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What is the Best Payment Gateway?

Five Must-Haves When Choosing an Integrated Payment Gateway

In today’s world, integrated payment gateways provide a seamless consumer experience across all payment channels and devices – not just ecommerce. They also can make your customers’ lives easier by simplifying reporting and reconciliation of payments. An easier life leads to a happier customer. Happier customers generate revenue and create loyalty, which is why selecting the best payment gateway is pretty important.

Which Payment Gateway is Best?

The answer lies within your own customer base. After all, your customers are the ones using your integrated payments capability. It follows that they should be the starting point for selecting your gateway partner. That said, you don’t want to overlook the opportunity to make YOUR life simpler too. Hence, your payment gateway should be the right fit for both of you.

There are five key considerations when choosing which payment gateway to integrate (or which one to keep if you currently are supporting multiple integrations).

1. Your Customers’ Current Needs.

Not all payment gateways have the same capabilities. Supporting virtual terminals, enabling industry-specific data like Level III, or customizing data fields are a few examples of capabilities that are not present in all gateways. Take the time to do a little homework to understand your customers’ needs and compare them to the capabilities of the payment gateways you are assessing. The upfront work will pay off when you select an integrated payment gateway that is rich in the features your customers need and want.

2. Your Customers’ Future Growth.

It’s easy to become so focused on what your customers need today that tomorrow’s needs get overlooked. Consider that consumer preferences and expectations rapidly changed this year. For example, contactless payment usage has accelerated with no indication of leveling off any time soon. In fact, according to a recent Forbes article, 86% of first-time contactless users plan to continue making contactless payments. Will your payment gateway support the latest technology and devices needed to enable trends such as contactless payments?

Not only are contactless payments growing but consumer payment channels are expanding as well. Card-not-present transactions such as text-to-pay and phone orders are also on the rise. Keeping an eye on advancements in technology and consumer preferences will help you future-proof your payment gateway selection.

3. Security and Compliance for You and Your Customers.

Where there is commerce growth, data thieves and cybercriminals are not far behind. Keeping transaction data protected across all channels and adhering to the security standards of the payment card industry can be both laborious and costly. As a result, PCI compliance and data security are often the sources of much angst among software providers and their customers.

When evaluating for the best payment gateway, make sure your selection brings a plan to reduce the scope of PCI compliance for both you and your customers. Here’s an interesting example of how one order management software company was able to dial down its compliance scope with the help of its payment partner.

4. Comprehensive Reporting Capabilities.

The ability for your customers to have access to information and customize reports based on their needs is important. For example, the ability to report on all transactions – approved, declined, voided, etc. may be necessary for their business. How simple is it for your customers to get at that information? Can they easily customize the reports they need to support their business? Reporting that is powerful yet easy to use, is always present in the best payment gateway.

5. Ease of Integration is Key.

As noted earlier, you not only want to make your customers’ lives easier but your own as well. Does the payment gateway have published APIs with examples? What does the documentation look like? Make sure it’s comprehensive and doesn’t skim over key details that your development team needs. Documentation with holes in it is a red flag. Continuing with that payment gateway can lead to development headaches down the road.

Also, it’s important to understand what development support looks like. Talk to some of the current customers of the payment gateways you are evaluating. Like documentation, comprehensive support is non-negotiable.

Paring down the Number of Gateways is the Latest Trend

Software providers often allow individual customers to choose the payment gateway or payment processor for them. Then, they simply code to the specifications of the chosen provider(s). This can snow-ball into an unsustainable environment of scores of payment providers. Recently, we were talking with one company that was supporting 30 integrations in its software platform. (Yes, 30!)

All these integrations consume development time and add unnecessary expense. Because of this, the days of supporting multiple integrations are giving way to a simpler approach. The trend now is to significantly scale back payment integrations to the one or two that are best.

Consider Taking the Merchant Services Short Cut

All of this may seem overwhelming to you. After all, evaluating and choosing the best payment gateway for your customers takes a bit of your time. There is an easier path though. Let an expert with deep payment experience do the needs assessment and payment gateway evaluations for you.

This is where partnering with a full-service merchant services provider can really help. A solid merchant services partner should actually become an extension of your business. It’s like having your own payments department that will handle all elements related to your integrated payments program.

A good merchant services partner will recommend the best payment gateway by:

  1. Helping you identify customer needs
  2. Identifying evolving technology and growing consumer trends
  3. Bringing familiarity with the capabilities of multiple payment gateways.
  4. Provide recommendations on leveraging a given gateway to maximize user experience and minimize PA-DSS scope.

Other benefits of partnering with the right full-service merchant services provider include:

  • Pricing that is clear and easy for your customers to understand
  • Onboarding process that gets your customers up and running quickly
  • Fraud monitoring to keep your customers’ transactions and data safe
  • Dedicated assistance with customer support

We recommend letting a full-service merchant services partner do the work for you. You will be able to select the best payment gateway and quickly see the benefits.

Streamlining your Integrations

Feel free to reach out if you are looking for a payment processor, payment gateway or merchant services provider for your integrated payment program. Whether you are integrating with a payment gateway for the first time or simply looking to pare down, I’m happy to help.

Erin Baker

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