Going online? Five things you should look for when choosing a payment gateway

payment gatewayTo get the best payment gateway solutions, spend as much time evaluating the features as you did for your POS system. With advanced technology, modern POS and shopping cart solutions are either building payment gateways directly into their software solutions or collaborating with payment gateway providers. While this is fine, there’s virtually no transparency around such partnerships or integrations.

Without the transparency aspect, it’s difficult to understand the charges, fees and features of the gateway. In addition, most integrated payment gateway solutions are marketed on the concept of simplicity, but simplicity means a higher cost in most cases. To understand your options and costs, here are things you should be looking at during the evaluation process of payment gateways.


Terms and Conditions

Always read the terms and conditions of a given payment gateway. These terms are just as important as the agreement you are about to sign. Some of the items you should be looking for may include annual or monthly processing volume requirements, early termination fees, monthly fees, tokenization fees, QuickBooks integration fees, fraud software fees, minimum fees and other fees in the agreement.

Terms & conditions of a payment gateway provider should facilitate selling your specific types of services or products through the gateway. Just because the platform works for certain payment transaction types, does not mean the platform will also allow the same transactions. This should not be a big issue, but you need to clarify with your gateway provider nonetheless and avoid nasty surprises in future.



The gateway you choose should be compatible with shopping cart or POS applications you are evaluating or already using. Many gateway providers of repute have sites that provide their clients with technical specifications and compatibility documents.


Reporting and Analytics Capabilities

The payment gateway should offer you a user-friendly back-office application that gives you access to settings, reports and even some analytics. Most modern gateways offer users minimum basic reporting; but, if you’re currently in talks with a provider with no basic reporting capabilities, this is a red flag that requires further investigation. Fortunately, there are a few separate firms that have the capability to integrate with your payment systems to offer you detailed reporting – but this will cost you higher monthly fees.


Developer Tools

Solid payment gateway providers offer you Application Program Interface (API) and developer tools access. If you have an in-house development/IT team, it’s time you have them look at the choice of developer tools available as you evaluate gateways. In addition, the gateway provider should not charge extra for providing you access to APIs and developer tools.



In ideal situations, payment gateways should automatically process batches every day while giving you the ability to adjust the time and settings. It is never a good idea to use a gateway that will not allow for automatic settlement/batch at specific times of the day. However, you need to be careful because if the transactions are not settled in a specific timeframe, they are automatically downgraded for higher processing rates with credit card brands – these downgrades have the potential to add up fast, but can be avoided by employing proper strategies.

The items above are some of the most critical you should keep in mind as you evaluate any payment gateway provider. As observed, selecting your gateway is almost as complicated as choosing a payment processor, but few businesses spend time researching the payment gateway options they have. Remember, choosing a payment gateway should not be an afterthought, it is just as vital as choosing the right payment processor or even your email list cleaning tool, for example.


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