Many WordPress users love WooCommerce as a means to process their payments. At current, there are more than eighty-six million downloads of the product. It’s free, very secure, and it offers a high level of customization options. It also seems to work with a lot of payment gateways. In short, as a payment gateway, you can’t really go wrong.
What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is a software application that acts as a liaison between your eCommerce website and the bank that accepts or declines a customer’s payment method. For example, if you’re selling shoes, the customer chooses the color and size and places the order.
Once on the order page, enter their order details, credit card number, and shipping details. Once they click submit, depending on the processor, they are charged through the payment gateway.
From there, they’re either authorized or declined. It encrypts all of their details. If you sell online, it’s a must, as there is no other way to process payments. After all, you can’t accept cash.
Here, we’re going to break down all the popular gateways and their pros and cons.
PayPal has long been the most popular payment gateway. It’s also one of the first. In this time, it has become an absolute monolith in some ways. Since its inception in 1998, this Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Russel Simmons product have over three-hundred million users.
- It’s everywhere. Almost all of your customers already have a PayPal account. It’s highly secure and has the highest brand recognition in the world.
- No maintenance fees. Many merchant accounts make you pay a fee. PayPal doesn’t. Sometimes these fees can be up to $100 a month. So, while they do charge a small transaction fee per order plus 2.9 percent, if you don’t sell anything, you don’t pay anything.
- Multiple payment options. You don’t have to have a credit card to pay with PayPal. You don’t have to even have a PayPal account. You can even accept checks with the service.
- Frozen account issues. According to some users, if the company determines your industry to be a bit risky, they’ll freeze or cancel your account – holding your funds.
Stripe is considered to be an excellent option for payment gateways. It boasts a technologically rich platform, flexible APIs, and flat-rate fees. The company of more than 10-year-old has been having much success in the last few years.
- Easy to sign up. You can sign up in just a few minutes and integrate it to your WordPress site without much issue.
- No additional fees. You won’t need to pay for account maintenance, setup, or cancellation of the service.
- Refunds fees. The company does not return Stripe’s fees from the original transaction when you refund a customer.
Square is probably one of the more revolutionary payment processors available. Ten years ago we saw a legitimate POS (Square reader) system that could fit in a headphone jack. This was a device that was offered for free when it rolled out. Since then, they’ve grown astronomically.
- Free reader and app. You get a free swipe reader to process in-person payments along with a free app. This allows you to process offline payments easily, which makes it perfect for small businesses.
- An interesting suite of add-on services. Square can do payroll, email marketing, create loyalty programs, and offers employee management solutions. You can even customize your floor plan if you run a restaurant and send orders to the kitchen in a tap.
- Weak customer support. Square has a bit of a history in not adequately explaining issues should something happen. You can usually get back up and running by proving who you are, but they won’t hesitate to terminate your account if you don’t meet their requirements.
There’s not a lot to say about Amazon that hasn’t been said. They’re just about the largest company on the planet, they have a stellar record in customer trust, and they’re probably the most innovative company in tech. They’ve just recently forayed into payment gateways with Amazon Pay.
- Brand Recognition. People trust inputting their customer details to Amazon, as they know that they have their backs should something bad happens.
- Streamlined checkout process. Amazon uses a no-frill approach to checking out. Most people already have an Amazon account, so they won’t have to put in any additional details when they’re ordering something from your website.
- Less options for payment. Amazon lack in that it can only handle debit and credit card transactions. If you’re looking to trade in bitcoin, PayPal or ACH, you’re simply out of luck.
Authorize.net is one of the oldest payment gateways, debuting in 2007. It’s unlike the others above in that it focuses on those interested most in staving fraudulent transactions. It’s an online-only processor, though it also offers merchant solutions in addition to processing payments.
- Fraud detection suite. Authorize.net cuts down on any fraudulent activity, even going as far as to recoup any fees charged by Visa or Mastercard. No need to worry too much about chargebacks.
- Custom checkout experience. Authorize.net allows all of its users a free API, which means that you can build a unique checkout experience for your customers.
- Monthly fee. Authorize.net charges $25 dollars per month for their customers. This isn’t exactly industry standard, though it makes sense if you work in an industry where chargebacks are higher than normal.
All in all, these payment processors can be fantastic depending on what your industry trends tend to be. PayPal and Amazon instill confidence in the customer, while Stripe and Square utilize a variety of high-tech solutions that are additionally intriguing. Authorize.net is also a solution, but mostly for those who need a bit more security for their stores.