Choosing a payment gateway for your ecommerce website

If you have an ecommerce website and want to accept online payments, you'll need a payment gateway to allow customers to buy products and services via your website. Selecting the right payment gateway is a major decision for any ecommerce website owner.

Types of payment gateway

An off-site payment gateway could be a secure order form that re-directs the customer to a third-party site for the credit card processing. Basically, this is when a customer will leave your website in order to pay with the third-party website. This can have brand implications, as the customer leaves your site it can create an unprofessional image and customers will have a poor shopping experience, risking sales and losing customers. 

An on-site payment gateway could be managed with what's called a merchant API (application program interface) that is integrated with the server hosting your site. In this scenario, the customer never leaves the merchant’s Web site – already providing a better customer experience. If you have an on-site payment gateway, customers will be far more trusting of your site and distinguish you as a premium brand. 

What to look for when choosing a payment gateway


There are many gateway payment options to choose from, and likewise many charges for these options. Some charge per transaction, whilst others charge a monthly fee. It depends on what type of ecommerce website you are running, and what would be better suited to your business. For example, if you have a high number of transactions, it may not be financially viable to get charged each time a transaction is processed.


When choosing a gateway provider, security should be the number one priority. Not only is your sensitive information kept on file, but your customer’s personal information passes through your gateway. This information must be protected, as it is considerably valuable to hackers. 

A quality payment gateway will provide tools to ensure security, such as the capability to identify suspicious transactions and to ensure the provider supports industry standards like the Address Verification System (AVS). This security feature will make sure your customer’s credit card billing address matches that of the credit card issuer’s information.

Customer convenience

Many third-party payment gateway providers (e.g. paypal) don’t require customers’ credit card details past the initial sign up. This eliminates the need to type in card details for purchases, optimising customer convenience and encouraging sales.

Recurring Billing

This is an excellent feature if you charge customers on a periodic basis, such as subscription and membership basedbusinesses. By using recurring billing, you provide your gateway with billing information and how often to charge the customer, and the gateway does the rest. This saves you having to key in data into software or a terminal every month, and will be a huge time saver.

Token Payments

Many payment gateway services offer a tool where your customer’s details will be remembered. This saves your customer’s always having to input the same information, which can be frustrating if they frequently purchase from your site. Amazon is a prime example of this feature, as they remember customer’s details, and suggest other products you may like based on previous purchases.

Virtual Terminal

A virtual terminal is a web form that is accessible to the merchant, and allows you to enter credit card payments manually. If a customer calls to enquire about a particular product on your website, and decides they would like to purchase, instead of telling them to go back onto your website (and risk losing the sale) you can process the order over the phone using a virtual terminal. 

The virtual terminal can also be used to void previous transactions and issue returns.

PCI Compliance

PCI is the Payment Card Industry, and as a payment gateway will handle and store your customer’s credit card information, it needs to meet the PCI-compliance standards.

Multiple Payment Options

With multiple payment options, you allow your customers to pay for your products/services through their preferred gateway, such as PayPal or Sage Pay. The more payment options you have, the wider scope of customers you will appeal to. 

We support a large number of payment gateways and payment methods. However you would like to accept payment through your ecommerce website, we can help. Contact our ecommerce experts for more information.

By Danielle at 29 Mar 2013, 11:44 AM