So which payment gateways work best for you during these trying times? Depending on the volume of your offline and/or online transactions and online presence, you will either need to select a payment gateway that offers free setup that does not require a merchant account or select one that charges a monthly fee and has a higher setup cost.
Which Payment Gateway is Right for Me?
Transaction data is extremely valuable to hackers, so the implementation of the latest security should be a payment gateway's main priority. In addition, make sure the payment gateway is fully compliant with the security initiatives set forth by major credit card providers including:
- The Visa Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP)
- MasterCard Site Data Protection (SDP)
- Discover Information Security and Compliance (DISC)
If you select a relatively unknown gateway provider, verify that the service is compliant with all of the above initiatives, offers a good level of support and is credible. Not taking these proper steps could cause you to pay higher fees, get your account closed, and possibly get your business added to a credit card processing blacklist (known as The Match File).
The next step is to research all of the convenient features a payment gateway provides, such as:
- A virtual terminal. It allows you to manually process credit card payments on the spot, issue returns and void previous transactions.
- Fraud prevention tools. If you have been in business for over six months or longer, choosing a gateway provider that offers fraud prevention tools, like address verification or filters to narrow the scope of people or places you receive payments from, will allow you more time making legitimate sales and promoting your business instead of constantly dealing with chargebacks.
- Recurring billing. This convenient tool allows you to store credit card billing information and set up the specific time when to charge the customer with your gateway to avoid re-entering their information every month when their subscription or membership payment is due.
- eCheck Processing is an increasingly popular payment method that allows payment processing without them having to send you a physical check.
Additionally, selecting a payment gateway that accepts a few foreign currencies aside from the USD, allows for integration solutions and add-ons (i.e., shopping carts, eCommerce, point-of-sales (POS) and billing solutions can help toward a seamless setup and maintenance process as you manage your business’s growth now and in later months.
Free or Fee?
If you’re processing a lot of transactions, it's a good idea to choose a payment gateway that charges a monthly fee and a higher setup cost (will eventually pay for itself) and open a merchant account. The process requires some paperwork, and takes two-five days for the payment gateway to run the appropriate credit checks. Next, call your bank and ask them to set you up an Internet merchant account that will allow you to make transaction without swiping a physical credit card. Costs related to signing up for a payment gateway will typically include:
- A one-time setup fee ranging from $49 – $250.
- A transaction rate charge for every credit card transaction you make ranging from 2-6 percent that will greatly depending on your merchant account setup.
- A monthly fee (some fees are optional) that varies depending on the services and functions you choose or that your gateway offers.
- A flat fee usually under 50 cents per transaction.