Not all payment gateway solutions are created equal. In fact, what one person thinks is a best payment gateway may be entirely different than what another thinks. In short, a payment gateway facilitates the transfer of payment information from a point of origination to the back-end card processor, or in the case of an ACH transaction, to the third party ACH processor or ODFI bank. Some merchants are under the impression that a payment gateway is a merchant account itself. And while it’s true that many gateway providers can facilitate merchant account needs, a payment gateway solution is most flexible if it allows the merchant to use any merchant credit card account, using the gateway solution only to facilitate the transaction communications, security measures and other functionality while not dictating the back-end processor.
It takes time and effort to arrive at the best solution for gateway needs. Merchants looking for their best payment gateway solution have a number of factors to consider:
- Fees involved?
- PCI Compliance – how?
- Admin and user access limitations and configurations?
- Reporting capabilities?
- Receipts and their configurations?
- Back-end credit card processor connectivity?
- Can you use your existing merchant account?
- New merchant accounts available – If so, how many options?
- Additional anti-fraud utilities?
- Support systems – phone, email, live?
- Does it support superior ACH Processing (eChecks)?
- Recurring capabilities?
- Integration methods and API capabilities?
- Response times?
- Shopping cart integration?
- U.S. transactions only?
- Ease of implementation and use?
What the online world might think the best payment gateway functionality requirements are, these might not line-up with an ASP provider or a retail establishment. Merchants should investigate various options to find what is their best payment gateway. To obtain the best information that is specific to meeting your needs, one should contact gateway providers and paint a clear picture of their business model and what their unique needs are. Experienced professionals will help sort out the possibilities and match their gateway functionality to meet the prospective client’s needs.
It’s easy to list generic advice for finding the best payment gateway, but sorting through the hyperbole and arriving at an informed decision is the ultimate goal. Look for a payment gateway provider that backs their service up with a substantial guarantee. And always be on the lookout for companies who have been involved in charging ridiculous fees for discontinuation of services.