Today’s consumers expect a seamless, efficient online shopping experience and one of the most effective ways to deliver on that is with payment integration. This technology links your accounting and payments together, improving business operations and virtually eliminating the need for manual data entry.
While integration applies to any payment channel — in-person, online, or on-the-go — online payment processing beckons quite a bit of attention because of how quickly eCommerce has grown over the past decade. By 2020, the cumulative online payments made in the US will reach $523 billion, with nearly 70% of Americans shopping online monthly and 33% shopping online weekly.
Online payment processing requires a payment gateway, which is an additional step beyond what is necessary for in-person payments. This makes it even more crucial to plan a payment integration strategy in advance and then see it through. Let’s take a closer look at integrating a payment gateway into your website.
What to look for in a payment gateway
A payment gateway collects the data that customers enter during the checkout process, encrypts it, then securely transmits it to the merchant’s payment processor — where the data then goes through the rest of the payment processing steps. Essentially, a payment gateway is a middleman between the buyer and seller. This service is offered by many all-in-one payment processors.
So what features should you look for when it comes to selecting a payment gateway?
- Scalability: Every business aims to grow, so your payment gateway — along with the rest of your payment processing solutions — should be able to effortlessly scale as growth occurs.
- Multi-payment and currency options: Your payment gateway should be able to take various payment methods, like credit/debit cards, ACH, and eWallet services. If you anticipate international business, you’ll want to also ensure that you have multi-currency support.
- Fees: Payment gateway services have attached fees, which can vary in amounts and conditions. Be sure to select an option within your budget.
- Security: Like any payment service, your payment gateway should make use of industry-leading security technologies to ensure the protection of sensitive data.
- Mobile support: With many customers conducting their business on mobile devices, you’ll want to ensure that your payment gateway is compatible with and responsive on smartphones and tablets.
The payment gateway provides the backbone of your eCommerce business, so it’s worth looking into your options in order to make a reliable, cost-effective decision.
Integrating your payment gateway
Your next decision is how you want the payment gateway set up on your website. Your two main options include:
- Hosted payment page: Customers are redirected to a secure hosted payment page, or this feature can be embedded as an iFrame on you website. This option is easier and quicker for developers to get up and running, but may not deliver the same aesthetic and feel as the rest of your site.
- Integrated payment gateway: This option provides the smoothest customer experience, offering a consistent appearance and branding directly within your existing website. Developers will typically have to make use of custom APIs for this option, which could take longer to put this solution into effect.
Integrating your payment solution can be complex. It’s best to work with your developers, along with the resources provided by your payment processor, to determine what must be done in order to get your integrated solution up and running. You’ll need to ensure that various pieces of software you intend to use are compatible with each other.
The method used to integrate a payment gateway will depend on the type you choose, but be prepared for it to take some time in development. The process will require meticulous accuracy to ensure everything works correctly. You can expect the integration process to go something like this:
- Review all requirements and API documentation
- Plan in advance with the help of your payment processor
- Set up a sandbox account to help determine what you want
- Develop the payment solution
- Thoroughly test the solution before launching
- Push the solution live
- Continue working with your payment processor to address any pain points or make any changes along the way
Remember that setting up an integrated payments solution can be time consuming. Everything must be carefully developed and tested to ensure that things flow the way they should. However, once your solution is up and running, it makes business operations smooth sailing — for both you and your customers.
Learn more about integrated payments on the Forte site, or call us at 866-290-5400 for more information today.