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5 things web developers need to know about payment gateways

More and more businesses are moving at least some of their sales online – which means more and more web developers are needing to become familiar with the online payments process, says Peter Harvey of PayGate.

“If you’re building an e-commerce site for a client, they will probably look to you as the developer for advice on which shopping cart and which payment gateway to choose,” says Harvey. “This is not an area where many web developers feel particularly comfortable – they are coders and designers, not financial consultants – so it helps to have a checklist of questions that the client should ask.”

Thursday, 14 February 2013 13:04

Think outside the credit card box to increase e-commerce sales

Think outside the credit card box to increase e-commerce sales

E-commerce sites and online retailers can increase their sales by offering a selection of payment methods appropriate to their target markets, according to Robin Philip of payment services provider PayGate.

Published in Sales
Friday, 20 July 2012 12:30

Building your own payment gateway: More than just an IT project

Building your own payment gateway: More than just an IT project

Payment gateways are the logistics backbone of online commerce – and enterprises should think twice before trying to develop or manage their own, in-house versions.

There’s a tendency to think of setting up a payment gateway as an IT project but in fact it’s a complex financial and political project as well. Attempting to develop a gateway from scratch exposes enterprises to significant risks which are not always properly understood. The costs can get out of control very quickly.

The single most important success factor is the quality of the gateway’s relationships with the banks – and those can take an extraordinarily long time to develop. If you’re lucky you’ll catch a bank in the middle of a project that means they can slot in a link to your system fairly easily, but in our experience, you can wait years.

Before committing to developing a new payment gateway enterprises should at least consider the alternative of white-labelling an existing gateway. To build and commission a new gateway from scratch can take years and significant capital investment. A white-labelled version will typically take only a couple of months. You’re far more likely to get what you need, at a fraction of the cost.

One of the most significant sources of complexity is the need to develop global relationships. The minute you want to do business outside the borders of South Africa, the task of processing payments becomes radically more complex. You start needing to deal not only with different banks and different languages but also different local tax and legal regimes.

This is especially true when opening up new territories such as the rest of Africa. Establishing trust relationships with African banks, and getting them to open up to the idea of supporting online commerce, is a slow process. We believe this is where the benefits of piggy-backing off an existing system will be greatest.

Even within South Africa the task of meeting complex compliance and governance requirements should not be under-estimated. The banking, credit card and financial services is highly regulated, with good reason. Developing within those constraints takes considerable expertise and experience.

There’s also an advantage to spreading the cost of back-end infrastructure across many customers. A payment gateway, especially one that’s serving a global customer base, needs to be absolutely reliable. Even five minutes offline can cost millions. Building and maintaining the systems to deliver that level of reliability is expensive.

Another advantage of white labelling is that enterprises retain their own branding and business processes – while being able to hand off the entire task of payment processing.  In one case we have a client who also wants to establish their own relationships with banks in each territory they cover – that’s an important part of their business plan. But they don’t want to build the physical links themselves as it would take too long and be far too costly. It’s not their core business.  Using a managed gateway service gives them the best of both worlds.

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