How to choose a payment gateway – 4 key areas to consider

With so many payment gateways to choose from, how do you know you’re picking the right one for your business? It’s an especially important decision considering it’s going to impact so many aspects of your business.

Here are the key areas you need to consider when selecting your payment gateway:

1) Security

2) White-Label Experience

3) Ease of Use

4) Additional Features

1. Security

The first thing you need to consider is the security of your payment gateway. Has the payment gateway had any security breaches in its history? The last thing you’d want is a breach of your customers’ data. Ensure that your payment gateway is:

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PCI Compliant

In addition to a payment gateway’s clean history, you should also ensure that it’s PCI Compliant. This is the Payment Card Industry Security Standards. It’s pretty much a set of best practices developed by a forum of global brands like Mastercard, Visa and American express. In short, it effectively keeps your customer data safe.

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SCA Compliant

If you’re in Europe, there are a new set of requirements known as Strong Customer Authentication that will impact on online payments when banks of both the operator and card holder are European. These requirements are expected to be enforced over the course of 2020 and 2021. The main takeaway here is that you select a payment gateway that is SCA compliant.

*SCA may not be mandatory now, but you want to ensure that when it is, your payment gateway is ready. Otherwise, you’d have to go through the hassle of setting up a new payment gateway again.

2. White-label Experience (Using your own branding for the booking/ checkout experience)

Are you able to customize the payment gateway page to match your own website? Imagine that Sally was booking a tour on Bob’s Kayaking Tours and is redirected to a page called ipayments.net which looks nothing like the website she was on. If you were Sally, how would you feel? You’d think it was unsafe, sketchy, etc. And you’d likely close the webpage.

Our Advice

The best way to increase conversions is to ensure the entire booking journey has a smooth flow from start to finish. So choose a payment gateway which allows for a white-label experience. Customize the payment gateway page to resemble your website as closely as possible.

3. Ease of Use

When we say ease of use, we mean for both you and the customer.  Here are some features that make it easier for the customer to check out:

 

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Guest Checkout

Some payment gateways require your customers to create an account to finalize their payment. This can be a huge hassle and is where plenty of customers drop-off. A guest checkout allows your customers to check out as a guest, without needing to sign-up, making the process as fast and frictionless as possible for your customer.

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Device Compatibility

Plenty of customers now make payments on mobile and tablet. In fact, in the US, 51% of customers online make payments through mobile vs desktop. So you want to ensure that your payment gateway will work across a range of devices.

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Customizable Forms

Your payment gateway should also allow you to remove unwanted or irrelevant form fields. For example, since you provide tours, shipping information is completely unnecessary. Removing these irrelevant fields makes the process quicker and easier for the customer.

Here are some features that would make it easier for you:

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Ease of setting up or migrating

Does it integrate easily with your booking software solution? How easy is it to set-up and get approved? How easy is it to migrate from your current payment gateway? This may be a one-time thing, but it can still be a huge hassle. Especially if you’ve peak season coming up soon!

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Dashboards And Reporting

How easy is it for you to navigate through the system and find what you’re looking for? How effective are the reports? You’re going to want something that’ll show you everything you need to know at a glance, as well as filters that’ll let you easily dig deeper into the data.

Our Advice:

Make a list of the things that are important to you and your customer. Check off each item to find the payment gateway that suits your needs best.

4. Additional Features

Here are some additional features you should consider when selecting your payment gateway.

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Global Solution

If your customers come from all over the world then you’ll need a system that can handle payments from all around the world. Consider the payment options the gateway can support. What are the types of credit cards and debit cards that it can accept? What about currencies, how many can it handle? For example, in Chinese customers generally use Alipay, Wechat Pay & Union Pay. Can your payment gateway handle it? Will the payment gateway be able to handle digital wallets like GooglePay and ApplePay?

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Email/ Text Communications

Do your customers pay a percentage as a reservation fee and the remainder before the tour? If that was the case, you would need to set up email or text reminders to remind the customers to make payments. Your payment gateway should also be able to automatically generate electronic invoices to be sent to the customer through email or text.

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Saved Payments

Finally, you may want to consider a payment gateway that can securely save your customers payment information. If your business tends to attract repeat customers, this will make it a lot easier to get repeat bookings. This will also allow you to save payment information during booking and only charge during the day of the activity. Reducing a customers upfront commitment increases their likelihood to book.

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