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Payment Gateway Integration: All You Need to Know

It's a fact: today, customers wish to enjoy a swift, handy, and seamless shopping experience. Online shopping is evolving, and customers’ expectations are rising. And if you are going through the list of things that could significantly affect it, you've come to the right place. 

A web store should offer a variety of ways to pay for the desired goods. For your already sophisticated audience, the availability of preferable payment methods sometimes becomes a critical factor in making a purchase decision. This blog explains the ways to integrate a payment gateway into an online store.

What is a Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is a "bridge" helping transfer payments between customers and retailers. It links a web store with a merchant's bank and lets customers quickly pay for online purchases. We have covered the role of payment gateways in more detail in our last blog - check it out.

Below you can find a list of the most widespread payment gateways and an approximate number of users per each.

What is a Merchant Account

To access its earnings, an ecommerce business must maintain a merchant account - a bank account used to send and accept digital payments. A merchant account is provided by a merchant acquiring bank, which takes on financial risks and charges regular fees for its service.

Payment Gateway vs. Payment Processor

Do you know the difference between a payment gateway and a payment processor? The payment gateway is responsible for gathering card information from the customer and sending it to the payment processor. It takes place at the beginning of the transaction cycle and its end. 

The payment processor transfers the information and relevant buyer data securely from the buyers' bank to the merchant's bank and back.

When the transaction goes through, the payment gateway shares its results with
a buyer: approval or rejection statuses.

Payment Gateway Integration Methods

The payment system itself consists of the payment gateway and the method of its integration. Let's run through four common ways of payment gateway integration into an ecommerce site: hosted, self-hosted, API or non-hosted methods, and local bank integration.

1. Hosted Payment Gateways

A hosted solution to process the fee from a buyer to the merchant brings the consumer to a payment page hosted externally (that still belongs to the gateway). As soon as the confirmation is there, a buyer gets back to the web store. Then the checkout gets completed. Some widespread examples of such solutions are PayPal, Stripe, and AmazonPay.

Advantages:

  • No demand for PCI compliance
  • The payment provider is in charge of data protection
  • Seamless integration into a web store
  • The process is pretty flexible
  • Plug-and-play plugins for online stores

Weaknesses:

  • Redirect to an external site, which isn't comfortable for users
  • Limited options for branding
  • The payment provider handles the whole process
What is PCI
PCI (the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) helps to ensure that the seller processes credit cards data in a secured environment. The PCI standard involves any organization receiving, processing, or caching client information.

2. APIs or Non-Hosted Payment Gateways

A non-hosted payment gateway allows completing payments directly on an ecommerce site using APIs (Application Programming Interface). Using this integration method, merchants can easily manage the interface of the checkout page from beginning to end.

Advantages:

  • The page can be designed according to your needs
  • Faster checkout operations
  • Device-friendly - across mobiles, tablets, and so on.

Weaknesses:

  • It's a merchant's responsibility to cover all data protection concerns
  • It may require technical support and maintenance

3. Self-hosted Gateways

If expecting total control of all customers' payments, this method is probably the first-rate fit. The self-hosted way of integration allows accommodating all transactions on a website and then transferring them to the gateway through end-to-end encryption. Examples include QuickBooks Commerce's B2B Payments or Shopify Payments powered by Stripe.

Advantages:

  • The web store has total control over the payments
  • Style customization is available
  • Good for user experience

Weaknesses:

  • It is obligatory to comply with PCI
  • System failures may take place, as the checkout and payment happen in one place
  • There is no technical support

4. Local Bank Integration

This type of integration lets sellers shift money locally to the bank used by the buyer. After proceeding with the payment, the buyer gets on a landing page indicating the successful money transfer.

Advantages:

  • Great for small and medium companies that need a single payment

Weaknesses:

  • Limited user experience due to basic functionality and features. For example, the buyer won't be able to return funds.

How To Integrate a Payment Gateway for ecommerce

When considering hosted solutions, you could review ready-to-go plugins available on the market. Such gateway providers cover the basics you need. Usually, it's just a piece of code to be inserted into your site, plus adding a new payment option to your list. A few examples are below.

Stripe Integration Documentation

Amazon Pay Integration Documentation 

Authorize.net Integration Documentation

Google Pay Integration Documentation

Integrating with the API includes ecommerce programmers and a web designer. This method fits medium to large-scale businesses, where branding plays a more meaningful role.

Custom Payment Gateway Integration

The available payment gateways may not fully meet your business needs. In this case, you might need to get a customized payment gateway.

When do I need a custom gateway? 

Let's go through some of the scenarios:

  • You are a retailer to eliminate any third-party services
  • You are a billing company wishing to update or replace your software
  • You are a fast-growing payment provider looking for ways to enhance your product and extend the market share
  • You are an IT firm aimed to become payment service providers

It can be costly and time-consuming to customize a gateway. However, there are many advantages to it. It helps meet business-specific requirements while cutting costs on recurring fees that external payment gateways charge. Customizing
a gateway also makes a business a payment provider, which means it can charge fees to other sellers that use its gateway.

Wrapping it up

Using an unsuitable or weak payment system could turn off your clients. Consider what your competitors use and measure their effectiveness. In terms of integration methods, if you have a small business, it would be best to use a third-party system. But for more prominent market players - go with a customized version. 

Get the next blog series first.

Grinteq

Grinteq

Ecommerce digital agency proud of developing payment integrations with Square, Scalapay, Partial.ly, and other top industry brands.