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Routing your eCommerce through a Payment Gateway

Think of a company where you regularly shop. How easy is the checkout process? The stores and websites you visit most likely have the smoothest checkout experiences. Your credit card gets approved in milliseconds. Your monthly payments are set up to get paid automatically. You can get reminders sent to your inbox or through text message. You may even have your credit card saved in a website or two.

None of this would be possible without payment gateways. And you don’t have to be a multi-million-dollar corporation to offer this seamless experience to your customers. Now, it’s easy for all small businesses to offer efficient checkout capabilities both in-store and online.

Whether it’s a one-time purchase or a recurring membership payment, processing transactions efficiently is an essential part of today’s business practices. Payment gateways can help you improve your customer experience, simplify your work behind-the-scenes, and grow your business.

What is a payment gateway?

First things first – let’s talk about what we mean by “payment gateway”. A payment gateway is a tool that allows businesses to accept card and electronic check payments, both online and in-person. It’s called a “gateway” because it is a third-party, PCI-compliant technology that acts as a bridge between you and your customers’ banks. It allows businesses to process payments while protecting PII (personally identifiable information). This protects both you and your customers from fraud and enhances the symbiotic relationship between merchant and consumer.

Payment gateway benefits

There are many attractive features to payment gateways. First of all, a payment gateway gives your customers options in their payment choices. No matter how they shop or how they wish to pay, payment gateways work for them. They can use credit cards to earn rewards or cash back, debit cards or electronic checks to account for funds faster, and even set up recurring payments.

Payment gateways also streamline the checkout process for repeat customers – you can offer this as another perk in exchange for their loyalty to your business! Any customer that wishes to keep their card on file with your business can avoid inputting payment information on every online purchase. And you can rest assured that their payment details are in compliance with PCI DSS guidelines.

Along with that, payment gateways allow customers to set up automatic payments. This is especially helpful for membership services or recurring monthly payments. As previously mentioned, customers no longer need to remember to go online and submit each individual payment, and you’ll no longer need to manually bill them repeatedly. Some payment gateways allow you to invoice anyone with an email address, and it will help you keep your records straight and manage your incoming payments.

Last but certainly not least, fraud prevention is perhaps the most important benefit of payment gateways. PCI DSS compliance is important for all businesses, but it’s especially critical for small businesses (one data breach can be enough to permanently close your doors). It’s easy to fail these standards if you’re trying to manage payment information on your own. A payment gateway takes the pressure off by giving you a secure place to store your customers’ private data.

What gateway is right for my business?

There is a lot to consider when it comes to purchasing a payment gateway for your small business. But no matter which payment gateway you choose, your choice in merchant service provider is the real key. An experienced provider should be able to help guide you to the best solution and then help you implement, manage and maintain your payment gateway.

You’ll also want to make sure you understand your processor’s payment structure before signing a contract. Many merchant services providers sell the same payment gateways, so it’s vital to find a provider that you trust to work alongside you to give you and your customers the best experience.

Reach out to us here if you’d like to learn more.

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