If you are setting up a new business accepting online transactions, then payment gateways must be a priority in your business planning. There are many different ways a customer can pay for goods and services online, and making sure you have covered the most popular options is critical to success.
Here we look at some of the reasons why payment gateways are so important and show you which ones are the most popular and must-haves for your newly launched website or app.
Why Are Payment Gateways Important?
A payment gateway is essential for any online transaction. It facilitates the transfer of funds from a customer’s account to your own business or merchant account. The most common are credit and debit cards like Visa and Mastercard. Still, in the era of the cashless economy, dozens of new gateways have become available, and eWallets and virtual payment services like Google Pay are now threatening to supersede the older options.
With so much choice, it’s really important to ensure that you don’t lose custom by leaving off popular services. Payment gateways are therefore vital to acquiring new customers – without the right ones, your conversions will be lower. But they are also key for retaining customers. Making their favourite payment options available on the account pages of your site makes the interface familiar and acceptable. And providing secure and efficient payment gateways makes the user experience a positive one that will keep customers returning to your trusted product again and again.
Good payment gateways will integrate seamlessly with your app or website account pages, and all the recommended services listed here are suitable for your business.
So, let’s look at the most important options now.
Debit Card and Credit Card – Visa, Mastercard, and Maestro
These are still the most common payment services for any customer to make an online purchase. They are all big, trusted names, and the logos themselves appearing on your website are a sign that your brand and cashier can be trusted. No new business should consider launching without these. As well as being popular, each of these big hitters is essential because their transaction fees for merchants are low, and for customers, they are often zero. Visa, Mastercard, and Maestro are also available in more countries than any of the other options in this list. In fact, 10% of the world’s population currently own a Mastercard of some kind, while in 2020, some 1.7 billion Visa cards were in circulation worldwide!
eWallets – Paypal and Neteller
Next to the big-name card brands, eWallets like Paypal and Neteller are some of the biggest alternatives. eWallets allow a customer to store funds in a virtual wallet space and make payments from there. The big advantage for the customer is that they can quickly and easily confirm the transaction using one single login to their Paypal or Neteller account rather than entering their bank account details every time they want to make a payment. This is a key feature of eWallets because it is not just convenient but it is also more secure. Many people still don’t like to share their bank details online and are more comfortable with the virtual wallet system instead.
There are many eWallets available right now, including big names like Paypal as well as smaller brands like Grab Pay, Payoneer, and Venmo. If you choose which to partner up with for your new business, we certainly recommend Paypal, which currently has around 360 million users worldwide. We also suggest you research other eWallet providers and find out which are popular in your niche. For example, Paypal is very popular on event ticketing sites, while in Canada, casinos that accept Much Better are commonly found online.
Apple Pay and Google Pay
Right at the forefront of the new payment revolution are the big tech names of Google and Apple. Both companies now have their gateways, and thanks to their brand identity, they have taken off in a big way.
Let’s start with Apple Pay, which has been around since 2014 but has grown significantly in the last 2 to 3 years. Anyone who has an Apple device – including mobile or iPad – can use the Apple Pay wallet system, with a bank card integrated, to make payment securely, easily, and quickly both online and offline. The great advantage here, much like the eWallets we discussed earlier, is that users only need to use the login for their phone or iPad, or finger or face recognition, to confirm the payment. This makes it very convenient and secure.
We believe that you will find that Apple Pay will be as vital to your business as the Paypal wallet, and having that logo displayed on your cashier pages won’t do you any harm either!
Google Pay is much the same as Apple Pay but run by Google instead. Google Pay will run on Android devices and requires the customer to confirm their payment using your standard login details, so they just need this.
You can find some stats on the use of Apple Pay and Google Pay on this page. They show that Apple is much bigger, with 43 million users in 2021, but Google will surely close the gap over time. One thing is for sure; if you wish to widen the net for potential customers, it will pay to have both gateways on board in the next decade.
Before we sum up, we should also briefly mention cryptocurrencies, which are still very much a niche concern, have a growing and loyal user base, and work particularly well for some industries. The most popular crypto is Bitcoin, but others like Ethereum are worth considering too. The chances are, if you choose to accept payment via Bitcoin, then you will be using a gateway that also accepts the other cryptos like Ripple and Litecoin.
Crypto is a good option because it is entirely anonymous and secure, with all transactions recorded and information retained on blockchain technology. For this reason, it is often used in industries like Gambling and currency trading, where security and anonymity may be of particular importance. So, keep crypto in mind, but be aware that as a non-mainstream gateway, it may not be suitable for all customer bases.
In summary, for anyone setting up a new online business, it is wise to put aside significant time to research the current selection of available payment gateways. Don’t just assume that you can get by with the traditional options of Visa, Mastercard, and Maestro. In the 2020s, predictions show that eWallets, particularly Paypal, will consolidate their hold on the market, while new big-name options like Apple Pay and Google Pay will grow exponentially. When you do your research and analysis, also consider that customers in your niche may have different preferences to those in other industries. Creating a bespoke and effective cashier service for your users requires you to consider all these factors.