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Top Tips on how to choose a payment gateway for your eCommerce store


Are you setting up an online store? Have you yet decided what the best payment method for your business will be? Don’t know where to start? No problem, Foundry has come up with some key features you will need to consider to come to an informed decision.

A payment gateway is the ecommerce application service provider that authorises and processes credit or debit card payments for e-businesses, e-shops and/or online retailers. Choosing the right payment gateway provider is important for:

  • Keeping your customer’s details and payment secure.
  • Taking payments quickly and easily.
  • Gaining the trust of your customers. Central to them feeling comfortable in handing their money over online.




Foundry have created a list of key things to consider to make the decision process easier.

Pointers for deciding upon a payment gateway

Ip, dip, doo…


1. The types of provider

Hostess with the mostest

You can have payments completed on your site, or off your site:

Some payment gateways enable customers to complete payments whilst staying on your website’s URL.Customers type in their details into a form on a page served from your site, these are then communicated directly with your secure payment gateway provider. Paypal and World Pay are therefore a popular choice of payment gateway because they provide a smooth customer experience by users remaining on the company site to complete payments.  Such gateways also allow you to have the design of your payment page inkeeping with the rest of the site to strengthen and reinforce your company identity.

Alternatively, you can choose a payment gateway that redirects a customer away from your site to checkout  on a different URL: Your site does not host the payment form.  Although this option often limits the design of payment form, it is extremely secure.  With this type of gateway you eradicate your exposure to payment details, contributing to you meeting the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard

Some payment providers offer just a payment gateway; you get the technology that sits between your website and the payment networks, but have to have a merchant account for money to pass into. A merchant count is a special type of bank account that collects card payment details.

With other payment providers you get a combined payment gateway and merchant account. This is usually the better option for smaller companies as it involves less setup and monthly fees.


2.  Matching your business needs

Matchmaker, matchmaker

You will find that most payment gateways are quite specific in the functionality they provide. It is therefore important that you find a payment gateway that has the features you need. Your choice may consider factors such as:

  • Are you selling a service, physical items, or digital products?
  • Are you just taking one off payments, or do you need to be able to take recurring payments? Is it directly your products that your site sells, or are you a marketplace that lists goods of other sellers?
  • Are you selling internationally? What currencies will your site need to accept?This is important to consider as the countries and currencies you expect to be dealing with will impact the type of gateway that is best for you.



3. The fees

Money makes the world go round.

Fees for payment gateways vary, some charging per transaction, some using a monthly fee system, some fees are based on a percentage of transaction amounts, the list goes on and on. To find what suits you, and the best deal, you could take a look at a site that compares fees.

The sign up fee for a payment gateway or merchant account is a key factor to consider when choosing the gateway right for your site and business. If just starting out you may opt for a payment gateway with no sign up fee. However, if expecting to sell a large volume of products for instance, then choosing a gateway with a sign-up fee can be more effective in the long run; sometimes you do get what you pay for.

Transaction fees are also worth consideration. With higher charges eating into your profit, you may opt for a low transaction fee. However, despite some of the well-known and popular gateways tending to have higher transactions fees, it is worth considering paying the extra for the benefit of creating trust with your customers.


4. Customer support

For the bumps along the road to success

It’s worth checking out the levels of customer support provided. Do you want contact with an actual human being if things go wrong? Then opt for a payment gateway that offers a telephone support service.

success5. Contract type

Don’t sign your life away.

The key thing is to make sure you know what you’re signing up to. You don’t want to get locked into a contract for years and end up unhappy with their service. Some providers offer rolling monthly contracts which allow for more flexibility.


6. Offering PayPal

To offer, or not to offer.

PayPal is typically the first gateway clients ask to use. There seems to be an assumtion that it is neccessary and equated to success. Indeed, it has the benefits of, and is often chosen for its ease, and because a lot of potential customers already have an account. However, despite these benefits,  PayPal should not be considered as the only option, as its simplicity comes at a literal cost. The charge per transaction for PayPal is 3.4%+ 20p. This over charge is apparent when comparing this fee to the 2.5% gateways such as Visa and Master Card offer. This cost must be considered before automatically opting for PayPal because of the big name it has created for itself.

7. Having a Mobile Responsive site

Opt for mobile optimisation

As we have previously mentioned, in today’s world customers shop online using a variety of devices. Therefore, ensure your payment gateway presents an attractive and functioning site no matter what device it is being viewed on.


8. Plan for the future

Thinking ahead

When selecting a payment gateway think about your future goals as a site and business. Do you aspire to open up your platform to multiple sellers in the future? If so, you might consider choosing a payment gateway that will support long-term goals so that you don’t have to switch later on. There would therefore be an easy transition to expanding.


So who offers what?

Foundry recommend that you keep these factors in mind when researching which payment gateway to select. How about drawing up a table to help you compare the key features each provider offers?


Provider Key Features
  • 3.4% + 20p transaction fee
  • No minimum contract
  • Accepts 20 currencies
World Paywp-
  • 2.75% transaction fee for credit, 39p for debit
  • 350 free transactions per month
  • 36 months minimum contract
  • £0 set up fee
  • Recurring billing available
  • 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction
First Datafd-
  • Compatible with 140 currencies
  • Accessible in over 50 countries
  • Offers recuring bills and mobile payments
  • Offers recurring bills and mobile payments
  • Available in 9 countries
  • 2.4% + 20p transaction fee
  • Monthly fee and set up fee depend upon business type
  • 12month minimum contract
  • 1.6% transaction fee for credit, 17p for debit
Sage Paysp
  • No minimum contract
  • 1000 free transactions per month, then 1.9% per trasaction for credit, 40p for debit
  • No minimum contract
Barclay Card ePDQbarclays-
  • Transaction fee is 1.5% of a sale
  • Monthly fee of £24.40
  • 18 month minimum contract


Feeling more clued up?

Foundry hope these tips are helpful in your decision of which payment gateway is best for your eCommerce store. Why not follow us on Twitter for more handy web design advice?


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