What is a payment gateway?

Picture the transaction process in a store. Purchasing a T-shirt, the cashier would ring up the cost amount, you would take your credit or debit card out, and either swipe, tap, or dip your card with the terminal. Your card would be accepted, the payment would process, and you would walk out of the store with your new T-shirt. A payment gateway is essentially the same, but it is done solely on the internet.

This transforms any desktop, laptop, smartphone, etc. into a mobile POS (point of sale) System. If there is internet access, purchases can be made almost anywhere on the merchant’s online website. By manually entering in your credit or debit card’s information (including the name on the card, 16-digit number, date of expiration, and the security code) the transaction can be initiated. The information is sent to your merchant processing bank and processed as it would normally be with a countertop terminal. This can even be done over the phone by to merchant to the consumer using a virtual terminal where the merchant enters the card information.

Having a payment gateway is great for almost every business. Growing your business is easier when you have the ability to accept payments anytime, at any online location. During the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping is what kept many businesses alive and thriving. This was because they were able to accept sales with a virtual terminal. Some key characteristics with a payment gateway are:

No extra hardware required – This online-based form of payment doesn’t require you to purchase or add any extra equipment to your store. Since the terminal is online, it is all digital! 

Checkout is quicker – Because the items are already in the customer’s cart, checkout becomes quick and easy for them to input in their card information and process their order. Now, card information can even autofill, making the checkout process less than a minute.

No setup is required – It’s quick and easy to get your payment gateway up and running without having to purchase physical equipment. Your payment gateway is up and running 24 hours a day. Customers just need to open their web browser, access your site, and they’re ready to purchase from your online store.

Easy to go green – Receipts are all emailed to the customer which means that paper receipts are not needed. Going green and taking the initiative to keep the environment waste-free is great for the earth (and also your business’s wallet).

Recurring Billing – Recurring billing is a great way to keep consistent revenue. Recurring billing happens when the merchant sets up a payment plan by amount and frequency without having to collect payment information more than once.