A Guide to Choosing the Best Payment Gateway for Your Business

In order to accept online payments you must have a payment gateway. Below are some options. John Hawthorne of Floship, a global e-commerce and crowdfunding fulfillment company, out lines how to select the right gateway listing pros and cons of some popular platforms. 

A Guide to Choosing the Best Payment Gateway for Your Business

If you’re running an online business, you need a way to accept payment. After all, you’re not running a charity. You’re trying to get your product or service in the hands of as many people as possible.

But choosing the proper payment gateway can be a confusing experience. So many different things to consider! So many different options! Which is the right one? Does it even matter which one you choose?

Yes…it does.

In this post, we’re going to examine the most popular payment gateways to help you decide which one is right for your business. Then we’re going to give you two important questions to ask before selecting your gateway.

What Is A Payment Gateway?

Simply put, a payment gateway is how you accept customer payments on your website. Unless you’re running a shady side business that only accepts suitcases full of cash, you’ll need some method of accepting credit cards on your site. Hence, the payment gateway.

Choosing the right payment gateway is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Costly lost sales.

    If your payment gateway doesn’t work properly or look professional, people will abandon their shopping carts, costing you precious sales.

  2. Customer confidence.

    You want customers to feel like you’re a legitimate business, which means you need to accept widely used forms of payment.

    When you only accept a single, obscure type of credit card, people won’t purchase from you.

    According to WorldPay, alternative payment methods (other than debit and credit) are going to account for up to 59% of all transactions in 2017, and your payment gateway must be able to handle that variety.

  3. Conversion rates.

    If customers don’t have a smooth checkout experience, they will vanish quicker than Donald Trump sending out an ill-advised Tweet.Your payment gateway should be quick, effective, and able to handle a variety of transactions.

    In fact, a survey by YouGov found that a whopping 50% of people would cancel their purchase if their preferred payment method was not available.

  4. Cost.

    Unfortunately, payment gateway companies aren’t providing their services out of the goodness of their hearts. They need to make money as well, and to do that they charge a variety of fees. Some charge an initial signup fee plus a transaction fee, while others are free and charge a transaction fee. When choosing your gateway, you want to evaluate the overall cost to your business.

Thankfully, you have several outstanding options to choose from when it comes to payment gateways. Let’s look at a few of them.

PayPal

Paypal Logo
Typically, PayPal is used as an “alternative” payment gateway in addition to a standard debit/credit processor, and it works well for those who don’t want to enter their information directly into a website.

Average Cost:

2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee

Advantages:

  • Familiar name to almost all customers, meaning they feel safe using it.
  • Large user base (165 million people).
  • Many people already have money in their accounts, making it simple to purchase through PayPal.
  • Handles international payments effectively by serving local currencies.
  • Works across all platforms since it is hosted on a separate site. If you use PayPal Express, you can avoid redirecting to another site.

    Disadvantages:

  • It’s more expensive. Some account may see monthly fees in addition to transaction fees.
  • If you don’t use PayPal Express, customers will be redirected to another site, possibly hurting your conversion rates.

    Stripe

 

Stripe Logo

Stripe has become a big player in the payment gateway market in recent years, allowing merchants to easily integrate it with their websites. This simple difference can mean a jump in conversion rates since customers don’t need to leave the site.

Average Cost:

2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee. 3.9% fixed international fee

Advantages:

  • Accepts 6 credit cards types versus the 5 that PayPal accepts.
  • Can be cheaper than PayPal since there are no monthly account fees.
  • Accepts more currencies than PayPal.

    Disadvantages:

  • Still somewhat expensive to use with a 2.9% transaction fee plus 30 cents per transaction.
  • It requires integration with websites, meaning some technical assistance may be required.
  • They only provide email support.

    Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments Logo
If you’ve purchased something on Amazon, you know how incredibly simple it is. Many times you can order things with a single click, which can be dangerous when you’re lacking impulse control. Amazon built their payment gateway to allow you to give customers the same smooth, seamless checkout process.

Average Cost:

2.9% + $0.30 per transaction and a $20 chargeback fee

Advantages:

  • Customers can use their Amazon 1-click information, which can dramatically increase conversions.
  • Amazon is a trusted ecommerce name and brand.
  • Sellers are protected against fraud through Amazon.

    Disadvantages:

  • For some bizarre reason, Amazon only lets customers purchase 20 items in a single transaction. If you anticipate selling more, this could be a problem.

    Authorize.net

authorize.net logo

Authorize.net has been in the payment gateway space for a long time (since 1996), and they have a lot of experience. They offer quite a few features that other companies don’t, and they’re owned by Visa, so you’re dealing with a reputable company. Unfortunately, they’re also pretty pricey.

Average Cost:

$49 setup fee, $25 monthly fee, $25 chargeback fee. 2.9% + $0.30 transaction fee.

Advantages:

  • Numerous features available found nowhere else, such as various security settings, fraud protection services, and subscription handling.
  • Very good support team available to help when you run into issues.
  • Owned by Visa.
  • Easy to integrate across a variety of platforms.

    Disadvantages:

  • It’s expensive. Yes, it offers more features, but you’re paying more for those features.
  • It requires some additional steps to ensure you’re in legal compliance.
  • It requires a merchant account.
  • If you decide to move off the Authorize.net platform, it can get very complicated to transfer your data.

    WorldPay

Worldpay Logo

WorldPay has been processing payments since 1994, giving them a large amount of experience in the payment gateway arena. They’re a large company, with over 150,000 clients in the United States alone. They do require a contract, however, which can be a significant downside.

Average Cost:

Signature debit transactions at 0.99%. Standard credit transactions at 1.99%. Rewards credit transactions at 2.6%. Corporate, T&E, Keyed-In credit transactions at 3.30%. $0.20 per-transaction fee.

Advantages:

  • Lower transaction rates.
  • Larger company.

    Disadvantages:

  • 3-year contract required with a cancellation fee if you opt out early.
  • Numerous fees and charges which can hurt profits.
  • Poor customer service.

    Two Considerations When Choosing Your Gateway

When deciding on your payment gateway, you need to ask yourself at least two questions.
1 – Will it easily integrate with my website/platform?

If it will cost you time and money to integrate your payment gateway into your website, you may want to consider choosing another. Also, if you have an older site or platform, the gateway may not easily work with your setup, requiring you to upgrade.

2 – Will this gateway help my business grow?

Does the payment gateway offer an incredibly smooth checkout process for customers? Are they any weird delays or hitches? Are customers forced to use another website. You want to create a seamless, simple, hassle-free process for your customers.

It’s tempting to choose the solution that costs the least, but that’s not always the ideal choice. Ultimately, a low cost solution can drive customers away through an unpleasant checkout experience. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What will keep them coming back again and again?

Conclusion

Growing a business is exciting. Seeing sales come pouring in is a shot of energy that helps you keep going even when things get tough. Choose the payment gateway that will work best with your company. Take time to do the research and read the reviews. Ask other online business owners what gateway they’ve used.

Yes, it may be tedious, but it’s worth your time. And money.

SBN and Eagles Fly with Messaging for the Sustainable Business

Did you know that the Philadelphia Eagles were a “green” organization? Well, everyone knows their color has been green starting with the 1948 NFL championship team, but now we’re talking about green, as in sustainability.

Ben Block, marketing and communications specialist for Clean Markets, chose the green Eagles as the subject for his case study for the Feb. 23 Sustainable Business Network’s of Greater Philadelphia (SBN) quarterly Best Practice Forum: Branding and Messaging for the Sustainable Business, held at WeWork Market Street in the Five Penn Center building in Center City Philadelphia. In using the Eagles’ sustainability initiatives as a starting point to discuss best messaging practices for promoting a sustainable business, Block kicked off a lively discussion among the assembled SBN members and panelists Sharon Gallagher (Sage Communications), yours truly 
Art for branding, reputation, mediaMichael Kleiner and John Shiffert (Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design) and Steve Rosen (Aloysius Butler & Clark).

The SBN community is comprised of members dedicated to incorporating sustainability into their mission. However, they face a significant challenge when communicating values to customers and the public. Thus, to help differentiate themselves as authentic and principled, SBN members need to develop a communication strategy that seamlessly incorporates their sustainability practices and goals into their brand. Block and his fellow panelists were tasked to help the forum’s participants develop plans that communicate these efforts in a way that resonates with current and prospective customers. In addition to his Eagles case study, Block also presented data on branding strategies used in the energy efficiency and green building industries.

One issue that the Eagles’ study brought up was that of messaging outside of an organization’s main or central brand… both the “why” and the “how” of such messaging. The Eagles are, of course, a professional football team, near and dear to the hearts of uncounted thousands in the metropolitan Philadelphia area. However, as popular as the Birds might be, they are not personally relevant to every Philadelphian, as several of the forum’s attendees pointed out (no, they weren’t Dallas Cowboys fans, they just didn’t follow football). Thus, the motives for Eagles’ sustainability efforts (as with all of the rest of their community engagement and involvement efforts) could well track to making the team more personally relevant outside of their main brand, a separate message that needs to be made distinct from the 53 players on the field.

Some of the other highlights of Block’s presentation, and the ensuing discussions, in addition to the concept of the necessity of making a brand personally relevant to as many audiences as possible, included another basic issue for SBN members, the fact that ecological  and financial sustainability is still not universally understood. As is the case with many branding-related issues, the techniques to overcoming can be summarized in a run-on sentence… you need to use authentic storytelling with short-term imagery, and it doesn’t hurt to have fun in the process.

Simple, right? OK, maybe not so simple. If you want to know more about authentic storytelling with short-term imagery that also incorporates some fun, check with Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design and mention “Kiwi Shoe Polish” for a discount.

Broadcast media panel offers tips on getting your story aired

Feb 17

@PPRA Broadcast Media Tips w/@DelgadoT62 @jodi_harris @kurtzpaul @EugeneSonn @6abcFYIPhilly Stephen McKenzie cbs3 @pyramidclubphlView from 52nd floor Pyramid Club, site of PPRA Meeting of Broadcast Media Tips

With technology continually changing the way we access news and how news organizations gather it, learning pitching tips for public relations pros never gets old. More than 80 Philadelphia Public Relations Association members agreed, and attended Broadcast Media Panel Offers Tips for Getting Your Stories on the Air on Feb 17 from the Pyramid Club’s 52nd floor perch overlooking the city. (Considering PPRA unveiled its new logo with the Philadelphia skyline in the back, the view was apropos.).

The panelists included four from TV: Iris Delgado, Anchor/Reporter for Telemundo62; Jodi Harris, Planning Manager/Producer Fox29; Stephen McKenzie, Managing Editor of CBS3 Eyewitness News, and Tim Walton, Producer Programming Department  FYIPhilly WPVI6, and two from radio: Paul Kurtz, Reporter at KYW Newsradio 1060, and Eugene Sonn, Audio News Director WHYY-FM. Susan Buehler of Buehler Media and Chief Communications Officer for PJM Interconnection, which coordinates electricity supply to 13 states, brought some of that energy to moderating the discussion. She did an excellent job of balancing the questions the audience would have for the media members and what they needed to tell us, and injecting humor along the way. Sometimes, these sessions can devolve into “pet peeves journalists have about PR people” and we feel like we’re being scolded. That wasn’t the case here.

Based on my and other tweets, here’s a summary of what the panel shared. McKenzie emphasized that a story must fit multiple platforms. “I have to decide what I think our viewers care about, and it has to fit on the air, on the Web, and on social, three platforms. It must have compelling video.”

The best times to pitch varied depending on when the station’s editorial planning meetings were scheduled during the day, and in the case of Delgado, who anchors a 5 p.m. newscast, “please don’t call me 15 minutes before I go on the air.” Good times to talk to her are between 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. before the 3 p.m. meeting. She will follow-up around 10 p.m. as she plans the stories for the next day.

MacKenize said between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., while Harris said, “pretty much anytime. I always have my phone. For bigger stories on lighter topics, contact me a few weeks in advance.”

Sonn echoed reporters’ complaints for generations: “It’s annoying when someone is pitching and has never seen the show, and the story doesn’t fit.” He added, “Around 2 p.m. is a good time to call. Think about times of the week that might be slow and you might have better luck with your pitch.  The story has to fit into 45 seconds.”

Kurtz said he prefers to be contacted by e-mail first, followed by a tweet through direct messaging, but the successful pitch can come down to luck and opportunity. ” It’s all about timing,” he said. “If you have an expert, who can speak on a current topic that’s helpful. Try newstips@kyw1060info.com to get ideas to us.”

For TV, Harris says, “The person has to be good on TV. Sometimes, we’ll look for an expert who we haven’t talked to before.”

Delgado said there’s a misconception about Spanish media. “Telemundo 62 covers what is in the English media in Spanish,” she said. “A Hispanic angle is important.

“Whatever the emotional, human angle may be, your pitch might be the best backup plan when another story falls through,” she added.

Walton, who works at FYIPhilly, says their demands are different. “We’re not a news show so there’s more open times to pitch,” he said. At the same time, he is currently accepting summer pitches.

They all chorused when Buehler said, “Keep it simple and brief: Headline, one paragraph. You need to have thick skin and keep trying if your first e-mail doesn’t get a response.”

The use of the Internet – should we be pitching web editors, too — and social media drew some interesting responses.

“Web Editors are not doing copy, they’re posting info,” said Harris.

Kurtz said the web has enabled them to do more with their stories. “While you may get a short amount of time on the radio, we put more copy on the Web and create podcasts, which are archived.  I covered the protests at the Democratic National Convention on Facebook live, the first time I used it.”

“Social media has broadened our audience beyond Greater Philadelphia,” said Sonn. “If you have a pitch with an expert who has a good social media following, mention it.”