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What to look for in a Payment Gateway provider

One of the first things most businesses do when they start an online business is to sign up with a payment gateway. Here are some of the key things you should look for in a Payment Gateway provider / partner.

1.  Commission and fees – The most important part of decision making. There is choice today. So shop around. All the payment gateways quote high percentages. Don’t give in easily to their demands. Remember, this decision has long ranging impact so negotiate hard.

2. List of participating banks – This is important, because this will open up the choice of paying through the bank of their choice. So ideally you want a PG that accepts all banks.

2.  Netbanking – Ensure that this is enabled for your account.

3. Integration – Ask details of time taken and complexity to integr ate your site with the Payment Gateway provider.

4.  Enrollment Process – How long does it take for the paperwork to come through. What documents do you need to submit?

5. Security Measures - Do you have to buy a SSL certificate? Most gateways would request you to buy one. If not, then how would you ensure the safety of your customers transactions and details.

6. Sandbox – What kind of a testing / stage environment does the Payment Gateway provider make available so that you can test out the entire system? Insist on a sandbox in which your developers can test the integration.

7.  Time to transfer the money to your account – Please get written commitments from the PG provider about this period. What documents, if any need to be provided to ensure the transfer of funds into your bank account.

8. Time to transfer the money to a customer in case of refunds – Please clarify this very clearly with the PG provider, as you would need to answer pointed questions from the customer in case of delays in refunding the money.

9.  Ease of reconciliation of accounts – How easy is it to reconcile accounts with the Payment Gateway transactions. Do they provide you easy access to download reports? This is important otherwise, as the transactions grow on your site, your accountant would find it difficult to tally things. What kind of online interface do they provide? Is it easy to look up transactions from previous months?

10.  Responsiveness towards Conflict Resolution – Every once in a while, a customer will argue that money has been debited from his account, despite your systems saying that the transaction was declined by the bank. In such cases, you need to be able to quickly check in your online panel. It is possible that the panel might back your data, but the customer could still be right. In which case you should be able to call a contact manager at the Payment Gateway provider and check with her / him about it.

11. Customer Service – Most importantly, you want a payment gateway provider that really provides excellent customer service, right from registration to integration to operational issues. Ideally, always ask and get to know a few people in the company well, so that you can reach them easily.

12. Backup – Sign up with more than one payment gateway. Highly recommended. Good to have backup of such an essential service.

13. Cash on Delivery / Cheque Payments - Lastly, and very importantly, Ecommerce still works very heavily on non-payment-gateway transactions in India. Ensure that your business has as many payment options that your customers can desire.