Small Businesses: Everything You Need To Know To Get Started With Payment Gateways in 2016

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So, you’re launching yournewecommercestore.com and are ready to take over the world.  Figuring out how you’re going to accept money is one of the most important steps you’ll take. With tons of options to choose from, it is a tough decision.

Most e-commerce operators will agree – choosing which platform to use and which gateway to use are two of the most important decisions you’ll make in regards to your new venture.

To cut to the chase, here are our top 3 recommendations:

  1. Stripe

  2. Paypal

  3. Authorize.net

This guide can help you ask the right questions to point you in the right direction:

1. What is the total cost? Are there hidden fees?

Payment gateways have different ways that they charge their customers.  The structure can be based around monthly fees, variable fees based on a percentage of transaction amounts, fixed fees per transaction. Always look at the fine print – what are the extra fees for things like chargebacks or payments from international cards?

PaymentBrain.co.uk is a great source of information to get an overview of fees and compare the different gateways before signing with a provider.

2. Is the Gateway compatible with your e-commerce platform?

Double check the compatibility of your platform with the gateway. Are you using a SaaS-based platform like Shopify or BigCommerce? If so, check out their app stores. Self-hosted platforms like Magento also have app stores (Magento calls them extensions).  

No matter which platform you’ve chosen, there will be a variety of plugins, extensions, and apps to help you integrate your gateway with your platform. Ideally, you’ll chose a gateway that has a pre-built and well reviewed app within your platform’s marketplace.

3. Does the gateway do exactly what you need?

While this may sound basic, you’ll want to check specifically about your type of product or service. Are you doing one-off payments? Do you have members making recurring monthly payments? Does your site function as a marketplace empowering individual sellers to sell?

Additionally, if you are selling restricted products such as weapons or supplements, you’ll want to make sure your gateway processes sales on such items.

Some examples of industries deemed ‘high-risk’ by certain gateways include:

  • Gambling
  • Electronic Cigarettes
  • Adult Content
  • Dietary Products
  • Travel
  • Credit Repair
  • Tobacco
  • Debt Collection

4. Do you want to offer your customers multiple payment options?

Many e-commerce shops have several options with which to complete a transaction.  Some examples include PayPal, Amazon Payments, or even Bitcoin.

This is a good strategy benefitting both the retailer and the shopper.  If there is a problem with your main gateway, a secondary source like Paypal can still allow a shopper to complete a transaction.  If the shopper feels wary about entering their payment information on yet another website, they can use a login-based service like Paypal to complete the transaction quickly.

5. Is the gateway well-respected and well-rated?

Making sure that your customer is able to spend money when they want to spend money is of the utmost importance. You’ll want to do some quick research on outage times and issues that your potential gateways have faced.

A payment gateway with minimal outage time, fast & effective customer service, and no hacking issues will ensure that your business won’t suffer at the whims of another company’s mistakes.

Making the Decision

If you’ve considered the questions listed above and have done your due diligence, you are on your way to selecting a great payment gateway for your business.

Below you will find our recommendations for great payment gateways for new or small businesses.  These gateways have a great combination of fee-structure, customer service, reputation, and functionality for businesses that are starting to pick up steam on the web.

stripe-donations

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Authorize.net-Logo

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