can cause havoc for your entire payment process.
At an online store, a payment gateway is first activated when a customer initiates a purchase by clicking “Place Order.” The payment gateway software then checks with the customer’s bank to ensure that funds are available and ensure that the transaction does not exceed the customer’s credit limit or bank account balance. After that, the payment gateway sends the customer’s card information to the card schemes to process the transaction. This card information is sent in encrypted form.
Card schemes are central payment networks that are capable of processing credit and debit cards online. These networks are responsible for approving the transaction, which then permits the payment gateway to send the information back to the merchant website. After that, the payment gateway then arranges the transfer with the bank to move money from the customer’s account into the merchant’s bank. This entire process is completed in a matter of seconds, but it is also one of the most essential parts of any online store’s operations.
Generally, there are three overarching categories that payment gateways fall into:
- The first is a redirect gateway which simply redirects the customer to a payment processing company such as PayPal.
- The second is a hosted gateway which sends the customer’s payment information to a payment provider’s servers.
- The final type of gateway is a self-hosted gateway in which the entire transaction occurs on your own private servers.
Self-hosted and hosted gateways provide more customization and control opportunities, while redirected gateways completely eliminate security compliance requirements from your company.
What payment gateway you choose has the potential to significantly impact the customer experience you can provide at your online store. Redirect payment gateways can provide a disjointed transaction experience because the customer is sent to another site to complete payment. On the other hand, some customers may recognize the brand name of the payment provider and be more willing to trust them for the transaction. Self-hosted gateways provide a completely seamless experience and provide you, as the business owner, with more opportunities to improve the customer experience.
If you are currently looking for a payment gateway solution, we are here to make your life easier. Read on to learn more about the different options available to you and the top 10 payment gateways in the US.
Best Online Payment Gateway
The best payment gateway for your e-commerce site may not necessarily be the best option for your competitors. Each business has its own unique needs and preferences that need to be factored into any comparison of payment gateway systems. That said, there are a number of characteristics that the best payment gateways possess. By identifying these, the process of finding the ideal payment gateway can be simplified.
One of the first issues to understand is the nature of the payment gateway’s setup. Complex setups can cost you time and money to implement and can increase the likelihood of costly errors. It’s also important to understand what the cancellation process is if and when you decide to change payment gateways. Some providers may lock you into contracts that could make it difficult to cancel before a certain amount of time has passed.
As with any technology investment, pricing is always going to be a significant factor. Some payment gateways charge a plethora of fees that can dramatically increase the overall cost of setup and implementation. Furthermore, some payment gateways will charge a per-transaction fee. It’s vital to do your research to understand whether these fees are competitive or whether the payment gateway you are looking at is overcharging you.
These are just two factors that should be considered. There are several other elements that make up the best online payment gateway, but the platform that is the most affordable and has the most effortless setup is a long way to being the best solution.
Popular Payment Gateways
Here are the top 10 payment gateways in the US, with a short description of each to help you quickly learn more about your options when it comes to these solutions.
This payment gateway is considered by many to be the best option for Magento-powered websites and is provided by Visa. It enables your business to accept payments online from a variety of payment methods, including credit cards, debit cards, and eChecks. Authorize.net also supports Apple Pay and PayPal, allowing you to give your customers options.
Pricing: Plans start at $25 per month with a 10¢ per transaction fee
Stripe may be one of the most widely used payment gateways for small businesses due to its ease of use and customization options. Billed as a “complete payments platform for ecommerce,” Stripe has been carefully designed to make it easy for you to accept payments from customers around the world. Plus, with its hosted payments page option, you can completely customize a secure and seamless payment experience for your customers.
Pricing: Free plans are available with a 30¢ per transaction fee
Targeted toward small business-owners, PaySimple is a payment gateway that enables you to accept payments through online storefronts, payment forms, and embeddable solutions. With no contracts or cancellation fees, you always have the freedom to change systems whenever you want. PaySimple also supports recurring billing, which can be especially helpful for online stores that provide subscription services.
Pricing: Custom quotes are provided on the website. Credit card fees start at 2.49% per transaction
PayPal also provides a gateway option called the Payflow Payment Gateway. With Payflow Payment Gateway, you can accept credit card payments online without zero setup or monthly fees. The company claims that online businesses tend to achieve a 44% higher online checkout conversion when providing a PayPal option. This platform also supports recurring billing and ships with Basic Fraud Protection Service to ensure that your customers’ data is protected.
Pricing: Free plans are available with limited customization. $25/month for customizable payforms and additional features.
Ayden is a payment gateway that supports B2C, subscriptions, and B2B online transactions. With Ayden, online store owners can create fully customized payment experiences and take advantage of AI to combat fraud. Used by brand names such as LinkedIn, Spotify, and Uber, Ayden is one of the premier e-commerce solutions for payment processing.
Pricing: Fees are only charged per transaction and vary depending on the payment method used.
BlueSnap is a highly versatile payment gateway that supports over 100 different payment types and over 100 currencies. The software is designed to integrate into existing systems, including Magento and Chargebee. BlueSnap supports free trials, license key management, as well as subscription plans enabling you to have flexibility in how you deliver products to customers.
Pricing: Starts at 2.9% + $0.30 per successful card transaction. Custom pricing plans are available.
Helcim is a payment gateway that guarantees no contracts, monthly fees, or hidden charges. They accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and digital payment methods such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. Helcim provides both in-person and online solutions enabling you to accept payments anytime, anywhere. Its pricing structure is also affordable. Helcim was rated the “Best Overall Merchant Services” by Nerdwallet.
Pricing: Free accounts with per-transaction pricing that varies depending on whether the transaction is in-person or online.
Payline is an ecommerce payment gateway solution with a transparent pricing model and features that support both small businesses and larger online enterprises. Payline provides a dashboard that enables you to accept a variety of different payment methods With their integration services, you can easily connect Payline to your online shopping cart, or you can use Payline as a redirect-gateway to their hosted payments page.
Pricing: Flexible. Custom quotes are available on-site.
WePay is a payment gateway provided by JPMorgan Chase. They provide three different payment solutions depending on your needs and preferences. Clear provides a seamless payment experience integrated into the applications you are already using. The Link solution is a redirect gateway that allows you to leverage the Chase brand to encourage conversions. Finally, they offer the Core payment gateway solution for large payment facilitators.
Pricing: Pricing is available on-site through the contact form.
2CheckOut is a monetization platform that provides a modular design. With 2CheckOut, you can choose to only invest in the features that your business needs. 2CheckOut provides support for Global Payments, Digital Commerce, and Subscription Billing.
Pricing: Plans start at 3.5% + $0.35 per successful transaction
In the end
The best payment gateway for your website will depend on your budget, your feature requirements, and the level of support you need. If you are focused on international markets, you may look for the top 10 international payment gateway providers. However, it’s essential to do your research as many of these providers already support international currencies. At the end of the day, the best payment gateway for your e-commerce site is going to be the site with the fee structure and features that best suit your needs.