Popular Payment Gateways for your Website
With the increase in demand for businesses to sell online throughout the last 18 months, the concept and functions of the payment gateway have become much more widely familiar to businesspeople.
If you’re selling online (which is what many businesses have had to pivot to during the pandemic), you will probably be using one already.
Not only are they generally required for the function of taking customers’ payment details, but also payment gateways are a way of offering peace of mind to your customer and reassuring them that where they are about to input their card details is safe and secure.
It’s likely that they may recognise the name of the payment gateway you are using, perhaps having used it on another website before, and feel comfortable that it is secure for them to use in their first transaction with you, giving them the confidence to go ahead with making their purchase.
You may already have a preferred choice of payment gateway, something you are already using perhaps, but with the range of options that is now available, it is best to compare and contrast each to ensure that you are using the most effective and efficient one for your business.
In this article, we take a look at some of the leading payment gateways, how they work and what their unique features are.
Worldpay offers credit card payment processing at a cost of 2.75% plus 20p per transaction. Its API is designed to be easy for developers to use, and comes with technical support.
Perhaps the most recognisable payment gateway around, it boasts on its website that it is the UK’s number 1 payments provider (information sourced from a 2015 report), processing 26 million transactions per day.
It prides itself on a quick set-up process, allowing businesses to start taking payments within just 24 hours from sign-up to go-live. This perhaps makes it more favourable if your business is looking to set up trading within a short space of time.
Other features it highlights include simple order management, including the issuing of refunds if needed, helping to keep customers happy when you cannot supply the goods they have ordered in a reasonable time-frame or if they are received defective or damaged. Worldpay also allows you to set up automatic recurring payments at intervals, allowing for multiple charges to be raised on an ongoing basis, e.g. monthly or annually, as may be appropriate to a subscription-based sales model.
Worldpay further promises high security, using fraud prevention technologies to monitor transactions and look out for any activity that may appear suspicious.
- Simple order management
- Recurring payments
- Fraud prevention
Paypal’s API integrates your website with its widely used electronic payments system. Domestic transactions are processed for 2.90% plus 30p. International transactions cost from 3.4% to 4.9% plus 30p, depending on the other country involved.
Paypal has become so widely used over the past twenty years that we are sure you will have at least heard of it or come across it online, and you may even hold an account yourself in order to make purchases on e-Commerce websites like eBay that have a long history of supporting it. Leveraging its two-sided network, this payment gateway allows your business to connect with the more than 295-million-strong base of customers who know and trust the brand.
A key feature Paypal highlights is its ability to cater for businesses of all sizes and a variety of types, including offering quick and simple set-up for small-to-medium-sized businesses, access to data and trends in customer behaviour in order to stay ahead of competitors in gaining insights into potential customers, options to partner with Paypal in order to contribute to its ongoing platform creation process, a smooth user experience for businesses operating online marketplaces, and a range of resources designed with developers in mind to ease integration with their own custom-built platforms.
It boasts of its ability to help businesses grow using its full 360-degree approach, which includes both accepting and making payments, and risk management and growth options. Thanks to Paypal’s wide pool of international customers and its developers’ many years’ accumulated experience, these tools may be worth using if you are looking to supercharge your business globally.
Other features that make Paypal favourable are its instant notifications of transactions, touch-free payment options, and the ability to send money to any other registered Paypal account in seconds.
- Quick and simple set-up
- Global market experience
- Send money in seconds
Amazon Pay integrates your website with Amazon’s payment processing system. It charges merchants 2.7% plus 30p per transaction for domestic payments, and from 3.1% to 4.2% for international ones.
In a similar vein to Paypal, Amazon Pay enables Amazon account holders to make payments for products and services to businesses and brands using their pre-stored information in their Amazon account. This again makes the payment process simple and quick for the millions of Amazon customers around the world, and also offers a level of established trust when they are making a payment. If for example you represent a new brand that is not well known, new customers may feel uncomfortable adding their payment details directly on your site, however if you offer a recognised secure payment system and one with which they already hold an account, then they are likely to be much more trusting and to continue through to completing their purchase.
Along with offering that added layer of trust that comes with using the Amazon brand name, this payment system also offers the same payment options for your site that it offers users on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com and the various other national Amazon websites. This means that customers can take advantage of paying in whichever way suits them, on the web, on mobile, or even via voice using Amazon’s Alexa. Adding a further level of recognition and ease for customers is likely to increase chances of sales conversion.
- Simple payment process for Amazon account holders
- Offers recognisable layer of trust
- Numerous payment options including voice control
Stripe processes the buyer’s credit card for a competitive 1.4% plus 20p per transaction, provided the card was issued within the UK or Europe. Fees for cards issued in other continents are higher.
With Stripe the go-to payment gateway of choice for some big names, including Booking.com, MADE and Monzo, it stands to reason that the service offered is competitive within this marketplace. This service allows for the accepting and sending of payments across the globe, and prides itself on the ability to enable payments for a whole host of users, whether online, in-person, or via a particular type of service platform.
Above all, however, Stripe wants to stand head and shoulders above the rest thanks to its technology-first approach to payments. It is constantly releasing improvements each year to allow users to stay ahead of the game, and has been using machine learning to ensure that it can offer valuable insight and helpful optimisation across the platform.
Like the others discussed before, this platform offers a super-quick set-up so you can start taking payments on your site almost immediately. It also offers a bespoke design service if what is needed for your site would be best made to order.
- Technology-first approach
- Constant improvement releases
- Fast set-up to enable almost immediate payments
Shopify Payments is a card payment processing service offered free of additional charge to paid-up subscribers to Shopify website hosting plans. These hosting plans come in three tiers to suit depending on the size and type of your business. Basic Shopify, Shopify and Advanced Shopify, ranging in price from $29 per month to $299 per month. Each has a range of features offered to ensure that it can provide the service needed for your business but all include Shopify Payments as standard.
To start using this payment system, all that is needed is to log in to your Shopify store and set-up, simply by turning the feature on. This payment plan allows customers to pay in a number of familiar ways including credit card, Apple Pay and Google Pay, whilst allowing for a complete overview of your business finances as you are able to track all orders and payments in a handy dashboard.
This option not only allows you to set up your payment gateway swiftly in order to start selling quickly but also offers a complementary system for hosting and setting up your initial webstore. With a wide range of customisable themes available, this one is attractive purely from the standpoint of the ease of setting up your business idea as an online shop.
If you find yourself using the Shopify hosting platform for your store but would prefer to use an alternative payment gateway, the platform also offers integration with over 100 third-party systems, allowing for flexibility if you want to trial another service. If you do decide on this option, be aware that additional percentage fees on transactions will apply – charged at 2% for Basic Shopify account holders.
- Numerous familiar payment methods accepted
- Customisable themes available
- Third-party integrations available for flexibility
OmniPay offers not only online payment but also payment by secure virtual terminal while you are talking to customers over the telephone.
Its bold statement is, ‘We are specialists in helping you grow your business’. Through the use of their expertise and a fully-rounded approach to how you can take payments, including online via payment gateway, face-to-face via card machine and over the phone via virtual terminal, this solution could offer the flexibility that your business and customers require.
Although transaction fees are not declared on its website and it invites businesses to apply for a custom quotation, potentially slowing the initial process up, this has not put off its 17,000+-strong base of customers who currently use the platform.
With its easy card provider switch process and boasts of better rates, requesting a quotation if you are already set up on a service may be an idea in order to see if this service really can prove competitive in the marketplace and offer a better solution for your business.
- Online payments, face-to-face and over the phone possible
- 17,000+ customers and counting
- Easy card provider switch process
Cardstream is a card payment processor that, unusually, charges a flat monthly fee of £18 over a minimum twelve-month contract. The flat fee includes an allowance for up to 350 transactions per month, with additional ones being charged at 9p each.
This system is what is known as a white-label payment gateway, specifically offering its customers the chance to move away from third-party payment systems and create their own branded version using the Cardstream solutions.
This personalisation of the complete payment process for businesses allows for the building of trust between business and customer, and could aid in customer retention.
Their technology is also compatible with merchants offering the ability for customers to pay online, on-mobile and over the phone, matching the offering of other payment gateways discussed in this respect.
- Customer branded payment systems available
- Personalisation and trust could aid customer retention
- Online, on-mobile and over the phone payments
(Formerly Sage Pay)
Opayo offers online and virtual terminal-based payments, as well as conventional card-processing terminals for physical store purchases. Its standard Flex Plan costs a flat £32 per month for up to 350 transactions, plus 12p for every additional one.
Some recognisable businesses using this payment gateway include Europcar, easyJet and Office Shoes, showing its weight in the market. Although these big names appear on its website, it does state that that it offers payment solutions for your business regardless of your size, perhaps so as not to put off smaller businesses.
The key payment solutions this system offers include online payments, face-to-face, virtual terminal, telephone, and online invoicing.
Formerly called Sage Pay, Opayo also boasts of its integration into Sage Accounts for nearly all of the above-mentioned solutions, apart from face-to-face payments, which has been announced as coming soon, perhaps making it attractive if your business is already using this software.
Similar to OmniPay, to get started with this system you can apply for an account online or alternatively you can call their team for more information.
- Trusted by big names including Europcar, easyJet and Office Shoes
- Payment solutions for businesses of all size
- Sage Accounts integration available
For payment gateways, we have seen that there are several workable options available, all charging different rates and offering different features and levels of service. With this in mind, it is always best to assess the specific needs of your business in relation to choosing a payment gateway for your website, to ensure that you opt for the most efficient and effective solution.
Determine exactly what you need from a payment gateway, and weigh up how well each of the options meets these requirements. If, after some research, you are still unsure of the best choice and how to move forward with your ecommerce website, then please do reach out for professional advice and help.
At GWS, we have many years’ experience building and developing ecommerce sites, so would be happy to discuss your needs and advise accordingly. View the services we offer here.