Payment gateway for website
What is a payment gateway for a website?
A payment gateway for a website is a special technical solution that enables the website owner to accept online transactions from customers.
Regardless of the type of website you have, e.g. blog, online store, landing page for a product or service, or any other, a payment gateway is a tool you can use to accept payments conveniently and securely. It is needed primarily to enable credit or debit card transactions on your website.
If you’re not planning on working with card transactions and choose crypto instead, you don’t necessarily need a payment gateway.
How does a payment gateway work?
As we’ve just found out, a payment gateway is needed primarily to process bank card transactions. It happens as follows:
- A customer visits your website and initiates an online transaction by clicking “Pay”, “Buy”, “Purchase”, or any other button you have on your website initiating the payment process.
- Your website displays a payment page, either custom-made or provided to you by your payment service provider.
- A customer enters their credit card data on the payment page.
- Your payment gateway encrypts bank card details and securely forwards the information to the payment processor via SSL connection.
- The processor contacts the card network, whose brand logo is printed on the customer’s bank card.
- The card network sends an authorisation request to the card-issuing bank. In its turn, the bank replies with a code containing the transaction status.
- The payment processor forwards the response code containing the approval or decline of the transaction to your acquiring bank through a payment gateway.
- The gateway sends it to your website, displaying a success or failure message to the customer.
Luckily, it all happens seamlessly for you and your customer and takes just a few seconds.
How to choose a payment gateway for a website?
There are three basic steps in choosing a payment gateway for your website. The first is about understanding your expectations, the second is about understanding the subject, and the last one is about the actual parameters to look for in a gateway. Let’s learn about them in greater detail.
Clarify your business needs and requirements
The kind of website you have largely affects your payment needs.
For example, suppose your website is in the e-commerce field. In that case, you’ll need a number of payment options in addition to bank cards to improve customer experience and minimise shopping cart abandonment rates. If your website is an online casino, it’s worth accepting transactions in crypto. If you have a charity website, you should be able to accept donations of various amounts smoothly for the convenience of philanthropists. Take your business specifics into account to know exactly what you need your payment partner to help you with.
We highly recommend calculating your budget for a payment gateway and thinking carefully about all the online transaction processing features you may need.
Decide on the gateway type
There are two types of payment gateways as per the integration process:
- Hosted payment gateways. It means a customer gets redirected to your payment partner’s platform to input their bank card details. The benefits of this approach are ease of integration and less responsibility for security and sensitive data protection on your side. As for the downturns, these are the fact that you entrust the solution with your payment processes and flows entirely and that sometimes hosted gateways are relatively slow.
- Integrated, or non-hosted payment gateways. As opposed to the first option, in this case, the customer inputs the data on your website without any redirection, and thus you’re largely responsible for security. Moreover, sometimes you have to work on your website’s architecture to use some of the features the gateway supports.
Explore the options
After completing the first steps, you now have a decent foundation to start exploring the market. Some vital questions to ask yourself or the gateways’ representatives on this stage are:
- What payment methods does the gateway support? Are the methods I need on the list?
- Which transaction processing features it provides?
- What are the supported currencies and coverage?
- How much will the gateway charge me, and how often I’ll have to pay?
- What value-added services does this provider offer?
- Is it reliable and trustworthy? Do they have a PCI DSS certificate?
- What do current customers say in their reviews?
It is not the full list, and the input you received on the first step will help you tailor and complete it.
How to integrate a payment gateway into your website?
We already know about the two basic types of gateways per integration criteria. The process you’ll have to pass highly depends on the type you’ll choose, and the only surefire way to know the exact steps is to examine the documentation of the chosen solution provider. However, we can outline the basics of the integration process that are common for most cases.
First, you sign the agreement with the vendor. Usually, they’ll assign you an account manager or support specialist to guide you through the onboarding process, help with documentation and the integration itself.
Then starts the APIs integration process. The provider gives you the security credentials. Namely, the access key and secret key that you can use to integrate those APIs on your local environment to test how everything works. You can use dummy credentials to test the transaction flow from start to finish.
If the testing was successful and everything works the way it should, the payment gateway will give you live credentials and a merchant ID. After that, you’re free to bring it online and start accepting real transactions from your customers. You’d be able to customise the checkout page and enable different features, currencies and payment methods.
Remember about security. With a hosted gateway, you need an SSL certificate for your website. With a non-hosted one, things are quite more complicated, and you’ll most likely need to pass the PCI DSS assessment.
As for Corefy, our clients need to be PCI DSS compliant only in case they decide to host a checkout page on their side and work server-to-server. In other cases, there's no need for them to be PCI DSS compliant. Contact us for more information!
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