You might not know this, but you are already using a payment gateway if you have an ecommerce store. Likewise, if you have made a purchase online recently, you can be sure that a payment gateway was used in order to complete the transaction. However, even though you might have used one, you might not know exactly what it is. Having a better sense of how online payments work can help your business to grow.
Here are some ways using and understanding a payment gateway can be beneficial for your online business.
What exactly is a payment gateway?
You might be more aware of what a merchant services provider is or how a smart terminal works, but knowing what a payment gateway is can be a bit trickier. Since they tend to work behind the scenes in order to process card information, they aren’t as visible as other parts of the payment process.
When customers order online, they don’t need to have a physical card available—they can choose to pay for an item with their card number. In order to make repeat payments, there needs to be a software in place in order for the transaction to go through. The payment gateway is the request that is sent in order for customer’s data to properly be processed.
How does the payment gateway process work?
The payment gateway process usually happens in a matter of seconds. In order to keep data information safe, information must be double checked by software. It also has to be encrypted so that it is difficult for hackers to be able to access that information. Once the card information is entered into the payment software by the customer, the secure data is then received by the payment processor.
The transaction is then confirmed with the credit card company that your customer is using. During this time, all the information submitted is double-checked to make sure there isn’t any issues with security. From there, the transaction will be either approved or denied depending on whether it raises any red flags or if it looks like a normal charge. Funds are checked to see if there is enough in a bank account or credit limit, and then the customer is redirected to a “successful payment” page in his or her cart.
This all happens with seconds, but the transaction will remain pending until funds are fully withdrawn from a client’s credit card and sent to your business banking account. This can take up to 48 hours depending on the merchant service provider you use. Some gateways require a fee, while others are free depending on the agreement you have set up for your business specifically.
A payment gateway makes the process of transactions easier for customers, but it also makes it simpler for you as a business owner. You don’t have to worry about running a card yourself, which can help you to avoid cases of fraud while also allowing you to keep better track of which payments have been made.