A lot goes on behind the scenes to collect electronic payments. And online payment processing software is at the heart of the operation. An online payment processing gateway is a service provider with online payment processing software that connects an electronic shopping cart or virtual terminal/POS to an electronic payment processor. It's the gateway to the rest of the payments infrastructure that enables the use of electronic payments.
The online payment processing software passes authorization, payments, and settlement data between the merchant's website and the merchant's processor. The merchant processor links to the card association ("network"), which then connects to the bank that issued the card. The payments ecosystem is very fragmented, and thus highly specialized. Every payment passes through at least five or six different parties, otherwise known as the payments value chain.
The online payment processing value chain consists of:
- Online Payment Processing gateways
- Merchant account providers (or merchant acquirers)
- Networks (card networks)
It’s essential for online businesses (or, rather, any business with an online component - which today means pretty much every business!) to be able to accept credit cards for payments. Where it gets tricky is that there are already 200+ alternative methods of payment for businesses. With so many choices available, businesses need to do their due diligence to find the best online payment processing software for their business (based, in large part, on what payment methods their typical customer will use).
Subscription economy businesses also have more complex payment processes than traditional eCommerce businesses. So businesses will need to ensure that their finance and operations functions are set up to support the selected payment method.
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