How To Choose A Payment Service Provider

What features do you need from your ecommerce payment service provider (PSP)? For online retailers there are now many options offering varying levels of service, all making your choice a international ecommercepotentially difficult task.

Consumers want a checkout experience that reassures them, so security features should be paramount and prominent. At the same time an online payment gateway should not slow down the checkout process. Online consumers already drop baskets at the alarming rate of 68.63%, therefore you need a payment service provider that works hard to lower that rate for your online store.

7 Key Considerations For Choosing A Payment Service Provider

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a payment service provider.

  1. How do you want to take customers details?

There are three possible ways you could take customer details. What you decide will influence the technical option you choose for a payment gateway.

  1. Direct, fully-integrated payment form: details sent to your server. This is the smoothest option for customers, but involves the highest risk and could come at significant cost, given you will need a hosting solution with PCI DSS compliant servers.
  2. Redirect or iFrame. Both options take or place the customers details within your payment providers control. Far more secure, resulting in less risk/cost to your business. The only downside is it can be more difficult to make the page or a secure iFrame (a web page within a web page, e.g. in the checkout) match the design features of the rest of your website.
  3. On-site payment form: details sent to a secure server. Similar to an iFrame, except the payment form is served as part of your website. However, the customers details are sent directly to the payment providers servers, rather than your own. The PCI compliance is more complicated, but not as involved as the first option.
  1. Does your website / e-commerce platform support your payment gateway options?

Once you have decided how you want to take customer details, you need to find out what payment providers your website or ecommerce platform can support. Not all are compatible, but most leading services have developed plugins or extensions for a wide range of platforms.

Secure Trading partner with numerous shopping cart providers, ensuring you can select the best options for your business and customers. More details here.

  1. Do you also need a merchant account?

Some payment providers only offer the gateway (the secure technology that sits between your website and payment networks), whereas others include a merchant account or are fully integrated with that option.

For more information on merchant services, including merchant accounts, have a look at this blog post on Making Sense of Merchant and Acquiring Services.

  1. Should you offer PayPal?

With 179 million active PayPal accounts, this community is hard to ignore. PayPal processed $20 billion worth of payments in Q4 2015 alone, with millions now using their One Touch service on smartphones. As a trusted alternative payment method, you could be missing out on substantial revenue if you don’t provide this option for your customers.

  1. What fees are included?

Payment gateways and merchant accounts don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to fees. There will always be a mix of monthly fees, fixed (per-transaction) fees, variable fees (based on the volume/amount of transactions processed) and extras, such as chargebacks and customers using international cards.

Always ask to see the full range of fees, to ensure you won’t get any surprises from the fee schedule. Ensure you know how these will be charged too. Some will take them direct from the merchant account, whereas others will charge separately.

  1. Whats the providers’ reputation?

As with any service a recommendation from another user is a useful starting point. Check out reviews, ask for testimonials and explore the payment process on other retailers’ sites.

A payment provider should offer all the services you need, integrate easily with your website and have great customer service. It’s also worth asking around on social networks, such as LinkedIn, to find if anyone has issues with various brands.

  1. What payment methods does the provider support?

All payment providers should, at the very least, support Visa and MasterCard. And then it should be a matter of ensuring your provider supports the most popular methods in your market, such as PayPal, American Express, and others depending on customer preferences. For those retailers with an International customer base, it’s extremely important to ensure your chosen payment service provider supports localized alternative payment methods

Picking the right payment provider is an important choice for any online business. You need a seamless integration, a secure service and excellent customer service and support. Therefore, do your research first to ensure the payment provider you work with is right for you and your customers.