If there’s one industry that technology has transformed hugely in recent years, it has to be retail. The fact is, most people are doing their shopping online rather than visiting physical stores. According to research, around 77% of UK adults buy goods online, with this statistic at around 79% in the US.
As a market, e-commerce is clearly lucrative. Data from Statistica claims that it generated $2.3 trillion (£1.7 trillion) of sales worldwide in 2017. And by 2021, online retail revenues could reach $4.88 trillion (£3.6 trillion) . Besides major shopping sites such Amazon and eBay, PipeCandy estimates that there are three million e-commerce businesses of all sizes globally.
The best thing about the e-commerce market is that you don’t have to be a Silicon Valley tech giant to create your own store. Thanks to technology, it couldn’t be easier to make a living by selling items online. While it’s important to have a simple and easy-to-use website so customers can find items effortlessly, you also need to have a reliable payment gateway in place to ensure that customers can make payments easily.
Payment gateways are essentially applications that handle credit cards and direct payments processing for e-commerce websites, as well as traditional brick and mortar outlets. Aimed at enabling smooth payment transactions, they usually connect payment portals to banking services. This service also has security processes in place to identify and block fraudsters from hijacking payments and credit card details. We've picked out the best of these solutions here.
- We've also highlighted the best credit card processing services
As a company, Tipalti may be a more obscure name, but it’s developed one of the most popular payment gateway solutions on the market. Its platform aims to automate the entire payments operation while ensuring that your business is compliant with tax laws and regulations.
The software gives companies the tools to cut mundane financial processes and drive revenue growth, with it capable of automating 80% of your workload. That’s quite a claim, but the software does offer some nifty abilities.
For instance, it comes with self-service registration, payment data vetting and capture, information validation, invoice capture, purchase order matching, advanced approvals routing, tax form checking and annual financial reports. There’s also support for 120 global currencies.
Aimed predominantly at mass payments, the Tipalti Accounts Payable solution is used by a range of major companies, including Indeed, Twitter, Amazon, Vimeo, Nikon and GoPro. Because this is a corporate solution, prices vary and firms are asked to contact Tipalti for a quote. However, there is a demo available.
The main aim of these solutions is to streamline the payments process, and Authorize.net does exactly that. Developed with firms of all sizes in mind, the platform gives you the tools to sell items online, mobile or at a store. It accepts credit cards, e-checks and other payment methods.
With the solution, you can accept payments from websites and transfer funds into a merchant bank account quickly. It supports all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner’s Club and JCB. As well as this, the platform is compatible with digital payment services such as Apple Pay, PayPal and Visa Checkout.
Additionally, customers can purchase items by entering their payment details into a telephone. Although the software can accept transactions made by customers all over the world, your business must be registered in the US, UK, Canada, Europe or Australia if you’d like to use it. Just like Tipalti, you have to email the company to get access to a list of price plans.
Stripe is yet another powerful payment platform designed for internet businesses, with the company claiming to handle billions of dollars worth of transactions annually. The main difference between this service and Tipalti or Authorize.net is that it isn’t an out-of-the-box solution. Instead, you’re provided with a range of flexible tools to develop your own payment processes.
Designed for larger firms, it offers a plethora of APIs that allow you to create your own subscription services, on-demand marketplaces, crowdfunding platforms. It supports a range of development languages, including Ruby, Python, PHP and Java.
Although Stripe does need a lot more technological knowledge from the user, it’s still a feature-rich payment gateway generally. Not only does it support more than a hundred currencies, but there are features such as mobile payments, Bitcoin integration, subscription billing and one-click checkout. Users also get access to a dashboard where they can visualize transactions.
Stripe doesn’t advertize the cost of the platform, but you can contact the firm for a quote. However, you only need to pay for the features you use, which is particularly handy if you find some elements of the software too hard to use or superfluous.
Described as the payments platform for growth, Ayden is used by companies such as Uber, Netflix, Spotify, EasyJet and Etsy to handle business and customer transactions. The software lets you accept every payment made to your company from a single platform, as well as giving you tools to manage risk and track results.
Not only does Ayden accept more than 250 payment methods and 150 global currencies, but it also lets you analyse transaction data. For example, you’re able to identify buyer behavior and patterns, allowing you to tweak products and services. There’s also a built-in risk tool that cuts through data to identify and fight cases of fraud. Processing fees start at €0.10, and you have the option to set up a test account.
Boasting more than 220 million active accounts around the world, PayPal is clearly the most widely used payments platform. Founded in 1998 as Cofinity, it lets you make and receive payments all over the world.
It provides payment processing services for e-commerce vendors, auction sites and other commercial entities globally. The business version of PayPal allows you to create and distribute invoices, accept payments through your company website or mobile application, and sell items internationally.
The platform is normally associated with online marketplace eBay, but it’s worth noting that by 2020, it’ll cease to be its main payment option. While eBay will continue to offer it as an optional payment service, it will instead use Ayden as the main payment processor. Speaking in February, the company said it made the move to offer customers more competitive prices.