We recently published a post about which payment gateways were at the top of the list for tour operators.

However, it can be difficult to select the right one without understanding exactly why you need them to run your tour or activity business, and what you should look for when you’re narrowing down your search.

What is a payment gateway?

Online payment gateways allow instant credit card authorisation for people who want to buy your product or service online.

A payment gateway allows your customers to securely buy from you online, and manages the transfer of funds to your merchant account and bank account.

That’s why having a unified payment gateway that accepts all kinds of cards can directly impact revenue.

What are the benefits of using a payment gateway?

People can buy your products while you sleep.

Your shop is virtual, meaning it doesn’t close at 5pm, it’s open 24/7, so customers on the other side of the world in inconvenient time zones don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to call you and make a booking.

A healthier cash flow.

You get paid on time, so instead of lagging behind, your cash flow is up to speed. A payment gateway will also allow you to implement a cancellation policy so you don’t lose out when a customer is a no-show.

You can trust online payment gateways.

It’s secure, so there’s little risk for credit card fraud or scams. Protecting your customer’s sensitive data is a key priority for your payment gateway provider because it’s so vital to the success of their business.

What should you look for?

Because you’re dealing with money, there are quite a few things to consider in order to determine which payment gateway is the best fit for your business.

A consistent customer experience. 

What does the checkout process look like for your customer? Make sure that the payment gateway can be integrated into your website so that they don’t have to leave it in order to pay you.

The experience between the booking system and payment gateway should be seamless. If they have to be taken to a hosted payment page, at least make sure the look & feel can be customized so that it’s a consistently smooth, professional experience.

Currency compatibility.

Some gateways charge a fee for converting currencies. This can get very costly in the long run. Make sure that they will accept your home currency without any added costs.

Simple technology.

If you also have a brick and mortar store, you probably use a POS (point of sales) terminal. Try to keep it to just one company so that you’re not stuck juggling two systems with varying requirements and fees. In this day and age many will offer both, so that all your payments are centralized.

Solid security.

If your data is compromised, you look bad and your customers lose trust. Can your payment gateway provider tell you how they will make your customer’s data safe? They should be able to detail what they do with your customer’s data (ie. what data they store and how long they hold it for).

Excellent support.

You’re dealing with your customer’s money, so paying that little extra for more support is definitely worth it. You need to know that you can count on them if things do go wrong.

A matching payout policy.

The money takes time to reach your account because the funds need to be cleared by the issuing and acquiring bank. To avoid doing a transfer each time a purchase is made, payment gateways will have a payout frequency which can be daily or even monthly.

It depends on what you want. If your business is weather dependent and therefore prone to cancellations, then you may want a payment gateway that pays you out weekly. This is because issuing refunds is easier if they haven’t been transferred to your bank account yet.

A good reputation.

Obviously you’ll want to do research by searching the web for reviews, checking out their support database, and speaking to some of their customers. You don’t want to be stuck with a payment provider that isn’t helpful.

How well does your payment gateway integrate with your booking system?

According to Shannon O’Brien, who owns Australia’s largest full service kayak and ski centre, “with the combination of Rezdy [online booking software] and the good [payment] gateway, there’s complete peace of mind for any customer, so they’re more willing to click more times – and freely – instead of waiting til the morning and phoning the company for that reassurance.”

Take a free trial to see Rezdy in action:

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