A guide to eCommerce payment gateways

You’ve opened your eCommerce shop. You’re ready to sell your products and your website is up and running. There’s only one thing left to do - get paid! That's exactly where an eCommerce payment gateway comes in.

15 March 2022

eCommerce payment gateways help suppliers improve the checkout experience for their customers. In this article we'll cover everything from the basics of what they are to the pros and cons of different providers. Let's get started.

What is an eCommerce payment gateway?

eCommerce businesses typically use something called a payment gateway to collect funds from customers. This validates the card details of their customer and collects payments from them. Most payment gateways are also encrypted, meaning that they have an added layer of security when customers are making a purchase.

An eCommerce payment solution is like a point of sale (POS) terminal in a shop, but online. Whenever you’ve bought something online, it’s likely you’ve experienced one yourself.

Read on to find out how eCommerce payment gateways work and some of the different options for your business.

How eCommerce payment gateways work

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how eCommerce payment gateways work when customers make a purchase:

  1. A customer visits your website and makes a purchase by clicking “buy now”

  2. Your web browser encrypts the information and sends it to the payment gateway

  3. The payment gateway converts this message and forwards the information to your customer’s bank provider and card associate (Visa, American Express, Mastercard) via a payment processor

  4. The issuing bank verifies that your customer has enough money to pay for the goods or services and informs the payment processor

  5. The payment processor forwards this information back to the payment gateway

  6. The payment gateway sends this information back to your website with a decision and shares the decision with you and your customer, all in 2-3 seconds

The best payment gateways for eCommerce

The best payment gateway to use for your eCommerce website depends on several factors, including how fast you want to get paid and whether or not you take international payments. But to help you out, we’ve pulled together some of the most popular options:

iwocaPay

iwocaPay offers a two-click solution that provides eCommerce merchants with an easy checkout experience. It’s built on open banking which means payments are streamlined and secure. With iwocaPay, you can take all your payments without paying a penny, or let business customers spread the cost over 90 days interest-free for a fixed fee.

Main benefits

  • Integration with Xero
  • Free to use when using ‘Pay Now’
  • Collect payments in two clicks
  • Instant funds without a chargeback risk.

Worldpay

Worldpay is an electronic funds transfer (EFT) system that allows customers to send money all over the world using the SWIFT network. It accepts payments via credit cards, debit cards, e-wallets and all types of card machines.

Main benefits

  • Full-service payments solution
  • International reach
  • Easily scalable

PayPal

Possibly one of the most well-known payment gateways, PayPal is used in more than 200 countries and works alongside all major credit card companies. It’s worth bearing in mind that all parties need a PayPal account.

Main benefits

  • Secure and quick payments
  • Links to bank accounts
  • Easy-to-use

Stripe

Based in the US, Stripe supports all major credit cards and is widely used in the UK. It can easily integrate with platforms like WooCommerce and there’s no monthly fee.

Main benefits

Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay supports most major credit and debit cards and allows users to make safe and secure payments, which are encrypted. Merchants can also enjoy partner rewards.

Main benefits

  • Access to Amazon customers
  • Recognised badge for your website
  • Business support and resources

Shopify

The Shopify payment gateway works with credit card companies to accept payments and process orders swiftly. By syncing payments and orders in one central hub, businesses can save time and money.

Main benefits

  • No additional transaction fees
  • Easy integration
  • Simple-to-use platform

Opayo

The new name for Sage Pay, Opayo works with both credit and debit card providers.

Main benefits

  • Reliable
  • Part of the FTSE 100
  • A multi-channel solution

Cardstream

A global payments solution, Cardstream offers a white label payment gateway for modular solutions.

Main benefits

  • Comprehensive solutions
  • Global use
  • Low costs

Selecting an eCommerce payment gateway

Before making a decision, it’s important to think about your business needs and consider which option will work best for you. Some of the factors to consider are:

Who are your customers?

Ultimately, you’ll know your customers better than anyone else. Think about how they interact with your website, how they like to make payments, and if you have a local, national, or international reach.

What tools do you use?

Most payment gateways are compatible with third-party tools to help you better understand performance. Make sure to check that your preferred option can be integrated with any existing software or platform that you’re currently using,

What’s your budget?

Your budget will likely have an impact on the payment gateway that you select. Think about your pricing model and whether it makes sense to pay a set monthly fee or a percentage of each transaction.

words by <span>{authorName}</span>

Charlotte is a Senior PR & Communications specialist at iwoca. She's been sharing news and insights about the finance industry for over three years.

Article updated on: 29 March 2022

Is this article helpful?