With so many payment gateways to choose from, how do you know you’re picking the right one for your business? It’s an especially important decision considering it’s going to impact so many aspects of your business.

If you’re not too familiar with how online payments work, here’s a quick summary to get you up to speed. This’ll help you make the most informed decision when selecting your payment gateway.

For this example, we’re going to take a look at how Sally books a kayaking tour with Bob’s Kayaking Tours.

The two stages of processing payments online

1) The Authorization (Approving the sale)

  • Sally books a $50 tour with Bob’s Kayaking Tours using her credit card.
  • Sally’s credit card information goes through Bob’s payment gateway. The payment gateway encrypts the information before sending it through to the payment processor (Eg. Visa, Mastercard, etc.). This ensures that her credit card information is safe and secure. 
  • The payment processor then sends a request to Sally’s bank for the $50 for Bob’s Kayaking Tour. 
  • Her bank approves the request. (Note, the bank can deny the request for various reasons for example, a frozen bank account, incorrect credit card details or failing the address verification system)
  • Once approved, the payment processor tells Sally and Bob that the payment is approved and the amount is credited from Sally’s account.

This process takes 1-2 seconds.

The Settlement (Payment)

  • Sally’s $50 is sent to Bob’s merchant bank, which deposits the money into Bob’s account.
  • The $50 then becomes available in Bob’s account. Although sometimes a portion can’t be touched, just in case Sally cancels the booking.

This process takes a few days.

Contrary to popular belief, not all payment gateways are created equal. They all come with different features that’ll greatly affect your business.

For example, some come with Mobile wallets like Apple Pay & Google Pay. Mobile wallets offer faster processing, better security, and a better user experience. They are expected to become the preferred method of payment in the world by 2025. In fact, companies have seen mobile conversion rates increase by as much as 20% just from implementing Apple Pay. Meaning you’ll definitely want to choose a payment gateway that supports mobile wallets.

Here are the key areas you need to consider when selecting your payment gateway:

1) Pricing & Fees

2) Security

3) White-Label Experience

4) Ease of Use

5) Additional Features (like Apple Pay & Google Pay)

1. Pricing & Fees

It’s no surprise that this is one of the largest factors when deciding on a payment gateway. A typical payment gateway fee for example would be 2.9% of your transaction + 30 cents.

A big factor that affects the pricing and fees of each payment gateway:

Where you’re based and where your customers are based.

For example, with RezdyPay, Bob pays 1.45% + 30 cents when someone makes a domestic transaction. However, if someone makes a transaction from the US, Bob will need to pay 2.9% + 30 cents. Here’s what Bob would pay depending on where Sally’s is from when she booked the $50 tour:

Total Transaction ($)Region of bookingRateCost to Bob ($)
50Domestic1.45% + 30 cents1.025
50International2.9% + 30 cents1.75

At first glance, they may not seem too expensive, but as your business grows, they add up. For example, if an international visitor booked a $500 tour with Bob, Bob would need to pay $14.80 for that single transaction. What this means is every single percentage counts. 

Our Advice:

Do your research, find out which payment gateways offer the best rates for your country, and for your main customer segment.  Your payment gateway choice could differ greatly depending on where your customers are from. Here’s an example:

Payment Gateway XRate
Payment Gateway YRate

Imagine Bob made $10,000 in revenue every month. Here’s how much he would pay to each payment gateway depending on whether his customers are domestic or international.

Payment GatewayDomestic Bookings ($)International Bookings ($)Total Fee
Payment Gateway X80002000$178
Payment Gateway Y80002000$210
Payment GatewayDomestic Bookings ($)International Bookings ($)Total Fee
Payment Gateway X20008000$262
Payment Gateway Y20008000$240

Notice how Payment Gateway X is the better deal when Bob has mostly domestic customers and Payment Gateway Y is better, vice-versa.

Need some help? Our team is happy to take you through the different rates available with our payment gateway providers.

2. Security

The next thing you need to consider is the security of your payment gateway. Has the payment gateway had any security breaches in its history? The last thing you’d want is a breach of your customers’ data. Ensure that your payment gateway is:


PCI Compliant

In addition to a payment gateway’s clean history, you should also ensure that it’s PCI Compliant. This is the Payment Card Industry Security Standards. It’s pretty much a set of best practices developed by a forum of global brands like Mastercard, Visa and American express. In short, it effectively keeps your customer data safe.


SCA Compliant

If you’re in Europe, there are a new set of requirements known as Strong Customer Authentication that will impact on online payments when banks of both the operator and card holder are European. These requirements are expected to be enforced over the course of 2020 and 2021. The main takeaway here is that you select a payment gateway that is SCA compliant.

*SCA may not be mandatory now, but you want to ensure that when it is, your payment gateway is ready. Otherwise, you’d have to go through the hassle of setting up a new payment gateway again.

3. White-label Experience (Using your own branding for the booking/ checkout experience)

Are you able to customize the payment gateway page to match your own website? Imagine that Sally was booking a tour on Bob’s Kayaking Tours and is redirected to a page called ipayments.net which looks nothing like the website she was on. If you were Sally, how would you feel? You’d think it was unsafe, sketchy, etc. And you’d likely close the webpage.

Our Advice

The best way to increase conversions is to ensure the entire booking journey has a smooth flow from start to finish. So choose a payment gateway which allows for a white-label experience. Customize the payment gateway page to resemble your website as closely as possible.

4. Ease of Use

When we say ease of use, we mean for both you and the customer.  Here are some features that make it easier for the customer to check out:



Guest Checkout

Some payment gateways require your customers to create an account to finalize their payment. This can be a huge hassle and is where plenty of customers drop-off. A guest checkout allows your customers to check out as a guest, without needing to sign-up, making the process as fast and frictionless as possible for your customer.


Device Compatibility

Plenty of customers now make payments on mobile and tablet. In fact, in the US, 51% of customers online make payments through mobile vs desktop. So you want to ensure that your payment gateway will work across a range of devices.


Customizable Forms

Your payment gateway should also allow you to remove unwanted or irrelevant form fields. For example, since you provide tours, shipping information is completely unnecessary. Removing these irrelevant fields makes the process quicker and easier for the customer.

Here are some features that would make it easier for you:


Ease of setting up or migrating

Does it integrate easily with your booking software solution? How easy is it to set-up and get approved? How easy is it to migrate from your current payment gateway? This may be a one-time thing, but it can still be a huge hassle. Especially if you’ve peak season coming up soon!


Dashboards And Reporting

How easy is it for you to navigate through the system and find what you’re looking for? How effective are the reports? You’re going to want something that’ll show you everything you need to know at a glance, as well as filters that’ll let you easily dig deeper into the data.

Our Advice:

Make a list of the things that are important to you and your customer. Check off each item to find the payment gateway that suits your needs best.

5. Additional Features

Here are some additional features you should consider when selecting your payment gateway.


Global Solution

If your customers come from all over the world then you’ll need a system that can handle payments from all around the world. Consider the payment options the gateway can support. What are the types of credit cards and debit cards that it can accept? What about currencies, how many can it handle? For example, in Chinese customers generally use Alipay, Wechat Pay & Union Pay. Can your payment gateway handle it? Will the payment gateway be able to handle digital wallets like GooglePay and ApplePay?


Email/ Text Communications

Do your customers pay a percentage as a reservation fee and the remainder before the tour? If that was the case, you would need to set up email or text reminders to remind the customers to make payments. Your payment gateway should also be able to automatically generate electronic invoices to be sent to the customer through email or text.


Saved Payments

Finally, you may want to consider a payment gateway that can securely save your customers payment information. If your business tends to attract repeat customers, this will make it a lot easier to get repeat bookings. This will also allow you to save payment information during booking and only charge during the day of the activity. Reducing a customers upfront commitment increases their likelihood to book.

Make a Checklist

With so many factors to consider, try creating a checklist of the factors that are most important to you. Compare the payment gateways available to you and see which ones check the most boxes.

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