The number one purpose of a payment gateway is to authorize transactions for your business. The gateway passes sensitive card data from point A to point B securely in order to determine if a transaction has been approved so you can complete a sale.

Payment gateways can be complex and provide a number of different features and capabilities. Understanding these differences will help you determine which payment gateway is right for your company.

Here are 10 things to think about as you prepare to make your choice:


1. When do you need to start taking payments?

Depending on the level of your integration it can often take three to four weeks to complete. Services like PayPal have made it possible to get started right away. However, a trade off for quick and easy implementation also comes with less flexibility in the long run.

2. What’s the cost?

Make sure you understand the fee structure of any payment gateway before committing. This includes setup costs, transaction fees, and administrative costs.

3. When do you want your money?

Settlement (when your money is deposited to your bank account) timing can vary from one provider to another, so choose wisely. Some hold a portion of your funds while others settle quickly. Some pay only on specific days each month.

4. Can you accept international payments?

If you need to take international payments or might want to start, make sure your payment gateway can handle them.

5. What level of security is provided?

Payment gateways must all be PCI compliant and meet strict governmental regulations. However, some offer security beyond what’s required. Pay attention to any fraud and screening tools that are offered, especially if you will be taking payments from card, not present cardholders.

6. What’s the support like?

Make sure the payment gateway offers support the way you like it, whether that’s phone, email, chat or all of the above. Find out if support costs extra, whether response times are guaranteed and if the company is open the same hours you are.

7. Are the right payment types accepted?

Most payment gateways accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. If you have any other payment type requirements make sure you vet them out beforehand.

8. Can the gateway support recurring and automatic payments?

If you need to process recurring payments make sure the gateway can store and tokenize your customer’s card data. That will make managing the payments easier and reduce your overall PCI compliance scope.

9. Are payment pages hosted or non-hosted?

Will your customers enter in their payment info on your site or will they be transferred to a secure site managed by the gateway? Meeting PCI compliance requirements is easy if your gateway provides hosted payment pages.

10. Can the gateway integrate with your existing software?

You need a payment gateway that fits billing and shopping cart systems and those you plan to use. Choosing a gateway that is integrated with your business management software will save you time and money because your employees won’t need to do as much double entry.

We’ve integrated with Zift’s payment technology because they’ve been built on an enterprise level while maintaining simplicity. Interested in learning about more ways to improve your billing process? Contact to learn more about our integration with Zift and our proprietary billing engine that can create recurring subscriptions on any schedule.