Choosing a Payment Gateway

When you run an ecommerce website, you need a payment gateway to process credit card payments. While gateways are easy to use, there are so many to choose from that it can be difficult to know what features are really needed, and which ones are just nice to have. This article doesn’t go through the bells and whistles, but instead details just the features that you absolutely need, unless you are often dealing with fraudulent charges or having trouble integrating the gateway with your website.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a list of standards that governs how online payment gateways have to treat data. Some of the common requirements for being PCI-DSS certified include providing a safe area where customers can transfer credit information without fear, and that both merchants and the gateway company have a network that can securely store all payment information.

Being PCI-DSS certified will give your customers confidence in using your system, because this shows that you stand for ethical business practices, and that you will not rip them off. Also, if PCI-DSS ever becomes a requirement, you will be ahead of the game.

With address verification systems (AVS) features, you will be able to minimize the amount of fraudulent transactions you have to go through on a daily basis. Many new websites are hit by these people, because they know that most new ecommerce sites are not secure and they can get away with illegal charges.

Since there is no verification, these people can put in fake information and they will get the item, while you are slapped with a bill. Aside from losing you profit from the sale when the real credit card holder requests a chargeback, but you also have to pay $30 to $60 for each chargeback. An AVS is simple, and all it does is verify billing address and the buyer’s credit card information.

You may already be using a shopping cart software, and you might like that software and how it runs. So, instead of getting a new shopping cart, you should check for a payment gateway that is capable with your shopping cart. If the two cannot integrate, then the gateway, shopping cart or both will not work at all. This can cause glitches, and will definitely lead to lower sales.

Check the gateway’s website for compatibility information, or call the company and ask if your shopping cart will work. If the shopping cart is not well known, then the company may have no idea if they are compatible. In this instance, see what programming languages the gateway supports, and this should help you figure this out.

This requirement is only if you intend to take sales outside you country. With multiple card and currency features, you will be able to process payments from other countries. This feature enables you to accept currencies from other countries, and then the currency is converted to your native currency. International credit cards function in much the same way. If you only plan for domestic sales, then this feature will mostly likely not be needed.

Look for these four (or three if you are only selling domestically) features when choosing your payment gateway. Failing to get a gateway that fulfills these requirements can lead to frustrating chargebacks, along with difficulty in getting your shopping cart and gateway to play nice. After fulfilling these needs, look at the other features offered and choose the best gateway for your website and your needs.

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SMBReviews is committed to providing small and mid-sized business owners with the information and resources they need to select the best service or product for their company.

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