When, as a customer we shop online we are generally looking forward to a pleasant experience – pleasant in terms of not only being able to select an item of our choice but also completing the entire circle when our payments are processed at super speed and efficiently. At no point do we want to feel threatened that the data related to our credit cards, debit cards or banking details will be insecure. In short whenever we are shopping online we want to do so with a trusted site which will completely safeguard our personal details.
Payment gateways are the ones who bear this responsibility of protecting the common shopper’s details. Most of us are unaware about what transpires behind the scene after we have selected our preferred payment method at the online store. In a matter of 2-3 seconds our transaction is processed and that’s the end to our online shopping spree.
What actually happens is that the merchant store where we have shopped is in a contract with an online service provider to carry out the financial part of the transaction. The understanding is that the online financial partner to the e-store will coordinate with the merchant’s bank and the customer’s bank in few seconds for availability of funds at the customer’s disposal to purchase the item/s.
Merchants today have the option of choosing to have this business relationship from the Payment gateway list which is growing as more and more service providers are getting themselves enrolled to provide this support.
Few years back when e-payments had just entered the market there were much fewer players who could provide a stable yet strong network to support the financial transaction online. Today there are numerous options to choose from as competition is at its highest level in the payment gateway industry.
These providers are technically sound and are responsible too. However the merchants need to be extra cautious and prudent while seeking out the one best to handle their online payment and financial related services. Since all these providers do charge a certain percentage of the transaction amount as a fee, it is best to contact few of them and meet them personally to discuss the terms before deciding.
Other than looking into their technical and integration related strengths which are by far the main factors, one need to focus on the security aspects as well as that has become too important these days. There are lots of these companies who are already well established in the market and have set a value to their brand name; however, going just by the branding may not help always.
The other aspect that needs rationalizing before choosing the online financial partner is the support that it will provide other than carrying out the payment gateway activity. Will they be accessible always? Is there a dedicated team to help out when required? How fast services can they provide so that the merchant and his customers are impacted? How many banks are they associated with? Which are the payment methods that they can support smoothly? Do they support mobile payments?