If you're running an online business, one of the most critical things to consider is how you're going to handle payments. After all, you need a way to accept payments from your customers in order to actually make money. And when it comes to choosing a payment gateway for your WordPress site, the options can be overwhelming.
The right payment gateway can move your customers through the transaction process seamlessly, but the wrong one could confuse or frustrate potential buyers. Or worse, it could leave your site open to cyberattacks or data hacks.
That's why we're here to help. In this blog post, we'll break down everything you need to know about the nitty-gritty of WordPress payment processing.
Whether you're a small business or a large enterprise, we'll provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. So, let's dive in and learn everything about WordPress payment gateways.
What parties are involved in an online payment transaction?
Online payments have revolutionized the way we conduct business, making it easier and more convenient for consumers and merchants alike to exchange goods and services. But ever wondered what all parties are involved in an online payment transaction?
The first party, of course, is the consumer or buyer. They initiate the transaction by making a purchase on a merchant's website or mobile app. The second party is the merchant or seller, who receives the payment and delivers the goods or services.
The third one is the Payment Service Provider (PSP), also known as the Payment Gateway, which acts as the mediator between the merchant and the consumer. The PSP is responsible for processing the payment and ensuring the funds are securely transferred to the merchant's account. Some examples of PSPs are PayPal, Stripe, Square, and many more.
How are online payments processed?
A payment process includes two steps: authorization and settlement. During authorization, the customer's information is passed through a payment gateway. If the customer is approved, the merchant can settle the sale via an automatic or manual transfer to their merchant account.
What are a payment processor and a payment gateway?
The terms "payment processor" and "payment gateway" are used interchangeably, but they aren't the same. You'll need both solutions to securely process payments for your business.
What is a payment processor?
A payment processor is an intermediary that processes bulk transactions. They're responsible for managing the relationships between you and the credit card companies, handling financial and transaction data, processing transitions, and transferring funds between bank accounts.
What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is a third-party service linked to your website that evaluates and processes payments. Gateways capture your customers' payment information on a secure channel that follows Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance laws.
Payment gateways are classified as "direct" or "redirect." A direct gateway will process customer transactions directly on your website, whereas a redirect-gateway completes transactions on an external page. Choose the redirect option if you don't want to be responsible for stolen data.
What is an all-in-one solution?
An all-in-one payment solution is a payment processor and a payment gateway. These solutions are very common and preferred by many eCommerce merchants because of their ease of use. Popular all-in-one solutions include PayPal, Stripe, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and Braintree.
How do you find the right WordPress payment gateway?
There are dozens of WordPress payment gateways available, and with these many options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which payment gateway is the best fit for your business.
Here are 8 questions you should ask before selecting your processor and gateway.
What payment types will you accept?
As an online store, you'll likely process Visa and Mastercard transactions, but you'll want to use something else for small purchases to avoid transaction fees (i.e., PayPal). If you have a subscription-based model, you should favor a gateway that processes continuous transactions.
Can you process transactions securely?
eCommerce sites can enable SSL encryption and create stronger passwords to prevent hacks, but these precautions won't amount to much if your gateway isn't secure. That's why you should make sure your provider is PCI-compliant and careful with customer information and security.
Are you protected against chargebacks?
Malicious chargeback fraud is expensive, and merchants have to shoulder the fee when their customers go through the banks. Since all payment gateways favor the customer when it comes to chargebacks, using chargeback management software can help mitigate persistent fraud.
How high are the sales transaction fees?
Sales transaction fees are what you pay the merchant to complete a transaction. These include but aren't limited to a pre-negotiated assessment fee, interchange fees, processing fees, and markups. These costs are bundled together, so ask the gateway for a percentage breakdown.
Which countries are you selling to?
If you sell your products or services globally, you may need to choose a variety of payment processors or gateways to satisfy your customer base. Easyship and Webinterpret are great options because they're compatible with most providers and offer international support.
Do they offer cross-device compatibility?
About 76% of US adults have purchased something from a mobile device. If you want to capitalize on this market, your WordPress payment gateway must offer cross-device support. Fortunately, the most popular payment processors and gateways work across different devices.
Do they offer quality customer support?
Since you're handling sensitive data and financial transactions, you'll want to have access to knowledgeable and trustworthy customer service support staff. If customer support takes too long to answer queries or is generally unresponsive, search for another gateway provider.
How quickly will you receive your money?
You likely have suppliers, employees, and other business expenses to pay, so you can't waste time on a provider that places holds on your funds. Be sure to find a processing provider that pays promptly. Check the provider's payment terms before making a commitment.
Which WordPress payment gateway should you consider?
Based on the questions in our last section, there are 5 WordPress payment gateways that exceed expectations. The following payment gateways are great choices for most startups.
PayPal: Most Popular Option
PayPal is the most popular payment channel available and a necessary inclusion on your site. Global businesses will love PayPal because it's available in over 200 countries. However, PayPal has notoriously high processing fees and charges extra to transfer money instantly.
Even with this negative, PayPal still offers 24/7 account monitoring, advanced encryption, and protection from fraud. In terms of integration and international compatibility, PayPal is hard to beat.
Stripe: Most Developer Friendly
Stripe is like PayPal in a lot of ways, but it has a lower transaction fee (especially on smaller payments) and isn't available in as many countries. Its easy eCommerce integration and focus on anti-fraud and cybersecurity measures make them a great choice for small businesses.
Of all the gateways, Stripe excels the most in the personalization department. Developers can easily create stunning checkout pages thanks to Stripe's dev kit and simple user interface.
Square: Most Merchant Friendly
Square is an up-and-coming payment gateway with a free downloadable WordPress plugin. Businesses don't have to pay a monthly fee to use the Square platform, making it a very merchant-friendly provider. Plus, brick-and-mortar merchants can also use Square.
While Square succeeds in multiple areas, especially when it comes to security, its limited regional availability means it's only usable in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan.
Authorize.net: Most Payment Variety
Authorize.net does charge a $25 monthly fee plus a fee on all transactions, but it makes up for it with its wide variety of payment options. This service accepts PayPal, Apple Pay, and all major credit cards directly from your website. Authorize.net also hires an incredible support staff.
You can choose between 3 different Authorize.net solutions, depending on if you already have a merchant account or an enterprise business. Unfortunately, it's only available in 5 countries.
Braintree: Most Affordable Option
Braintree is a more niche payment option. It was acquired by PayPal in 2013, which made it possible for businesses to use Braintree without a merchant account. With Braintree, you won't pay a monthly fee, can process dozens of payment methods, and use 130 currencies.
Braintree's incredible variety of features, payment options, and low fees make it the most affordable payment gateway solution for WordPress. It's available in over 40 countries.
What are other payment gateway options out there?
Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay are other great WordPress payment gateway options, but we kept them off the main list because they're situational. If you want to include them, make sure you add some general payment gateway options like PayPal or Square for more variety.
Do you need a WordPress payment plugin?
When it comes to setting up an online store or accepting payments on your WordPress website, a payment plugin can be a valuable tool. WordPress users can either build their eCommerce website from scratch or integrate with other payment plugins solutions, like BigCommerce or WooCommerce.
But do you really need one? Well, it depends on your needs and goals.
If you plan to run an online store or a membership website, then a payment plugin is a must-have. And, if you just need a simple way to accept one-time payments or donations, then you might not need one. Using a WordPress payment plugin will make transactions more secure. Plus, payment plugins work with most gateways.
By understanding your needs, you can make an informed decision on whether or not to use a payment plugin on your WordPress website.