Payment gateways are pretty essential parts of any online shop operation, so choosing which payment gateway to use on your eCommerce site can be an important decision.
We work with a number of clients to provide eCommerce websites for their businesses. These can range from simple products and services to much more complex customer purchasing workflows, which is why when it comes to choosing a payment gateway, we look at four key areas: cart compatibility, ease of integration, service cost and reputation.
Typically the payment gateway is one of the earliest considerations in an eCommerce project: being able to build a solution that works alongside your online payments provider is essential. We build most of our online shops with WooCommerce, a popular shopping cart solution (built by Automattic, the creators of WordPress) but a vast range of cart providers exist, from Shopify and Magento through to OpenCart.
What to consider when choosing a payment gateway for your eCommerce website.
It’s essential that we consider how compatible a payment system is with our eCommerce sites, how easy it is for customers to navigate and how simple (and secure!) the integration between site and payment gateway is.
We’ve also got to consider how much it actually costs to use a payment gateway. A lot of providers offer free set up and a range of transaction fee options. Some will bill monthly costs as well as transaction fees and a small handful of gateways will charge an initial set up fee as well. When selecting a payment gateway, we need to ensure the service features are appropriate and that the cost isn’t prohibitive.
Of course, with any system that handles finance matters, reputation is absolutely essential. This comes down to other users’ reviews, the general standing of the company and – importantly – security and data breaches or alerts the company has been subject to recently (and how they’ve handled them).
The Best Payment Gateways for eCommerce Websites
Costs depend on the package you choose, but a wide range of options exist. Contact Worldpay to find out more.
- Cart compatibility: 9/10
- Ease of integration: 7/10
- Service cost: 8/10
- Reputation: 10/10
Worldpay are one of the world’s largest payment providers – which means you can rely on them to deliver consistently. They have a wide range of options to suit your business and you can tailor packages to meet your needs.
The company has a wide range of integrations and dedicated technical support teams available 24/7 on the phone to help if things break – trust us, this is not to be underestimated.
The service from the Worldpay team is great and you have a dedicated point of contact from the sales team to get you started and to help point you in the right direction once you’re on board.
We’ve been using Worldpay since we started our business and found them to be really useful partners for our clients and for ourselves.
It’s also worth noting: if you have a physical business – or want to take card payments over the phone or remotely – Worldpay also provide card payment terminals and solutions for phone and mail order (their Virtual Terminal product is excellent).
No set up cost. 1.4% + 20p for European cards. 2.9% + 20p for non-European cards.
- Cart compatibility: 9/10
- Ease of integration: 10/10
- Service cost: 7/10
- Reputation: 9/10
We’re recent converts to Stripe, but what impresses us most about this relatively new payment provider is the sheer simplicity of its product.
Centred around a really easy to use dashboard, Stripe’s set up is quick and easy with almost zero hassle. It has a neat app for iOS and Android and it provides a lot of visibility in terms of payments, fees and transactions – something with which other providers can come up short!
It’s a little more expensive than some other providers and payments take longer to clear into the bank (seven days!), but it’s massive range of integrations makes it a really popular provider.
One of the highlights of Stripe’s service is that you can keep customers on your site – there’s no redirection to the gateway – meaning you have complete control over engagement and technical glitches. Awesome!
Basic package has no monthly fee, but rates depend on transaction volume, starting at 3.4% + 20p per transaction.
- Cart compatibility: 10/10
- Ease of integration: 10/10
- Service cost: 5/10
- Reputation: 10/10
If you haven’t heard of PayPal, where have you been for the last two decades? Perhaps one of the most consumer-visible payments brands in the world, PayPal have spent a great deal of time building a reputation that’s based on trust, security and confidence. That is something not to be scoffed at – your customers will recognise the brand and feel safe instantly.
It’s merchant offering is solid: setting up an account is straightforward (although withdrawing funds from your first couple of transactions is a nightmare – security checks!).
There’s basically no shopping cart that isn’t compatible with PayPal in one way or another, which is testament to its brand ubiquity. PayPal have also worked really hard over the years to streamline the checkout process, helping your customers pay for their purchases quickly and without hassle.
PayPal offer their basic online business package with no set up cost but your transaction fees will vary depending on your monthly transaction volume. With the lower volumes costing 3.4% + 20p per transaction, unless you’re driving a decent volume of sales, there’s cheaper options out there.
A caveat on that, though: you’re paying for a brand that consumers trust So consider how much that’s worth to you before shying away from PayPal.
All packages charge 1% per transaction, with a minimum 20p fee but a maximum of £2. You can add customisations like total branding and other service features for a monthly cost.
- Cart compatibility: 5/10
- Ease of integration: 8/10
- Service cost: 10/10
- Reputation: 7/10
As the name might suggest, GoCardless is all about removing the need for card payments; the platform offers a Direct Debit collections solution for businesses. This is particularly useful for businesses with recurring revenues or subscription products.
The service is great value for money with really reasonable fees and a straightforward, simple management platform. Whilst the basic package allows you to add things like your logo to customer facing sign up pages, paid packages give you the option to totally brand and customise these areas, as well as giving you a whole heap of additional customisations.
We use GoCardless to collect some of our recurring revenues – it’s just really easy and straightforward.
One of the limiting factors of GoCardless is its integrations are fairly limited, although for a developer their API allows you to build your own (tech know-how required!).
One word of caution from our experience: their risk team is hyper-cautious and once they make a decisions, that’s it really. We had a client business refused access to their service because they’d wrongly taken the view it was an investment business. The Direct Debit Scheme is tightly regulated and some business types aren’t allowed to collect payments using this method, so to be fair to GoCardless, they were just following their processes (just an appeal would have been nice!).
Other than that a fabulous start-up payments provider with a great offering.
Which payments gateway do you use for your eCommerce website? Let us know and give us your thoughts in the comments section below!