If you have ever shopped online, then you are likely familiar with the payment process. All you need to do is add the items you want to your cart and then proceed to checkout to pay.
From the customer’s perspective, yes — but from a merchant aggregator’s perspective, the behind-the-scenes reality of this process is much more complex.
As a platform or merchant aggregator, merchants rely on you to not only provide access to the necessary payment methods their customers demand but to also build a secure checkout process.
This is accomplished, in part, through payment gateway integrations.
A payment gateway integration can range in complexity depending on the current payment infrastructure, resources, and third-party partnerships you have in place. To keep both your merchants and their customers happy, your payment gateway integration strategy needs to be as efficient as it is seamless.
What is a Payment Gateway Integration?
A payment gateway integration is the process of connecting one or more payment gateways to a broader payment system. Once integrated, payment gateways carry out the checkout process for any transactions a merchant handles, providing the merchant’s customer with a secure payment portal to enter their card or other payment information.
Payment gateway integrations can be distinguished into three main types:
- Payment APIs: Payment APIs are designed to make the entire payment process as simple as possible, including optimizing the checkout experience and payment gateway connections. With a payment API, payment gateways can easily be connected to an existing payment system in very little time compared to more complex integration processes.
- Hosted Payment Gateways: In a hosted payment gateway, after a customer proceeds to checkout, they are redirected to a different webpage to enter their payment information and complete the transaction. While hosted payment gateways can be relatively simple to connect to a payment system, they ultimately give merchants and merchant aggregators less overall control due to the payment gateway provider acting as a third party in the payment process.
- Direct Post Payment Gateways: Direct Post is a method for payment gateway integration that eliminates the need for customers to be redirected to a new webpage at checkout. This process works by immediately transferring customer payment information to a payment gateway for processing and storage. With a Direct Post integration, the efficiency of checkout can be greatly boosted — however, merchants are required to uphold hefty security requirements.
Which type of payment gateway is right for your business depends on the scope of your payments infrastructure and existing technologies. Examples of well-known payment gateway connections include PayPal, Stripe, Worldpay, and Cybersource.
Key Security Considerations for Payment Gateway Integrations
For merchant aggregators that need to build a vast payment ecosystem for their merchants, finding the most efficient integration method for payment gateways is essential.
Security is a huge aspect to concern yourself with as a merchant aggregator when it comes to payment gateways, as an unsecured gateway poses a tremendous risk to both your customers’ payment information and your legal standing as a business.
If you have opted to work with a third party to assist you with the necessary payment gateway integration, it is crucial to find a payment gateway integration provider that offers the following security features:
- PCI DSS Compliance: PCI DSS compliance is a set of regulatory standards defined by the PCI Security Standards Council (SSC) that govern how merchants and other businesses must process and store credit card information. These compliance standards include 12 key requirements that your business must either handle independently or leverage a third-party partnership to manage these security requirements on your behalf.
- Tokenization: Tokenization is a process of replacing sensitive payment information with a unique token that represents that information. Should a cybercrime or hack occur that leaves your payment system and gateway integrations vulnerable, the person behind the attack is left rendered with a useless token that cannot be reversed to reveal the actual payment information.
- Zero Trust Security: In times when cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated at impersonating other people, a Zero Trust approach to payment security is crucial. The Zero Trust approach requires access to payment information and other resources to remain secure unless the proper user authentication and authorization requirements are met. This makes it highly difficult for bad actors to easily access your payment data.
Along with these three vital security measures, there are plenty of additional security protocols and certificates that any great payment service or payment orchestration provider should have. If you are a merchant or merchant aggregator working with a third-party provider, make sure to do your research about what security methods and protocols that provider has in place to protect you and your customers.
Are Payment Gateway Integrations Difficult to Complete?
The complexity of a payment gateway integration entirely depends on your existing payment ecosystem and the third-party partnerships you leverage.
Earlier, we discussed the three main types of payment gateway integrations to choose from (Hosted, Direct Post, or APIs). In terms of the actual execution of these integrations, this process is dependent on how your payment system operates and who it is managed by.
Let’s quickly break down three ways to execute a payment gateway integration:
- In-House Integrations: An in-house integration requires you to have a robust IT department that can handle building, managing, and maintaining a payment system entirely independently. This is not an option widely favored by merchants or merchant aggregators, as it takes quite a bit of time and resources to pull off, as well as the need to establish working relationships with various payment gateway providers.
- Payment Service Providers: A payment service provider (PSP) is a third party that can provide merchants and merchant aggregators access to one or more payment gateways. PSPs can vary in how large of a role they play in the payment process, with some offering integration capabilities and others leaving the integration responsibilities in the hands of your business.
- Payment Orchestration Platforms: A payment orchestration platform is the most comprehensive payment gateway integration solution. Payment orchestration platforms act as an additional technological layer in your payment system, enabling you to easily integrate not only payment gateways but also a wide range of other payment services and fraud prevention tools as well. Plus, payment orchestration providers often have existing relationships with a variety of PSPs, ensuring you have access to every payment service and tool you could possibly need.
Connect Hundreds of Payment Gateways & Services with Spreedly
Payment orchestration is undoubtedly one of the most powerful services a merchant aggregator can leverage. Not only does it fortify the security of your payment system but it also allows you to easily integrate a wide range of payment methods, services, gateways, and more.
At Spreedly, our payment orchestration solution is designed specifically for merchants and merchant aggregators. We offer more than 100 supported gateways, as well as over 100 currencies to simplify the process of expanding abroad.
Chat with Spreedly today to learn how our payment orchestration API can help support your merchants.