As a business owner, you know the necessity go a payment gateway. Do you know the different types of payment gateways? Check out this comparison guide to ensure you are using the one that maximizes your business’ profits. Read more now!
Most people are familiar with payment gateways without even knowing it. Payment gateways are a convenient service where credit card information is securely transferred from the consumer to the business’s merchant processor. Payment gateways verify a customer’s billing information and funds and approve purchases. Anyone who makes an online or mobile purchase utilizes a payment gateway to complete the purchase. Businesses are all following the trend, and this article outlines the different types of payment gateways that are available in the marketplace.
Before going into the different types of payment gateways, it is important to understand what a merchant account is. Merchant accounts are special bank accounts that allow for a business to accept multiple forms of payment, like debit or credit cards, as well as different brands of cards (like Visa, MasterCard or Discover). This conveniently provides the customer with the flexibility needed to purchase the product online.
A third party processor, also known as a payment processor, is a financial institution that provides all of the payment processing services. They connect to the payment gateway and the merchant account. Some payment processors can provide direct merchant account services as well, but not always. Examples of a third party processor include PayPal, Square and Stripe.
Now that you have a better understanding of payment gateways, merchant accounts and third party processors, you can research the different types of gateways to determine which is best for you and your small business.
There are two major types of payment gateways: modern payment gateways and classic payment gateways.
Classic Payment Gateways are typically utilized by larger businesses. Some examples of classic payment gateways include Authorize.net and WorldPay. These gateways can be more convenient for your business because their transaction fees are often lower than modern payment gateways. If a business has a customer base that will be purchasing products online on a regular basis, these fees can add up, and it may be worth it to set up a classic payment gateway. The cons to a classic payment gateway are:
Modern Payment Gateways include PayPal and Stripe. These gateways do not require a merchant account in order for a business to receive funds from a purchase. This means that a business is not required to open accounts with different banks and can be set up much more quickly as a result. A business can simply plug n’ play with a modern payment gateway. However, there are two major downsides to modern payment gateways:
It is typically best for a larger business with many online purchases to utilize a classic payment gateway due to the lower transaction fees. For a smaller business without as many online or mobile purchases, a modern payment gateway may be better so that they do not need to be held responsible for data security and PCI compliance.
In addition to comparing modern versus classic payment gateways, cost, security and ease of use are important factors to consider. Here is a high level comparison of a few major payment gateways:
Braintree was acquired by PayPal, and they accept traditional credit card payments, but also payments from Apple Pay, Venmo and Apple Pay.
Stripe is a modern payment gateway that is becoming more popular, especially with small businesses. Stripe has also come up with Atlas, which is a payment gateway product aimed at international purchasing.
Authorize.Net is a classic modern payment and has been a longstanding service since the 1990’s, but it isn’t easy to transfer data from it to another payment gateway if needed.
PayPal is one of the most popular payment gateways and falls in the modern gateway category. It can be used as a primary gateway, but it takes customers to their third party site, so some businesses use it as an option for purchasing.
Many small businesses like Square because it can easily connect to Apple products for purchases. The equipment is ideal for one time small purchases.
In order to navigate payment gateway options, businesses need to consider cost, security, ease of use and several other factors. All of these payment gateways have their pros and cons. Based on our research, here are a few final recommendations that might help as well:
PayPal stands out as the best payment gateway for small businesses. The main reason is because there are several different plans for online sales that can range from one-time events to heavy sales activity. There is also an easy plug-and-play design for almost all platforms.
The payment gateway with the most security features would be Stripe. Stripe is directly responsible for PCI compliance, whereas PayPal and others are not.
Authorize.Net is likely the easiest for a business that has their own merchant account. It has the most partnerships with merchant accounts given its long history in the business.