Payment gateways

What is a payment gateway?

When it comes to e-commerce businesses there are two elements which need to be considered in order to process customer card transactions. The first is a merchant account with a payment processing company and the second is a payment gateway. But what is a payment gateway? How does it work?

How payment gateways work?

A payment gateway is a platform which encrypts customer payment information. See diagram below, the payment gateway sits between your e-commerce store, and merchant account. This technology protects the customer’s personal data, including card payment details, from getting into the wrong hands. Payment gateways, explained simply, are a safety net and act as reassurance to the customer and the card companies that their details are secure.

We’ve put together a step by step guide to explain how a payment gateway system works in plain English and with no fancy terminology!

  1. The customer visits an e-commerce store, adds items to a shopping basket. Clicks ‘checkout’ and enters card information
  2. The payment gateway transfers this information securely to the merchant account provider (or payment processor)
  3. They then contact the customers bank to authorise the transaction
  4. The funds are then transferred to your merchant account
  5. Finally funds each your business account — the time scale of this largely depends on your merchant account provider

Payment gateway explained

Finding the best payment gateway

Providing the merchant account is agreed, a payment gateway can be set up relatively easily. A lot of providers ‘sell’ the two services together (payment gateways and merchant accounts). However, it may be worthwhile shopping around for both separately, and could mean that you save money on the card transactions your business takes. At Merchant Advice Service, we deal with experts in the industry who can help in the following areas, call us today;

  • UK payment gateway solutions

  • International payment gateways

  • High-risk payment gateway providers

  • Payment gateways for start-up businesses

Merchant Advice Service advisors deal with payment gateway and merchant account applications on a daily basis, we understand that it can seem a little daunting with lots of industry terminology thrown around, that’s why we take the straight talking ‘plain English approach.’ Our aim is to guide you through your application, trouble free.


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