The retail and business worlds are changing rapidly. Over the past few years we’ve seen customers shift their focus from physical shopping and become incredibly comfortable doing business online. For all the early fears about security and reliability, the promised convenience has trumped everything else as payment gateways prove their worth. Now, they’re changing the landscape all over again as they allow small businesses a cost effective way to expand their market.
In the Indian website, Economic Times, a recent article highlighted the surge of payment gateway providers targeting small and medium sized businesses. There are around 51 million of these in and around India, but only a small percentage of these have an online presence – not to mention a payment gateway.
In the UK the number is far higher. We routinely expect even small local businesses to have an online presence of some sort, but there are still many who could benefit by going a bit further and introducing an online payment gateway. There are plenty of fears holding people back. You might be worried about security – after all there are plenty of stories about companies losing credit card details or criminals targeting online payment gateways. It can also seem to be too much of a hassle or expensive and you might not think you’re set up to cope with the demands of taking and processing orders online.
A New Technology
All these are perfectly reasonable concerns, but the technology is improving all the time. Setting up a secure payment gateway is now so easy that even sole traders are using it on WordPress sites to shift their products. Even so, you still need a system that can really deliver.
A system should work very simply. Your customer makes a purchase on your website by filling in their credit card information and clicking ‘submit’. This information is then encrypted and sent through the online payment gateway system which then forwards the information to your bank where it will continue to gain the authorization needed for payment.
All this sounds simple, but doing so in a safe and secure way is difficult, especially as the landscape is always shifting. As technology improves, the criminals are always developing new ways to get around security provisions and steal precious data. As payment providers, we need to stay vigilant and keep abreast of the trends. Our system is constantly evolving to counter any new threats that arise and to stay compliant with all regulatory requirements.
As a business, it will help to choose the right one for you. Think about how quickly you want to receive payments; and about how much you want to spend. Gateways will incur a charge when you set them up and you may also pay a percentage of any transactions. As with any business venture, you’ll need to perform a cost analysis to work out if it’s worthwhile for your business.