Select Columns LayoutOnline and mobile purchasing are becoming more common, and businesses across all industries are following the
trend. In addition to online purchasing, companies are offering perks like free shipping, shipping within a few business days or even online ordering with in-store pick-up. In order to have these types of secure transactions completed online, businesses can implement a payment gateway solution.A payment gateway is a service where credit card information is securely transferred from the consumer to the business’s merchant processor during an online purchase. Some of the major payment gateways include authorize.net, Chase and PayFlow. Here, we will cover how to set up a payment gateway, take advantage of payment gateway features and understand the support a business should receive from payment gateway providers.
Setting up a Payment Gateway
Setting up a payment gateway is a fairly easy process. The general steps to set it up include:Step One: Ensure all configuration requirements are set up on the e-commerce website. While gateway providers have different fields to fill out, the main requirements will always include the following:
- Name: A business can choose a name to represent the payment gateway. The name becomes more critical if multiple payment gateways are being used so a business owner can properly track transactions.
- Credit Cards Accepted: Select the credit cards that should be accepted when configuring the payment gateway. Ensure the business’s merchant account can also support the same credit cards in order to prevent any transaction errors.
- Verify New Credit Card: When a gateway is set up, new and updated credit cards all need to be verified. A payment gateway will request data from a customer, including the name, credit card number, billing address and the security code on the card. The payment gateway authorizes the transaction and will also decline the card if the credit card information is incorrect.
Additional information may be required depending on the payment gateway provider being used.Step Two: Once the payment gateway is configured, the next step is to test the gateway. The provider should have a test environment where a business owner can test valid and invalid credit card information. If there are issues in the test environment, the gateway provider should be able to give technical support to correct them.Step Three: If the test environment successfully detects valid and invalid transactions, the payment gateway is ready to be enabled, and customers can purchase products online.
Payment Gateway Features & Benefits
Payment gateways have several features that benefit both consumers and businesses. If a business implements a payment gateway, they can allow customers to safely purchase goods and services online on an e-commerce website. Adding this purchasing method expands a business’s customer base in the market. In addition, there are several payment gateways that provide options for purchasing products on a customer’ cell phone as a secure mobile payment. These purchasing methods are incredibly beneficial for their accessibility and ease of use, ultimately giving a business even more, well, business!
Transaction Error Detection
For a payment gateway to be successful, the goal is to create payment methods without any errors. It is in a payment
gateway provider’s best interest to create a smooth and easy process for a customer and business to complete a transaction. When a customer purchases a product or service online, the payment gateway provider sends the order information to the credit card/merchant processor. This is when errors can be caught in advance. The testing environment should help in identifying any errors prior to going live, but some of the most common errors at the point of transaction include:
- Incorrect credentials in the payment gateway setup. This requires the business to work with their payment gateway provider to ensure all errors are resolved.
- Processor decline, where the customer’s bank has declined the purchase. This is usually when the incorrect credit card number or expiration date are entered, the credit card has expired or it has insufficient funds.
- The customer inputs the credit card data after the time to purchase the product has expired.
When payment gateways detect these errors at the point of transaction, they can immediately re-request information from the credit card user to continue with the transaction. This helps to ensure all purchases are successful so both the business and customer are satisfied
Faster Options for Purchasing Products
In addition to creating an error-free environment for customers and businesses, payment gateways provide options for customers to make a purchase quickly and seamlessly. Two of these functions include recurring payments and shopping carts.
- Recurring Payments: Recurring payments refer to a contract or agreement that the customer has made with a business to pay for goods or services on a recurring basis. For example, a gym membership has a monthly fee, or someone could be part of a wine of the month club through a vineyard. For these types of recurring goods and services, a business can utilize a payment gateway to create recurring payments. This is where a customer will agree to allowing their credit card to be charged on a weekly, monthly or other established time instead of paying a bill every time the purchase needs to be made. This is an incredibly convenient method of payment for the customer, and it also ensures that the business will be paid on time.
- Shopping Carts: Shopping carts are another service from a payment gateway provider, and are also a convenient method for a customer to quickly make a purchase. If a customer sees a product they like on the business’s website, they can add the product to their shopping cart and continue to look at other products. Also, a customer can keep the item in their shopping cart if they are still deciding whether or not to purchase the product. Either way, should the customer move forward with buying the product or service, it is ready to be purchased/checked out in the shopping cart quickly and conveniently.
Safety and Security
Most importantly, payment gateways need to be secure. Customers want to know that their debit card and credit card data is protected when purchasing a product online to prevent fraud. In order to tackle this, payment gateways need to ensure all purchases are compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard
is referred to as PCI-DSS compliance. The PCI Security Standards Council is the governing body that determines the compliance requirements and was founded by the major creditors card companies, including American Express, Discover, JCB International, MasterCard and Visa Inc. To be PCI-DSS compliant, the payment gateway must meet twelve requirements:Goals: Build and Maintain a Secure NetworkPCI DSS Requirements:
- Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
- Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
Goals: Protect Cardholder DataPCI DSS Requirements:
- Protect stored cardholder data
- Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks
Goals: Maintain a Vulnerability Management ProgramPCI DSS Requirements:
- Use and regularly update anti-virus software or programs
- Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
Goals: Implement Strong Access Control MeasuresPCI DSS Requirements:
- Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know
- Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
- Restrict physical access to cardholder data
Goals: Regularly Monitor and Test NetworksPCI DSS Requirements:
- Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
- Regularly test security systems and processes
Goals: Maintain an Information Security PolicyPCI DSS Requirements:
- Maintain a policy that addresses information security for employees and contractors
Source: pcisecuritystandards.orgIf a business’s payment gateway provider is PCI compliant, a customer can rest assured that their personal information as well as their debit or credit card information are secure. This trust allows customers to return to the business and continue purchasing goods and services.
Another function that a business should take a look at when choosing a payment gateway provider is their support system. Payments should be made effortlessly by a customer, and convenience for the customer is the key to a positive experience. Should there be any errors in a purchase, a payment gateway should be able to detect them immediately. However, if the error is the payment gateway itself, then the provider needs to have a solid support system so businesses can contact them at any time to ensure customers can make their purchases. When looking at various payment gateway providers, a business should inquire:
- If support is offered 24/7, or during specific time frames
- How support is offered: over live chat online, over the phone, or over an online ticketing system
- If support is given to the business and customers if the transaction cannot be completed for any reason
- What type of support is covered with their plan, and if there are any upgrades available for better support
All-in-all, payment gateways provide an excellent service that allow businesses to set up online and mobile purchasing options. These options are a convenient way for customers to purchase goods and services, and the features and security standards allow this method of payment to thrive in today’s economy.