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.

Public Relations Tip: The Beginning: Building an Authentic Brand

The Beginning: Building an Authentic Brand

Branding. No, not what they do before the round-up at the Crown Vee ranch, although if you don’t brand you’ll be just another among the herd.

Branding is what identifies you to the public. Once known as identity marketing, your brand defines your business, How You Look+How You Speak+How You Act=Your Personal Brand bubble quote for blogpost on branding by John Shiffert of Michael Kleiner Public Relations & Web Designdefines who you are, and what you intend to accomplish. Or, at least it should.

As a run-up to the Feb. 23 SBN Best Practices Forum (a plug for what should be an entertaining and informative event) we’ll look at some of the basics of branding, brand creation and brand management, because, in 2017, your brand epitomizes your business, or at least how you want your business to be recognized in the public eye.

Before you start any kind of brand creation, brand campaign, or re-branding, one requirement stands out before all others. Your brand must be authentic. Not what you hope to be some day, and not what you think you are, it must be authentic to who and what you are, right now.

How do you know that? Well, you can ask yourself, who am I? But, being objective about yourself isn’t always the easiest thing to do. You need outside direction and structured feedback from the public, and if you listen, they’ll tell you who Quote from Eric Erwin: The hardest thing for marketers is to turn over the brand experience to the community and let them define it". Complement to blogpost on branding by John Shiffert, Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Designyou really are. Think about polling your followers on Facebook or Twitter or gathering some colleagues together for a focus-group-like event. Remember, constructive criticism is helpful and that you might have to check your pride at the door if you want to discover how your business is perceived by others.

An example of an authentic brand?

How about Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design?

We’ve been around since 1999, and we do indeed make the unknown known. Just go to www.kleinerprweb.com to see examples of our work and our Marcomm services.Jeff Bezos of Amazon provides quote on branding to complement blogpost on branding by John Shiffert, Michael Kleiner Public Relations and Web Design

Tips from Mike and John on Dealing with the News Media, Part Two

art work for blog post on top 10 tips for dealing with the media by John Shiffert for Michael Kleiner PR & Web DesignTip Number 6) Controversy

When dealing with even a potentially controversial issue, don’t be afraid to ask your questioner your own questions. For example… “Can you give me an idea of how you came by this information?” (They’ll never tell you specifically, but you might get enough of an idea to help you know what’s going on behind the scenes… which will help before the camera or tape starts running.)

 Tip Number 7) The Worst Thing You Can Do

Never, ever, say, “no comment!” That is simply the worst thing you can do in a controversial situation. If there’s one thing the media cannot forgive (in controversial AND non-controversial situations), it’s someone who will not talk to them. This is, in their minds, the ultimate sin, a peche mortel. Guaranteed, they’ll stick your “no comment” comment in the middle of the story and make it look like either you’re an idiot, or you have something to hide, or both.

Be ready beforehand to explain your answers carefully. However, if indeed you are asked a question you don’t want to answer at that moment, one approach is to state you need more information from your sources (they have their sources, you have your sources… only fair, right?) before answering and you will get back to them once you have that information. That will buy some time to frame an answer… but make sure you do get back to them.

If you are unsure or nervous under these circumstances, consult a media relations/crisis situation professional. Run it by them, and practice your answer.

Tip Number 8) Market to the Media

Surprise, surprise! The news media wants exactly what you want… they want to get ahead in their jobs. If you can make their jobs easier, or if you know their hot buttons, your job (in terms of dealing with the media) will be a lot easier. This is the first rule of media relations. Marketing is basically the art of meeting the wants and needs of your public(s). In this case, the public is the news media and you want to market to them, by finding out their wants and needs.

Know the reporters who cover your story. That is the number one complaint of reporters, people pitching them don’t know what they write about. Every publication has a web site… go there. Do searches for articles about your topic. Stories will pop up. Read them. Most articles have an e-mail address and/or Twitter handle for the writer. Your pitch can say, “I know you write a lot about…. Well, our company does….”

Tip Number 9) They Know Nothing

One of the first rules of journalism is to assume that your readership knows virtually nothing about the subject of your story. Since public relations/media relations practitioners are basically journalists working from the other side of the street, that’s equally true when you’re answering news media questions. That is, you assume they don’t really know a great deal about the story, a not surprising assumption, since many reporters are generalists, not specialists, on the subject where YOU are the expert.

So, make sure you make your information clear, and, if necessary, offer to send them additional information, ideally in hard copy (i.e., by fax.)

Tip Number 10) When the Media Statement is About an Event, There Isn’t Time to Poll

Organization and association members and boards are sometimes leery of taking public positions on an issue and feel there needs to be a vote, a consensus. On a timely event, in the 24/7 news cycle, you don’t have time to poll everybody. Suppose the vote is 10-1. The organization/association should have an understanding of what they represent, so must trust the executive director and/or public relations/spokesperson to say the right thing. They’re in those positions for a reason.

For example, SBN wants to take a position on Donald Trump nominating anti-environmentalist Scott Pruitt to head the EPA. It can be assumed that in an organization like SBN, whose motto is People, Planet, Profit, the members are going to support a stand against Pruitt. CNN, Nightline and Rachel Maddow are waiting. You don’t have time to poll the members or the Board. You think the other people being interviewed cleared it first?

Tip Number 11) Handle With Care

Another way of looking at this list is as a guideline for handling the news media. As such, the best advice is, “handle with care.” Yes, you should also keep it simple. Be patient. Keep your cool (don’t overreact to inflammatory questions). Listen closely to what they are saying. Get to the point when answering. Journalists are looking for mnemonic quotes that anyone can understand.

In the end though, handle the news media with care. While they can, and do, give you free publicity in news stories, it’s not by definition the publicity you want, and the news media are NOT your friends. Their job is to sell — newspapers, web space, air time, etc. Not to support you. And they do that by publishing what they perceive is the story, not what you perceive.