Offering alternatives to customers is a great way to increase the chances of generating a conversion. Choosing the wrong payment gateways can lead to a loss of sales, as not all of them may be tailored to customers needs in terms of currencies accepted, security or affordable commissions.

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • What is a payment gateway
  • How does a payment gateway work
  • Things to consider before choosing your payment gateway
    • Payment integration and usability
    • Cost of the service
    • Direct payment management
    • Security features
    • Customized resources
    • Support

Integrating payment options that add value to the shopping experience is critical to an ecommerce. A satisfied customer is a customer who finds the payment method that best suits their needs.


If a user is not familiar with a method of payment, they will probably leave the cart before concluding their transaction. Therefore, the key to any payment option is to convey confidence, simplicity and clarity. The user must be convinced that their money is safe.

A large volume of transactions is processed daily through the payment gateways. Most eCommerce integrates gateways that provide the payment experience immediacy, ease and security.

In addition to these factors, other advantages offered by the gateways are the increased conversion rate and better results in customer loyalty.

Although they may seem very similar, there are differences between one gateway and another.

Since it is the success of your business we are talking about, it is necessary to think carefully when choosing a payment processor for your marketplace.

What is a payment gateway

A payment gateway is a service with which payments are authorized in ecommerces. In the absence of a Virtual POS (Point-Of-Sale), a Payment Gateway is required if you want to charge for a product or service sold in an online store.

Merchants cannot afford to ignore that payment gateways are currently the form of payment implemented by all digital businesses. Their main function is to make it easier for customers to make online payments.

The world of the Internet has been an important step forward for merchants. Many businesses have been able to expand their activity thanks to online sales. In fact, many companies are created to have only online presence, which years ago was practically impossible to think about.

How does a payment gateway work

A payment gateway is part of the “magic” that occurs in the background when a credit or debit card transaction takes place. By securely sending information between the website and the credit card network for processing and then returning the transaction details from the payment network to the website, it is a major component that allows an ecommerce to work.

If you have a website and are interested in accepting credit card payments, either online or through a mobile device, you will need a payment gateway. Think about it as the bridge between the sales of your products and your customers.

Things to consider before choosing your payment gateway

A payment gateway is nothing more than a form of payment with which your customers’ payments are processed and authorized. For the sale of a product or service, the gateways make it easy for you to receive money quickly and securely.

Thus, the goal is to find the gateway that best suits the characteristics of your business.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a payment gateway.

Payment integration and usability

In the search process the first thing is to gather information about the gateway, documentation, and so on. Then it is very important to know if plugins or extensions are needed to successfully integrate the gateway.

There are cases in which it is necessary to install some kind of software, and therefore it is important to be aware of the technical requirements of your hosting package or the technology used in your website.

Generally, the integration of a gateway is usually easier with the services of a web developer. The knowledge and experience of a professional of this profile usually facilitate the process.

It doesn’t make sense to choose a gateway that you can’t integrate into your store. And once you have chosen a payment gateway, the ideal is to be able to integrate it in a very short time.

If you decide to contract a virtual POS you also need the acceptance by the bank and then have permission to contact the supplier. Importantly, virtual POS is one of the payment options that customers are most familiar with. The fact that it has the backing of a bank makes it more reliable. Although the initial steps for the integration of a virtual POS may seem a bit frustrating, it is worth contracting for your ecommerce.

With the exception of POS, for the rest of the cases the requirements to achieve a successful integration are much easier. As already mentioned, the best option is to choose a gateway that can be easily integrated.

Additionally, online retailers cannot afford to ignore the fact that purchases made from mobile phones are continuously growing. The latest annual ecommerce study by IAB Spain, highlights that only in Spain already 40% of users make their online purchases through their phone. Thus, it is a good idea to choose gateway that accepts payments from mobile devices.

Cost of the service

The first thing you’ll probably think about when you’re choosing a gateway is: How much will it cost me? A useful tool that can give you a quick answer is the PaymentBrain price comparator, which is specialized in the payment gateway sector.

In the integration process the costs are variable. It all depends on your ecommerce platform, its flexibility and adaptability. The number of specialists needed to complete the integration depends on the difficulty of the process itself.

Some ecommerce companies decide to use unqualified support to minimize costs. However, sometimes it is better to hire skilled professionals and avoid unnecessary risks.

In some cases to keep the payment gateway active (“maintenance cost”) you must pay a monthly fee. Nevertheless, transaction costs tend to vary depending on the gateway and the volume of sales they process.

Some gateways with the most competitive charging commissions are Stripe or Braintree.

  • The first one charges 1.4% + 0.25€ for each successful transaction. However, for non-European cards the commission is 2.9%. For refunds the collection fee is a little more than 15€.
  • As for Braintree, they charge commissions of 1.9% + 0.30€ for European cards and 2.9% + 0.30€ for non-European cards per transaction and 15€ for returns.

If you choose a virtual POS you should know that transaction fees vary depending on the conditions set by the bank. In general these commissions are around 1%.

Direct payment management

A simple and usable checkout increases the user’s positive valuation of your business. Most of this can be solved with the advantages offered by APIs.

APIs (Application Programming Interface) are one of the tools that allows you to make a difference in the relationship you establish with your customers today. With them you can connect services and data in the interaction process, you can improve services and anticipate the interests and habits of consumption.

When choosing a payment gateway it is important to know the strengths and advantages provided by the API (or several of them) with which it works. Knowing these details would mean knowing in advance the scope of your business.

A complete API guarantees an advanced control of payments, a better data management and a better positioning in front of the competition. By knowing your client, you will not only be able to provide better services, but you will also be able to add more value to the interaction by offering new opportunities.

Among the most common options are the APIs that allow payment to be made on the merchant’s own website. This way the customer does not have to go to external websites or add steps to the payment process.

Although the use of the mobile phone is unstoppable, in e-commerce sometimes the user experience with these devices is not the best. The solution to better adapt to the preferences of your users can be mobile applications that have APIs that can be integrated into multiple platforms.

Security features

Popular security requirements include SSL security certificates, Address Verification Systems (AVS), and security standards regulated by the Payment Card Industry (PCI).

The Payment Services Directive II or PSD2 is a European directive that will change the current regulation of banking and payments. The PSD2 will have to be taken into account by all those companies that offer payment services.Is your business ready for PSD2?

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocols let you know when a server is secure. One of the main contributions of this technology is the encryption of transaction data between the three parties (banks, card issuer and online store).

This prevents any unwanted information from ending up in the hands of a stranger. A simple way to identify a secure server is to set the URL to begin with https:// and recognize the typical closed padlock in the browser.

The Address Verification System (AVS) requires the buyer to provide the fiscal address to which the card is linked. It is an anti-fraud mechanism that makes it possible to authenticate the identity of the buyer by corroborating that he is actually the owner of the card.

Regardless of whether it is a service provider (card issuers, payment gateways, etc.) or a financial institution, any business that processes, transmits or stores payment card data (credit or debit) must comply with a set of standards established by the PCI SSC (Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council).

The objective of these standards is to reduce the risks of fraud and other vulnerabilities by protecting cardholder data. Compliance with these standards gives consumers confidence, which will be directly reflected in the brand’s reputation.

It is important to obtain a certification that enables your company to process card payments securely. This can be achieved through an audit or by running a rigorous supervised self-assessment. Which option applies to your business will depend on the volume of transactions processed annually. The tokenization service is one of the best strategies for data protection of the payment cards. Tokenization reduces the number of servers that have access to cardholder information.

Through this service during the transaction, the PAN (account number) is replaced by a token code uniquely associated with the actual card data. This substitution is done through an encryption process and the operation of the card is not affected at any time.
The tokenization is an effective way to avoid duplication of cardholder information in the data flows generated in a transaction.

In current regulations there is a set of requirements to be met to obtain this certification. Some of these requirements are to test the security processes regularly, encrypt the transmission of card data, maintain a firewall configuration that protects the data and change the security parameters that come by default (passwords, for example).

Another measure of security to take into account is tokenization. The tokenization service is one of the best strategies for data protection of the payment cards. Tokenization reduces the number of servers that have access to cardholder information.

Through this service during the transaction, the PAN (account number) is replaced by a token code uniquely associated with the actual card data. This substitution is done through an encryption process and the operation of the card is not affected at any time. The tokenization is an effective way to avoid duplication of cardholder information in the data flows generated in a transaction.

Payment by card is still the preferred choice of consumers worldwide and no security requirement is unnecessary when talking about the convenience and protection of users’ private data.

Customized resources

One of the resources that a payment gateway can offer are customized reports and graphs that allow a better understanding of the entire commercial operation.

For gateway providers it is essential to know which payment methods consumers use the most, which currencies and credit cards they use. All the information that you are able to obtain through payments can be used to help your business grow. In this sense, an intuitive dashboard makes it easier to easily use transaction information.

There are gateways for recurring subscriptions or payments and although this may seem more expensive at the beginning is appropriate to assess if the intention is to build a good brand image. Loyalty criteria continue to work for users.

Knowing your audience, in addition to trying to increase the positive perception they have of your business depends a lot on what you can provide.

At this point, as you may have imagined, the APIs that the gateway works with are essential. Today the attention of ecommerce is focused on implementing data management processes that facilitate a better user experience. Much of this is achieved with a good API, the relevance of which has previously been mentioned.


Many of the gateways accept a large group of currencies so it’s just a matter of checking which one best suits your interests. If your business is not multinational and is more focused on a specific market, it is best to value a payment gateway that includes the preferences of your users.

What should not happen is that part of your public is marginalized because the currency in which they pay is not included in any of the gateways you have implemented. Not having an integrated gateway that accepts international currencies will irreversibly affect your conversion rate.

When it comes to customer service and technical support, it is recommended to find a competent and fast service. The option that the integrated gateway includes the management of this service is the most recommended. In this way, the necessary solutions can be quickly adapted to the needs of suppliers and consumers. As a customer you will appreciate that if the gateway stops working for any reason, there is a 24/7 technical support service.

The best option is a gateway that combines the usual communication channels. However, this requirement is not always fully implemented in any of the gateways.

The best used method is email. There are customers who prefer a more personalized treatment and some gateways use the phone (such as PayPal in some countries) or a chatbot.

Virtual POS, for example, do not have a good reputation in the field of customer support. But as we have already mentioned, it is almost an obligatory solution to implement them due to their high acceptance rates.



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