Which payment gateway should you use for your site? – A comprehensive guide
Many of our clients look to us to evaluate the right payment gateway for them. This is a valid concern, as it involves business costs in the form of transaction fees, and affects customer convenience and sales conversion rates. In fact, a study shows that 50% of online shoppers would cancel their purchase if their preferred payment method was not available.
As a store owner, you should think about these questions before making a decision:
1. How easy is it to implement the payment gateway into my store?
Some payment gateways such as PayPal and Stripe have plugins that make it simple to integrate with most of the popular ecommerce platforms. However, some less popular payment gateways, such as those typically offered by banks, may require API integrations.
This usually means that a developer may have to spend 1-2 months developing this integration, and could cost you thousands of dollars. It also means that it may delay the launch of your site, which is also an opportunity cost for your business.
2. How does this payment gateway affect our customers’ experience when checking out?
Most payment gateways require the user to leave your site momentarily to complete the payment, while some have features that allow you to integrate the payment process within your site itself.
The drawback of integrating the payment process to be part of your site is that it usually requires a greater development effort and having the right security measures in place. This may increase development and ongoing costs.
Customers these days are usually used to being redirected to payment portals such as PayPal. However, a common misconception for some customers is that you require a PayPal account to make the purchase. Do remember to indicate at the checkout page that credit card payments can be made via PayPal without an account as well.
3. What is the level of support that they provide?
Through our years running as a development company, we’ve interacted with many payment gateway providers, and they have different levels of support that they extend to their clients. As a general rule of thumb, popular payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe and Amazon Pay have better support, while other less popular ones have a lower level of support. The best way to find this out is to read other customer reviews online.
Support is important as if you’re having issues with your payment gateway, every hour that your payment gateway is down is potential loss in sales. You’ll want a provider that has 24/7 support, and replies promptly to your calls or emails.
4. What are the fees involved?
All business owners and managers would want to find the lowest rates as it directly affects our margins. Most of the larger payment gateway companies (PayPal, Braintree, Stripe) have very similar pricing structures and fees, whereas less popular gateways such as Wirecard have lower fees. However there are trade-offs as discussed below.
Now let’s get into it.
PayPal’s the most well-known payment gateway today as they were one of the first payment gateways back in the 90s; and they’re still as strong today. Over 165 million users and millions of online stores use Paypal, making it one of the most trusted and supported systems for receiving payments.
Supported Platforms: ALL. Since PayPal usually redirects to its own site, no platform integration is necessary. This reduces development costs and time required to launch your site.
Processing Rates: PayPal charges 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (with option for volume discounts), and a 3.9% + fixed fee per international transaction.
Contract: PayPal does not have a contract obligation and you can cancel at any time. You do have to comply with the PayPal user agreement which you can read in full here.
Notable Clients: Almost all our clients use PayPal. You can see an exhaustive list of PayPal’s store directory here.
Braintree was launched in 2010, and their main selling point was allowing users to pay directly within the ecommerce store, rather than being redirected out of the store. Since then PayPal has acquired them, and PayPal express allows merchants to do the same thing.
Another notable advantage is that Braintree doesn’t charge transaction fees for the first $50,000 the store makes.
Supported Platforms: Bigcommerce, Magento, Spree Commerce, WooCommerce, Shopify, and more.
Processing Rates: Braintree charges a 2.9%+ $0.30 transaction fee (after first $50,000), and a $15 chargeback fee. You can see all pricing details here.
Contract: There are no contract requirements with Braintree, and you get to take all of your customer data with you for free!
Notable Clients: Bonobos, Airbnb, Uber, and Casper.
Stripe is another relatively new entrant in the payment space, and they’ve since grew to be one of the most popular payment gateways today. Their approach to their product was to focus on appealing to developers more than merchants. This allowed them to be more progressive and advance their tech quicker than their rivals.
Our client Live Your Mark chose to use Stripe as they allowed us to set up recurring payments easily, which was essential for their business.
Since then, PayPal has upped their game, and the gap between Stripe and PayPal has closed significantly. You can read more about the differences between Stripe and PayPal specifically here.
Supported Platforms: Bigcommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, Spree Commerce, and more.
Processing Rates: Stripe charges a 2.9% + $0.30 fee (after first $1 million), and a $15 chargeback fee. You can see all pricing details here.
Notable Clients: Harry’s, Fitbit, Task Rabbit, Lyft, and more.
Wirecard is not primarily a payment gateway company, they’re a payments processor. For the sake of comparison, we’ll only be evaluating their online payment portal.
A few banks in Singapore have partnerships with Wirecard, which makes things easier on the finance and accounting side of the business. In terms of development, it’s not as simple to set up and test as PayPal, but still relatively easy.
One drawback is that from our experience, support is not as good as the bigger payment gateways.
In terms of fees, there are set-up fees and recurring monthly fees which vary according to amount of transactions on your site. Get a quote from your bank or from Wirecard.
Our client Bods by Bodynits uses Wirecard, mainly due to the convenience of it being supported by their corporate bank account.
NETS is a Singaporean payments company that all Singaporeans know. Rather than being focused on e-commerce, they’re focused on general cashless payments technology and provide their systems to both physical and online stores.
Their online payment gateway is known as eNETS. The benefits of eNETS over PayPal, and other gateways is that money is credited directly into your local (Singapore) bank account, rather than held in PayPal’s account. A common problem associated with e-commerce stores is customer disputes. If a customer raises a dispute with your store through PayPal and wins, PayPal will be able to deduct money from your PayPal account to refund the customer. With eNETS, merchants avoid that risk.
However, through our experience working with eNETS, their level of support is much lower than the major payment gateways in terms of customer support and IT support.
The effort required to set it up is also much greater, resulting in high costs for development and integration. There are also one-time set-up fees and annual fees that go into the thousands.
As their rates may vary, do ask us or contact NETS directly for a quote.
The future of payment gateways – Blockchain tech
Blockchain technology may be disrupting the payments and money transfers industry, and many blockchain companies such as Litecoin (with Litepay) and Request Network are looking at cutting out the middleman. Therefore in the future you may not need a payment gateway like PayPal or Stripe to settle and collect payments on your website. This means you and your customers will save on the transaction fees. We’ll have to wait and see if this trend picks up.
We keep up to date with the latest technological trends and advise our clients on the best methods and practices at every step of the planning, development and operations process.