The Latin American Payments Blog
E-commerce is the key to retail success these days, without a question. Technology has transformed the way we interact with the world around us. We can now shop anywhere, at any time, directly from our smartphones. This has revolutionized the way retailers are able to sell their products to customers. They can now serve end-users in countries around the world; making their customer base and profit almost unlimited. That is certainly a good thing, but increased demand means higher expectations.
This shift in the collective mentality on online purchasing means there is increasing pressure for retailers to invest in their e-commerce sites. Customers now demand a beautiful website that is easy to navigate and is clear to use and to purchase from. The most essential part of the shopping process is the checkout experience; this is where the customer will part with their money and pay it to you. So no kidding it needs to be the easiest page to use on the site! This does also mean retailers have to be capable of accepting various currencies and payment methods.
That means choosing the right checkout system for your site is crucial. In such a booming industry, there are now many possible payment gateways you can choose for your site, so which one is right for you?
What are Payment Gateways?
At some point, nearly all of us have purchased something online. Whether it is concert tickets, the weekly grocery shop or some new clothes; it has become so ingrained into our culture that we probably do not think too much about it.
How well do you really understand what happens between the moment you enter your card details into the website and the point the confirmation email hits your inbox though? Well, that transaction is catered for by something called a payment gateway. A payment gateway is essentially a system that acts as the in-between for a bank and retailer. It helps to process the bank information that the customer has entered on your website into an authorised transaction.
This is a complicated task. In order to be able to meet the required security laws, this data needs to be encrypted to ensure your customer’s information is secure. That, and you are providing your consumers with safe transactions. Not only that, but a payment gateway helps to make things a lot faster for both parties; you will not need to enter the customer information in manually and the customer can enjoy their goods far quicker.
Using a professional payment gateway will also enable to you accept far more types of payment; helping you to reach those wider international markets that perhaps might have been inaccessible previously.
Tips for choosing the right gateway
Choosing which payment gateway to use on your e-commerce site is an important decision to make. There are many different styles available. No matter which one you choose, you need to ensure that it matches a few set criteria.
This is the most important aspect. Customers are not going to input their payment details if they are not 100% convinced that their data is secure and safe. They want to know their money is secure. Research has shown that over 80% of customers feel safer when security logos are in place.
Will this be a cost-free process for the customer or will they have to pay processing fees? Similarly will you be paying money on hidden fees every time a transaction occurs? Make sure you know before choosing your gateway method.
3. Accepted payment types
This is another important one. If you are planning on operating internationally then you need to be able to offer your customers the ability to pay in their preferred method. Nearly half of all shoppers have said they would switch retailers if theirs was not listed. So make sure you are not cutting off 50% of your business by not covering them.
4. Ease of Use
The world is instantaneous nowadays and customers do not want a long and drawn out payment process. Make sure the payment gateway you choose is able to be integrated easily with your existing website. And enables a smooth payment process for the consumer.
What are the different payment gateway options?
Now this is where you will have to make the important decision on which type of payment gateway you choose for your website. There are typically three main types of integration you can choose for your e-commerce site:
1. Offsite Payment / Redirect
This is probably the most basic integration method available. This is where the customer will be taken away from your website and redirected to a payment gateway on the service website. Most typically somewhere like PayPal. This is popular as it means your website does not have to worry about any security concerns. But it does mean that they will be leaving your website to make the payment.
There are still some security problems however as they are prone to being used in what is known as a ‘man-in-the-middle’ attack. That’s why typically only small private businesses use this form of payment method.
2. Hosted Checkout
A hosted checkout is an easy-to-install system for merchants and creates a seamless checkout experience for customers. They also mean you do not have to worry about the many requirements of PCI compliance issues. This is because you will not be storing any customer information.
A hosted checkout simply means you will be hosting the payment gateway directly on your website. This means your customer will be taken off-site to another window where the payment is completed. Typically, these can also be designed to keep in with the style and theme of your website to a certain point, but you may be limited.
epag operates a hosted checkout solution (JS based) with many different merchants from all segments and offers some nice customization options to ensure a good user experience.
3. Server-to-Server Integration
The full server-to-server integration (S2S) is a method that allows you to handle the transactions directly on your website. Even though a payment gateway provider will be the one actually handling the process. This is a very popular choice as the consumer experience is uninterrupted, and buyers won’t know that they are leveraging an integrated technology to your site. So the experience is a bit more streamlined from a consumer perspective.
In order to do this, you do need to either be PCI Compliant or have an SSL certificate. You will also need to ensure your security is up to scratch as you will be maintaining customer information.
Most of epag’s larger merchants utilize this form of integration to maintain a stronger control of checkout flow for their users.
Which option should you choose?
What kind of payment gateway you should utilize and whether you prefer hosted checkout or server-to-server integrations for your checkout experience will depend largely on where you are looking to operate. And the methods you are looking to incorporate on your website. If you are looking to maintain more control over the customer data and PCI compliance is already completed, or easy for you to manage, then perhaps you prefer server-to-server. If this isn’t possible for your company, hosted checkout will be a faster and easier solution.
How can epag help?
Here at epag, we help businesses who are looking to take advantage of the nearly 200 million citizens living in Brazil and Latin America.
Estimates suggest that 93.5% of people living in the region have no form of international payment, meaning you are missing out on nearly 186 million potential customers. By using our integrated payment gateways, you will be able to accept all forms of payment in a seamless and swift transaction.
In order to accept local currencies in Brazil, you need to have a local entity in Brazil. This means either going through a complex and lengthy process trying to establish your own branch, which requires an in-depth understanding of the very intricate tax laws. Or using a local payment processing partner, such as epag.
Our one-stop-shop lets you trade in the region without worrying about any hidden transaction costs – not only that we can settle the transactions in your local currency. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you expand your business.