Imagine this: you are shopping online (for business or personal items) for a specific item. After hours (or days or weeks!) of watching reviews of Youtube and Instagram reviews, browsing and searching online, narrowing down your top choices, and finally deciding on a specific product – you can’t check out! Your chosen payment isn’t accepted and no matter what you do, you keep getting an error. You know your card is approved and has been working so it must be something with the website. You were finally happy with your purchasing decision and then this happens. It is so frustrating!
An imperfect shopping experience, whether the homepage won’t load, the search is broken, or you just can’t check out, negatively impacts your view of the brand. For brands to choose to sell online, these lackluster shopping experiences are always painful to discover, especially when they prevent shoppers from successfully checking out.
Brands who prioritize customer experiences know that it isn’t all about beautiful content and personalized recommendations. Ensuring you have the correct technology to power quick and easy purchasing experiences is also crucial. A key element of this experience is powered by digital commerce payment vendors and a key aspect of payment vendors are payment gateways. This blog post with explain the importance and provide an overview of top online payment gateways.
What is a Digital Commerce Payment Vendor?
Digital commerce payment vendors should be treated as a necessary and strategic part of your complete commerce solution. According to Gartner:
Digital commerce payments are electronic payments, often made with real-time authorization, that are used to support digital commerce transactions. Digital commerce payment vendors provide some combination of a payment gateway, payment processing, acquiring services, payment security and fraud detection.
Brands often use multiple payment vendors based on their customer preferences, geographic location, and ease of integration. There are a variety of digital commerce payment vendors each with different strengths and weaknesses that may them a fit for specific types of brands
What is an Online Payment Gateway?
Online payment gateways are often part of digital commerce payment vendor’s complete offering. According to Gartner:
Payment gateways initiate payments at the request of merchants and return the responses to those merchants. They offer preexisting connections and certified integrations with key payment acquirers and processors, and many have integrations with other providers within the greater digital commerce ecosystem.
There are multiple types of online payment gateways, each relevant for different brands based on their technology stack and customer needs. A key difference in online payment gateways is agnostic, dedicated, and directed.
These connect to a variety of different payment processors where the brand has a relationship with those processors. This means that brands can build one experiences on the front end for customers. But, on the backend they have the flexibility to swap their chosen processors as their needs change. Whether that be for geographic expansion or inclusive of a new payment method (ex: AmazonPay), brands can swap without impacting the front experience. Examples of agnostic online payment gateways include Cybersource and ACI Worldwide.
These are the opposite of agnostic online payment gateways. They are owned by the payment facilitator and are used solely to connect to that processor. Examples of dedicated online payment gateways are Adyen, PayPal Braintree, and Stripe.
These are like agnostic because they connect to multiple processors. But, the brand does not have a relationship with the processor. Instead, the gateway vendor directs traffic to the relevant processor as needed for each transaction. Examples of directed online payment gateways are checkout.com and Bluesnap.
Why do I need an online payment gateway?
Simply put, you need an online payment gateway to process credit card transactions. Payment gateways transfer money between your customer’s account to brand’s account by passing credit card information and transaction information.
10 Best Payment Gateway Providers For Digitally Driven Brands
With Amazon Pay, Amazon customers can pay with their existing amazon without leaving your website. Contracts with Amazonpayments can be 2.9% + $0.30 for domestic U.S. transactions. Amazonpayments has a lot of key integration partners and consulting agencies as well.
A single platform for global payment coverage wherever you operate your eCommerce business out of. Easy to add additional sales channels that are consistently up to date with regulations like GDPR, PSD2 and PCI compliance. Ayden supports a large array of Payment Methods and pricing is listed here in their tool: https://www.adyen.com/pricing.
A Visa solution, Authorize.net accepts credit cards, contactless payment and eChecks in person and on the go. Winner of “The Strawhecker Group Award” for “Best API Integration” two years in a row, Authorize.net has an all-in-one option that is 2.9% +$0.30 or the Gateway only that is $25 a month and $0.10 per transaction with a daily batch fee of $0.10.
A Paypal service, with 20+ years of eCommerce payment experience, Braintree integrates with a large variety of payment methods, including Venmo in the U.S. Braintree offers global coverage for 130+ currencies in 45+ regions. They offer “Standard Pricing” which is on par with the rest of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction or tailored custom pricing based on volume and business model.
CardConnect provides a variety of solutions for multiple business needs for payment gateway integration. Pricing options include their Basic Plan (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction) or the Pro plan (1.89% + $0.23 with $19.95/month fee). CardConnect also runs “Interchange Optimization” to ensure the lowest Credit Card fees and rates for your payment gateway.
Also a Visa Solution, CyberSource touts its 260+ fraud detectors and, offers payment acceptance in 97% of all countries and territories in the world. A single platform solution that offers many of the features of other payment gateways on this list with a lot of content tailored for business users and for developers utilizing the gateway API.
PayPal offers two different options for payment gateways, based on needs:
A solution for any size business that wants to incorporate Paypal accounts as a means to quickly login and checkout on their website. A direct API that can integrate into most systems and a team to help with integration if needed. Available in 202 countries and 25 different currencies. Charge a 3.4% + $0.30 per transaction, and international sales are 4.4% + a fixed fee per transaction based on the currency.
PayPal Payflow Pro works in 202 countries and with 25 currencies. With two different plans available, the Payflow Link is $0/month with checkout hosted by Paypal. The Payflow Pro option is unlimited checkout customization to make your checkout unique to your business. The cost is only $0.10 per transaction for one of the lowest rates available.
Square provides a flexible payment gateway with numerous customization options and a $65B ecosystem of payments to minimize your payment risks. Square also allows payments on Apps, existing software integrations and more with ease. Square is a leader for in-person payments. Transaction costs are 2.6% and $0.10 for each.
Stripe boasts one of the most technologically advanced payment gateways with hundreds of features and improvements yearly to stay ahead of industry shifts, deploying their production API 16x a day on average. With 135+ currencies and payment methods supported in over 35 countries, Stripe has decent global coverage. Stripe charges 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction and offers custom packages with product and volume discounts available.
A Stripe API that can handle complex payment flows. Some of the advantages of this API are automatic authentication handling, no double charges, no idempotency key issues and support for SCA and other regulatory changes.