Payment gateways are important, but not all payment gateway providers are the same. Here are some differentiating factors to be aware of when shopping for a payment gateway provider.

Security. E-commerce transactions are more prone to fraud than personal transactions because there is no way to confirm the identity of the customer. Therefore, you need a payment gateway with top security features. In particular, your payment gateway should provide peer-to-peer encryption, fraud detection, and data breach insurance.

Cost. Using a business account usually requires a per transaction and monthly subscription. However, there may be other fees such as account maintenance, statements, setup, deductions or pCI compliance fees. Your per-transaction fee is probably just a few cents, and the subscription fee is $10 to $30 per month. When evaluating costs, we recommend focusing on the overall value the gateway vendor offers, not just the cheapest solution.

Contracts: Try using a payment gateway company provider that offers monthly contracts so you're not locked into something that might not be suitable for your business in the long term. If you sign a long-term contract, pay attention to the early termination fee.

Accept payment methods. You don't want to miss out on a sale because you don't accept the customer's first choice. So if you want a payment gateway provider, you can accept as many payment methods as you want. Ideally, your payment gateway provider will accept Visa, Mastercard, US Transit and Discover, as well as digital wallets such as PayPal, Apple and Google. If you're selling internationally, you'll also need a payment gateway provider that can accept foreign currencies and credit card networks.

Compatibility. If you use a specific business account or e-commerce platform, you will want to find a payment gateway provider that you can integrate with. Having an API also helps if custom integration is required. Ideally, your payment gateway provider will work with most major business acquirers, e-commerce platforms (shopify, bigcomerce, etc.).

Integrated and non-integrated. Some payment gateway providers have an integrated business account, while others are separate and integrated with a range of different third-party business accounts. Comprehensive payment gateway providers such as pOS software often offer flat prices and additional features. A non-integrated payment gateway provides you with greater flexibility to tailor a business account to your business. Which one to choose depends on your specific payment needs.

Customer service. If you have a problem with your payment gateway and you cannot accept payments for a period of time, this can have a big impact on your business. Therefore, it is best to work with a payment gateway provider that offers 24/7 customer support over the phone.