What are online payment solutions?
Many online shoppers use credit or debit cards. Online payment systems enable online stores to accept card transactions online. An online payment system often consists of three components - a merchant account which is a bank account that businesses use to accept credit/debit card payments, a payment gateway which manages the cardholder information transfer and a payment processor which manages the card transaction process.
A merchant account is a bank account, specifically designed for vendors who want to accept credit and debit cards. Merchant providers must obey regulations established by card associations.
A payment solution provider is the company that offers payment services and handles the transactions. They put in place anti-fraud measures to protect both you and your customers.
A payment gateway is an interface between the merchant's website and the payment solution provider. It enables the merchant to accept payments through their website in a secure and safe manner.
Note that the payment solution provider often offers both the merchant account as well as the payment gateway.
How to choose the best payment solution?
When choosing your payment service provider, there are several things to consider.
The level of encryption of data should always be a key concern, visitors to your site should feel safe. Also, consumers will often make a purchase based on the available payment methods. While offering a wide variety of payment options is the norm, extra options might enhance the customer experience.
Above all, a hassle-free experience will help sales dramatically. A negative or troublesome payment experience will most likely lead to a drop in total sales.
There are many good e-commerce payment systems. When choosing a company, there are five crucial factors to consider.
- Transaction fees - Payment solution providers typically charge different rates depending on several factors, such as the payment method. Make sure to compare the setup fees, monthly maintenance fees, transaction fees and associated fees. Take into account that the transactions and credit cards that offer customers rewards often include a higher rate. Typically, these are most attractive to your shoppers because they offer givebacks, in airline miles, loyalty points or cash bonuses.
- On or off-site transaction processing - Sometimes the system directs the user off your website to complete the transaction. This could negatively affect the payment experience of your customer. Some payment providers offer on and off-site transaction options and charge more for the on-site variant.
- Available payment methods - As an online store you might differentiate yourself through the payment solutions you offer. This includes credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets, gift cards, bitcoins and other third party payment options.
- Fraud protection and chargeback policy - As mentioned before, it's important to seek a payment solution provider that values protection and security. Strong payment gateways will have automated tools that help combat credit card fraud, some of which include the inherent ability to identify and stop suspicious transactions.
- Channels for outreach and type of transactions - Consider your own sales channels. Do you want to enable transaction through a mobile application? Are you selling subscriptions that require a recurring transaction? Make sure the payment solution providers offer the payment services that meet your demands.