Choosing the right payment gateway for your WordPress Website
In this blog, Equity Digital, gives our thoughts on payment providers:
Starting a new business can be daunting. There are so many things buzzing around your head.
Every decision, big or small, needs your attention. One such decision is what payment gateway to use for taking customer payments. It is one decision that all new businesses need to make for their website, but it can seem more complicated than it is. This article aims to provide you with a simple recommendation on how to choose your gateway provider and where to go next on your ecommerce journey.
Payment gateway or payment processor?
Most people get confused between the term’s payment gateway and payment processor.
They are not the same, but they are connected and therefore they are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing.
A payment gateway is what the customer sees on your website when they enter their details. The gateway then transfers the data to the payment processor. The payment process uses the data to interact with various systems – namely the merchant and customer bank accounts.
Some ecommerce payment solutions can be one or the other and it is common for some to be both. Most modern solutions are both and this will be the focus of this article
Start with “why?”
It might sound obvious, but knowing some of the reasons behind why you want a payment service on your website will help you to determine what you want from it.
Knowing why you are doing what you are doing is very specific to your business. If asking why was so easy (“because I want to take payments”) then you wouldn’t be reading this or Googling payment providers.
Some outcomes I found when asking myself why I need a payment solution were:
- Because we want our customers to have a better experience
- Because we want more conversions
By answering why, you can then understand the real reason and, more importantly, what are your priorities; that is what is the most important factor that you need to consider when making your choice.
The factors you need to consider
There are many factors to consider, but often it is customer services and the transaction costs you’ll incur that most people think about.
As a small business, minimising costs is essential when funding into the business is often limited.
Customer service is an essential factor to consider when choosing a payment provider – good customer service will save you time – and time in a small business is critical due to the limited number of staff. After all, time is money.
PayPal, Stripe and Amazon Pay are the best value for money since they don’t charge monthly fees; they only charge when a transaction occurs. A number of other popular gateway options don’t give the same value for money when you consider that they charge you even without a transaction occurring.
It is no surprise that the three providers mentioned above are seen as the market leaders.
The economies of scale, the numbers of users on their network/system, developer capabilities and astounding customer service are the reasons why that is the case.
The other facts such a mobile responsiveness, customer experience and credit/debit cards accepted become less important as most, if not all, other providers offer these things as a standard.
Other features and factors to consider when choosing:
- Security (yours and the customers) – uses security measures such as SCA (Secure Customer Authentication)
- Regulations and GDPR – how, when and where data is treated and your obligations
- Returns/refunds when a customer wants their money back
- Payment tracking, alerts, and notifications to keep you updated
- Offering multiple payment choices – the flexibility for customers to choose payment type (e.g., Apple pay, credit, PayPal etc)
- Recurring charges, transaction fees
- Availability in your target area (if you’re a global ecommerce business)
As mentioned previously, most payment gateways provide the above as standard and make it easy for website owners to use their advanced features.
Cart abandonment is a widespread issue for those in the ecommerce world.
Online shoppers often abandon their items before completing at checkout. Whilst this represents a serious loss of potential revenue for a business, it can be minimised with the use of good payment solutions on your website.
PayPal, Stripe and Amazon Pay have very good features that enable websites (and their owners) to design better checkout experiences. Common reasons for cart abandonment include things like complexity. If you can design a complex free checkout process, then you are reducing the chance of cart abandonment.
Unfortunately, the developer API’s provided by those payment gateways are often complex for the non-programmer (and sometimes even a seasoned programmer), so customisation needs to be undertaken by someone with coding knowledge and/or experience.
The stripe API is often a developers favourite due to the amount of extra customisation that can be achieved for your online payments, it even enables splitting of accounts – meaning one payment from a customer can go to multiple accounts which may be useful if your business required this feature.
Cart abandonment references:
Other consideration points
- Extra options integrated – e.g., cart abandonment solutions and email marketing.
This will enable you to optimise your sales and re-engage people who were about to become your customers. Many payment providers have inbuilt functionality that enables this – so check to make sure they offer this capability.
- A blend of online and offline payments – all in one place. Choosing this would be best for those that have an online and offline presence.
Having an option that provides both online and offline payments will provide a seamless experience for you as the business owner needing to manage transactions from a single source.
One final thing to consider, if you are using a content management system or ecommerce solution like (WooCommerce or Shopify), is that there are checkout options that have multiple providers all in one, and all you need to do is select the one you want.
Your choice of which payment provider to go with is based on many factors, but it is likely to come down to value for money in several areas. Remember that is often worth paying slightly more for advanced features and support that ultimately improves your customer experience.
Everything boils down to personal experience and with so many opinions out there it can be hard to know what to decide; ultimately it will be difficult to make a wrong choice in today’s market.
This article may seem weighted in favour of Stripe, but this is due to my personal experience of it. There’s a reason it has become the go-to hero for website payment solutions if you don’t choose an integrated option that is increasingly popular on sites such as Shopify.