One of the challenges of setting up an estore is sorting out how to receive payments.
You would think it should be easy, what with all the payment gateway options available: credit cards, online payment systems, PayPal, and so on. But these things have to be considered carefully for your estore to be successful and for you not to run into serious trouble.
Keeping It All Secure
The key to taking payments online is to have a secure system that does not compromise your customers’ personal information. Think about it, when you take payments online, the customer has to send you personal information as well as credit card or other bank information, and there are plenty of people out there on the web that will do whatever it takes
to steal that information.
It is your job to ensure that doesn’t happen. One way of handing that responsibility, or at least part of it, over to a third party is to use a payment gateway. If you have ever bought something online, you probably interacted with a payment gateway like PayPal or Google Wallet and they all work pretty much the same way.
The Payment Process
In a nutshell, here is what happens. The customer makes a purchase on your website and the website asks for payment information. The customer’s then sent to the payment gateway and provides the payment information to the payment gateway. The gateway verifies the payment, sends the money to you, and then you send the product to the customer.
The first thing that happens is the buyer initiates a purchase. So, they put products in their shopping cart and click the pay now button. Now your site takes them to a page where they can put in their personal information. That would be their own information and also the shipping information and whatever else information you choose to collect about your customers. Once they fill in that information they need to select a form of payment.
Once they select a payment option, they are sent to the payment gateway. The payment gateway then, collects the credit card information or whatever other payment information that is necessary. This is all done in the secure servers of the payment gateway and is done away from your site so you are no longer responsible for the security of this transaction.
Once the information is sent to the payment gateway, the payment gateway handles the transaction and sends the information to whatever payment portal is necessary.
Once that payment has been verified, the payment gateway sends this customer back to your site and tells the customer that the purchase has been completed. As you can see, using a payment gateway, you hand the responsibility of handling credit card information or other bank information over to a third party who specializes in securing that kind of data and that third party is responsible for communicating with the credit card agencies and other financial entities and ensuring that the payment takes place.
Problems With The Payment Gateway
This is great because it hands over a lot of the responsibility to a third party but it also has some drawbacks. First of all, it costs you money, you have to actually pay for this service but that is not necessarily any more expensive than if you used your bank as a payment gateway, for example. The only difference is you are handing off the responsibility because payment gateways are independently insured. So, if something goes wrong, they are responsible for handling it, not you.
The other problem with payment gateways is that, occasionally they will hold payments back. They will say that they are not sure that what you were doing was right or that the customer made a mistake or something like that and they can hold your payments back for a very long time. I have seen this happen and it can be extremely frustrating.
There is another issue. Some people inherently don’t trust payment gateways. I have run into people who do not ever want to pay anything to PayPal or to Google Wallet or anything else. There are many reasons why they may not trust it and you have to be aware of that.
So, if you use a payment gateway you might want to consider offering another option as a payment option if people don’t trust it.
Not Everyone Can Use A Payment Gateway
And the last problem, which is not really a problem with payment gateways, is that not everyone has a credit card. If you do not have a credit card, you cannot use any of these services and because of that, you are automatically excluding a portion of society from purchasing your product. Again, the only way to get around that is to accept other types of payments. But other types of payments have other issues that come with them.
Thinking through how you are going to take payments from your clients without compromising their security is a vital step in planning your estore. One way to solve this is by using a payment gateway, but it has its drawbacks as you have seen. Which option is right for you, depends on your circumstance.
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Paul Lucas is the founder of GameVania, where you can write strategy guides for games and make money online with your writings.
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