In a second part piece for Payment Expert, Adriana Vas, Gateway Product Management Lead, Enterprise & Digital Commerce of Fiserv, detailed the importance of selecting the correct payment gateway. 

As merchants work to deliver omnichannel shopping experiences in a competitive market, choosing the right payment gateway is key. Not only is a payment gateway foundational to the delivery of a seamless customer experience, it can open the door to growth on a global scale.

It’s important that merchants know what attributes to look for to determine which gateway is the right fit for their specific business needs. The best gateways will enable merchants to facilitate purchases both locally and globally, process payments quickly and reliably, and access value-added services such as fraud prevention.

A robust, globally capable approach to payments

A robust payments gateway is essential for merchants that want to expand sales, especially for those preparing for global growth. Merchants should look for:

  • Convenient access to acquiring capabilities 
  • Extensive geographic reach   
  • Multi-currency processing capabilities 
  • Local purchasing experience in regions important to the business
  • Scalability to match anticipated business growth 

A gateway that can serve as a single source for acquiring across the globe, supporting both e-commerce and card present transactions, will position merchants to deliver a seamless customer experience while enhancing operational efficiency. 

A versatile gateway will provide a range of interfaces for authorization and settlement of various payment methods and related services, including standard point-of-sale (POS) terminals and SoftPOS options.

With many merchants setting their sights on a worldwide customer base, there is a greater need for gateways that support global commerce. Choosing a payment gateway with global capabilities such as multi-location and multi-currency processing can simplify operational efforts across countries, currencies, and local payment methods. 

No matter the geography, customers want convenience and choice, which means merchants need to be equipped to accept a range of local payment methods. For example, a European business could sell directly to new customers in Brazil and allow them to pay with the locally popular service Pix using Brazilian reals, while the payment is settled in pounds. 

Merchants should prioritise a gateway that offers a local and familiar purchasing experience in the countries that matter most to their customer base, with the scalability to meet growth needs. 

Fast, secure transactions 

Gateways are vital in facilitating secure, fast, and reliable transactions, which are crucial for a superior customer payment experience. Gateways become even more important during peak transaction periods, such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and holiday shopping periods. During these times, stable performance is essential for processing high volumes of transactions flawlessly. Any delays in these transactions can have serious implications for sales. 

Merchants should look for:

  • Fast processing speed and low latency
  • API connectivity
  • Reliability with nearly flawless availability and uptime

When it comes to processing, a high transaction per second (TPS) speed and low latency are critical. Response times should be a matter of milliseconds for API transactions, virtual terminals and hosted payment pages. 

Seamless integrations of expanded or specialised capabilities using highly structured SOAP APIs or more flexible REST APIs for data transmission will be important for merchants that want to operate and scale more efficiently.

For example, API connectivity was particularly important in the case of a major retailer based in EMEA. To facilitate online growth in APAC and North America, the retailer made use of SOAP API integration to quickly, easily, and securely support online payment transactions in these new regions. As a result, the company was able to dramatically increase sales growth.

Access to value-added services 

A payment gateway has more to offer than simply enabling merchants to accept payments. Increasingly, merchants can benefit from a range of value-added services, from fraud prevention to currency conversion, depending on their needs. 

Merchants should look for:

  • Access to value-added services, such as fraud prevention, currency conversion, tokenisation, cardholder authentication
  • Security certifications

Customers want to feel safe when paying and an insecure payment experience can damage a merchant’s reputation and the business itself. Merchants can better manage risk and provide customer peace of mind with a gateway that fully encrypts all databases and utilises security algorithms and tokenisation, as well as Transport Layer Security (TLS) cryptographic protocols, to help ensure the highest level of security.  

In addition, compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which is designed to provide greater security for customer transactions, should be high on the list of merchants’ criteria for a payment gateway.   

As merchants focus on delivering a superior omnichannel experience for customers, the role of the payment gateway is clear. The right payment gateway that speeds and helps ensure the security of transactions in a multitude of countries and currencies can give merchants a competitive edge. And in today’s global marketplace, that is something no business can live without.