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Ecommerce Payment Gateway

If you are like most business owners, you probably already know what a goldmine the internet can be. The fact is that if your business is not online, you are losing out big time. It is important to note that if you give your clients the choice of making a purchase as soon as they see something they like; you stand a chance of making more sales. Therefore, like a savvy business owner, you are considering integrating a credit card payment system to your website.

Well, this is a foreign concept to many, especially when not conversant with ecommerce. So if you want to know how to choose the best payment gateway, here are the basics.

Payment Gateway

This is simply a software/server that facilitates communication of transaction information. 

Ecommerce Payment Gateway

This is a service that securely authorize and process payments associated with credit cards through merchant accounts.  A merchant account is simply a holding place for your money before it is transferred to your bank account while a payment gateway simply approves or declines a transaction.

How Do Ecommerce Payment Gateways Work?

A payment gateway simply relays information and responses between parties that are involved in a transaction. One essential component of the payment gateways is security. It is important that tight security is observed when it comes to transmission, processing and storage of credit card information.

In order to achieve this, the credit cards associations came up with regulations and security standards that should be upheld by anyone who wishes to access credit card information, including payment gateways. These rules and standards are simply referred to as PCI or PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards).

Once an order is placed, it is submitted to that gateway through HTTPS protocol, which is a secure channel through which information is passed to all parties involved in the transaction. There are countless payment service providers that enable merchants to make use of different options when card holders make purchases. These service providers help with services such as translating currencies between parties, bridge languages and payment options in addition to aiding real-time transactions. 

Payment Gateway Options: Hosted or Non-Hosted?

Before you pick a payment gateway option for your ecommerce site, it is important to do thorough research. There is a wide range of options available in the market today, the most common being the hosted and non hosted solutions.  

     Hosted Payment Gateway
  This is an option that will redirect the client to another secure site (with a different site structure and design template) to complete a transaction.  Once the transaction has been approved and the payment has been made, the client is redirected back to your site to confirm the order.
Who Should Use a Hosted Payment Gateway?
This solution is perfect for small and medium sized businesses as it is a quick and cost effective solution for their online card payment needs. It also helps these businesses to eliminate exposure to card data, thereby helping them meet the set PCI-DSS standards.
  Non-Hosted Payment Gateway
  This is software that allows a client to complete an order on one site without being redirected to other sites; the site owner collects the information without the services of a third party. This allows the clients to input credit card information directly on the site.
Who Should Use a Non Hosted Payment Gateway?
Non hosted payment gateways are commonly used by large corporations or veteran businesses that have had online operations for a while now. It is not uncommon, however, to see new business owners try the hosted option before moving on to a non hosted solution.

Payment Gateway-Shopping Cart Integration

Before you pick a suitable payment gateway, it is important to think about a suitable shopping cart for your ecommerce site. A shopping cart is software that enables clients to pick out the items they want to purchase from your site. Upon check out, this software calculates the total costs (order selling price, shipping costs, handling fees which include packing and postage and even taxes if applicable).

It is important that you find a shopping cart and payment gateway software compatible with your site, with each other and able to deliver on your online sales needs. Take your time to get these integrated well in your site to avoid inconveniences to you and your clients, and avoid legal troubles in the future. If you are not sure of the suitable software for your ecommerce site, it is advisable to hire the services of an experienced professional.

Parting Shot

There are numerous things to consider when thinking of a functional ecommerce site. For starters, your business will determine the payment service provider to work with. If your business is considered high risk such as gambling, you will realize that only a select few service providers will be willing to work with you. Your business needs will also determine the solution you pick among other determinants. It is therefore important to do a thorough research on what you need before you settle on any one choice.


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