7 Top ecommerce payment gateways and how to integrate them on Magento

7 Best payment gateways for your ecommerce website in 2019

08 July 2019

We originally wrote this article in April 2018 but decided to update it now as the functionalities of payment gateways have changed considerably.

You want your buyer’s journey on your ecommerce website to be as smooth as possible, and checkout is the most important part of this journey. What’s the key to a superior checkout experience? The right payment gateway!  Ecommerce payment gateways enable merchants to safely transfer financial transactions and improve the checkout experience, making payments seamless for you and your customers.

Every ecommerce business needs to provide their customers with secure payment gateways, but with an abundance of choices, it can be a daunting challenge for the owners of online stores. Not only do you have to think about the technical obstacles of ecommerce payment gateway integration, but you also have to consider cost and, most importantly, security. 

Let’s discuss: what is a payment gateway? What is the difference between a payment gateway and a payment processor? How does a payment gateway work? What options are out there? 

As there are multiple options for ecommerce payment gateways available on the market, this article addresses the key aspects to take into account when deciding which payment gateway is the best for your ecommerce website.

The difference between a payment gateway, payment processor and a merchant account 

Let’s talk about the difference between a payment gateway, payment processor and what they have to do with a merchant account.

  • Payment gateway

An ecommerce payment gateway is a bridge between the transactions placed on your ecommerce store and the payment processor that receives the payment from your customer. A payment gateway is a service that approves credit card payments within your existing software.

An ecommerce payment gateway can be compared to a physical POS (point of sale) terminal in a supermarket or cafe. This service allows your customer to submit their credit card details and then validates it securely, making sure that this sensitive financial information passes from the customer to the merchant and then between the merchant and the bank. 

  • Payment processor

A payment processor is a link that connects your bank with your customer’s bank. It processes the query from the payment gateway, validates and executes the info about the transaction, takes the money from the customer, and then sends the funds into the merchant account. Once this has taken place, it informs the payment gateway if the financial transaction was successful.

In short, payment processors are financial institutions that operate in the background to provide payment processing services to online sellers and keep the process secure. 

  • Merchant account

A merchant account is a bank account where the funds get deposited after a successful financial transaction. A merchant account enables your retail company to accept credit and debit card payments that are submitted by a payment processor.

The key role of the payment gateway is to decline or approve each financial operation, while a merchant account is in charge of receiving payments from credit and debit cards. In brief, a merchant account is a contract between an owner of an online store and a credit card processing company. Merchant accounts aren’t obligatory, so you don’t need to have one as a retail owner.

payment gateway → payment processor → merchant account

How does a payment gateway work?

 

How a payment gateway works

How a payment gateway works. Image credit: Propaysolution

 

How does an ecommerce payment gateway actually function? Let’s break it down. There are four steps to follow in the payment gateway process:

Step 1: A customer selects the product he/she wants to purchase and places an order by submitting the credit card details at the checkout page. The information about the transaction is then forwarded to your payment gateway.

Step 2: The payment gateway receives the order paid with the most suitable payment method. The transaction is then directed to the issuing bank to request transaction authentication.

Step 3: After the authentication process has been completed successfully, the transaction is then approved or declined (depending on available costs in the customer’s bank account) as the issuing bank or card (Mastercard, VISA, Maestro, American Express) authenticates the transaction. 

Step 4:  The bank sends the money through the payment gateway and the payment gateway sends the money to the merchant account. It can be sent in a few minutes or as long as 21 working days depending on the payment gateway.

What to consider when choosing an ecommerce payment gateway

These are the four main things to take into account when choosing a payment gateway:

  • Security features —  How protected are the payments?
  • Payment integration capabilities — What different payment options are offered? What types of payments are accepted?
  • Ease of setup and use — Is it easy to integrate and use?
  • CostWhat are the fees for processing payment? Are there any monthly fees?

Top 7 payment gateway for Magento ecommerce stores

The decision of who to entrust your sensitive payment information to is always a difficult one. We recommend the following 7 best Magento payment gateways for 2019 to integrate into your online store

Extension Security Payment Integration Capabilities Cost/Transaction fees
PayPal Pro advanced secure checkout, supports encryption standards, 24-hour monitoring accepts American Express, Visa, Discover, Mastercard, PayPal, PayPal credit payments 2.9 percent + $0.30 per authorization. Outside the US transactions are 3.9 percent + a fee based on the currency used
Braintree basic fraud protection, secure data storage, and PayPal integration built-in accepts PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and most credit and debit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, and Diner’s Club 2.9 percent + $0.30 per authorization
Authorize.net free advanced fraud detection suite, as well as other security measures like CVV verification accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner’s Club, and JCB and is compatible with payment services such as Apple Pay, PayPal, and Visa Checkout. $25 monthly gateway fee and 2.9 percent + $0.30 per transaction
Stripe comes with simple PCI compliance and real-time fee reporting accepts all major credit cards as well as Bitcoin, Alipay, Apple Pay, and Android Pay. They’re also working on adding more payment types 2.9 percent + $0.30 per successful authorization
Amazon Payments comes with the same fraud protection used on Amazon.com Credit cards currently accepted include Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, Diners Club, and JCB. 2.9 percent + $0.30 per authorization
2Checkout more than 300 fraud rules applied to every transaction, making it the highest level of protection in the industry supports 87 currencies and 15 languages. Accepts all major credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express, and others there is a pricing table for each country calculated separately. For the US: 2.9% + $0.30
Dwolla rigorous monitoring, strong cryptography, constant refining, advanced security protocols (SSAE 18 SOC2 Type 2, tokenization, and third-party testing) allows individuals, businesses and organizations to move money via a connected bank account; doesn’t process credit or debit cards. 0.5 percent per transaction (minimum $0.05, maximum $5.00); $0 per month (no setup or monthly fees)

PayPal Pro

PayPal Pro

PayPal. Image credit: Vikwp

PayPal Pro is one of the best payment gateways and one of the most popular solutions both with customers and among online stores owners. PayPal has over 218 millions of consumer accounts and is used by more than 17 millions of merchants, which make it the biggest player in the game. 

Their business version is known as PayPal Payments Pro. It enables merchants to accept credit cards including Amex and Visa,  PayPal, and PayPal Credit. PayPal Pro accepts 26 leading currencies, and it is available to use on over 200 markets. It’s also a very appealing solution for small and medium enterprises since it requires no monthly fees and no contracts.

PayPal is the most common request among our customers. Due to an easy install and setup, it’s our most popular solution. If you need to integrate PayPal into your store, let us know.

Braintree

Braintree

Braintree. Image credit: Shopgate

 

Another payment solution provided by PayPal, Braintree is suitable for businesses of all sizes, from small shops to large enterprises. Braintree is a full-stack payment platform that makes it easy to accept payments in your app or on your ecommerce website. 

Braintree is best known for its smooth checkout experience, which provides a high level of safety that encourages repeat orders. That’s why we often use Braintree and recommend it to our clients.

Authorize.Net

Authorize.Net. Image credit: Site123

 

Authorize.Net won the trust of small and medium-sized companies by providing them an affordable and secure payment service. Its main advantage is in its simplicity. Authorize.net is much easier to set up compared to PayPal and Stripe.

Authorize.net is regarded as one of the best Magento ecommerce payment gateways around. It is a reliable and trusted solution which could be a great asset to your online shop. 

Stripe

Stripe

Stripe. Image credit: Stripe

 

Available in 25 countries, Stripe delivers great payment services. If you’re looking to bill customers on a recurring basis, set up a marketplace, or simply accept payments, Stripe can do it all as a fully integrated, global payments platform. 

Moreover, Stripe supports over 100 currencies and has features such as mobile payments, subscription billing, and one-click checkout. We recommend this payment gateway, especially for international sellers. 

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments

Amazon Payments. Image credit: Ultracart

 

Amazon Payments was launched back in 2007 and allows your customers to make all their а financial transactions on-site for a more streamlined checkout experience by using just one account. The payment solution also operates in several languages and supports all leading currencies.

Amazon Payments allows customers to use one familiar login to identify themselves and make transactions on your ecommerce website. The payment gateway is also flexible and secure. Amazon offers two services for businesses: Checkout by Amazon (CBA) and Amazon Simple Pay (ASP). CBA is an ecommerce solution that enables merchants to accept Amazon account information and use Amazon for payment processing. ASP sends the customers to Amazon’s secure payment website to enter their payment info. 

2Checkout

2Checkout

2Checkout. Image credit: 2checkout

 

2Checkout supports 87 currencies and 15 languages. It accepts major payment methods including credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. 

Merchants are able to manage customers’ checkout experience by integrating 2Checkout’s API with the website. It’s one of the easiest ecommerce payment gateways as you just need to register, verify your account, and you can begin operating payments. No coding is required. 

There are three customizable checkout options to choose from, and the service integrates with 100+ shopping carts. The system can also automatically bill customers a monthly subscription. 

Dwolla

Dwolla

Dwolla. Image credit: Paymentweek

 

An ecommerce payment gateway built for ACH (Automated Clearing House)  transfers, Dwolla is a scalable payment tool that operates with all US-based banks. As an open-source software, Dwolla enables developers to smoothly integrate bank transfers into native tools using its flexible ACH API. 

Seamless API integration allows merchants to oversee the financial activity, validate bank details, search transaction information, and manage payments within the dashboard in a way that truly yield results. 

How to add a payment integration on Magento

Once you have decided which payment gateway you will use for your online store it’s time to integrate it. Check out our quick guide to figure out how to do it yourself.

There is an existing solution from Magento to help you with the development of new payment integration. It is called Payment sample module and it contains all the required infrastructure so you can use it as a starting point.

To add a new payment method, follow these steps:

  1. First of all, you need to configure the modules. Go to Payment method module configuration.
  2. Next, configure the payment methods. You can find the description in the Payment method configuration.
  3. Then, implement a payment method facade. It allows processing payments between a payment processor (a third party appointed by a merchant to handle transactions) and Magento itself. You can find all the description in the Payment method facade. More info is provided in the Payment info rendering in Admin checkout.
  4. The last step is to set up and configure payment actions. Such actions are authorization, voiding, and others. Further descriptions on how to configure them are described in the Add a gateway command. 

Keep in mind that the payment method you configure can be edited from the Admin panel, storefront, or even both. There might be different configuration settings for each of them. A description of how to configure where the method can be seen in the Configure payment method by area.

An optimal payment gateway is one that serves you best

Choosing the most suitable ecommerce payment gateway is crucial to the success of your retail business. By doing it sensibly, you can improve your customer’s experience, boost your brand’s affinity and increase revenue. 

All you should do is consider the above-discussed factors and draw a comparison between the ecommerce payment gateways before selecting and implementing the right payment solution for you. Check them all out and go with the one that will be most beneficial to your company, keeping your requirements in mind.

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