|March 20th, 2020|
The electronic payments industry is on a victory lap. As the number of digital transactions grows exponentially so does the financial technology that makes online payment processing better and smoother. Both e-commerce and payment processing tech are complementary to each other as one fuels another’s growth. Dawn of new technologies and services has helped in the expansion of e-commerce.
What is a Payment Gateway?
A payment gateway is the secure web portal/webpage where we input our account details or card data to complete a payment online. Payment gateways are part of e-commerce websites, web/mobile applications and e-stores. They have become a bit old school with better and faster fin-tech pouring in, as they come with risks along with the benefits. Moreover, they are more vulnerable to cyberattacks as they take require the customer to navigate off the website to another location on the internet. This offers criminals a window to breach data or launch DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks.
What are Payment Gateway APIs?
An API (Application Program Interface) is a program that establishes a communication link between two software. In case of an API, unlike ‘payment gateway,’ a user doesn’t have to navigate out of the application/website to complete the transaction, as it can be done by staying on the website itself. APIs transform the user experience as they form the important link between the application/website of the business and the payment processing system being used on both ends; the customer and the merchant.
There are several players in the market who offer these API services. As a business owner, sometimes one can get confused about which service to opt for. APIs are customizable and work on a need basis. Before choosing an API service, one must be decisive about the expected features and requirements. Listed below are some of the prominent features associated with payment gateway APIs, these are vital in choosing the appropriate payment gateway API service for your business.
API Structure & Design: As new standards keep coming, APIs can be modified by developers to reflect the standards in the API design, which benefits both the users and developers. Developers can tweak the APIs to add or remove functions depending on the requirements.
API Security & PCI Compliance: Payment processing means sensitive details like account information and cash/card transactions which make these systems a potential target for cyberattacks. Hackers constantly try to steal financial information or simply tend to render the service dysfunctional by bombarding it with spam/fake requests, which ultimately results in a server crash. PCI (Payment Cards Industry) compliance is a set of guidelines that must be followed. It refers to the technology and processes that make up the payment security system. Ideally, API services implement the PCI compliance, bolster the user interface with fraud protection features like biometrics, and 2 factor authentication etc.
API Efficiency & Ease of Use: The function and efficiency of a payment gateway API are totally linked to the business they are implemented in, thus it becomes imperative to choose the right API service that corresponds to your business needs. There are pre-built API modules, pre-written codes, plugins and what not that can be picked and used directly with your application/website, saving man hours and efforts which can be used in improving the process and making it more efficient and simpler.
API Documentation & Reporting: Documentation is an integral part of any API software since it helps in integration of the app with a business and also comes handy as a reference during troubleshooting and debugging. Without the proper documentation, a developer becomes just like ‘a deer caught in the headlights.’
APIs also generate advanced reports that are data driven. These help in making logical decisions regarding the business and help maximize its benefits.
Reliable Tech Support: As mentioned earlier, security features are a must for APIs. Along with them a trustworthy technical support system that can provide assistance during times of emergency via call/chat or e-mail is a requirement from APIs.
Cross Platform Seamless Integration: Last, but not the least, a payment gateway API must support cross platform functionality. This means that it should be swift in integrating with software like POS, accounting applications etc.
APIs offer several advantages over the conventional payment gateways:
1. Efficiency: APIs are handy to for the developers as they allow adding/removing features as per need.
2. Speed & Flexibility: Fast, frugal and totally customizable solutions for businesses.
3. API Ecosystem: Features can be built on top of the basic API structure.
4. Globalization: Inclusion of different regions, languages, currencies, banks etc.
5. Good For Economics: As discussed, they improve conversion rates.
6. Multiple Options: Flexibility to accept all payments, for both small and large businesses.
As a business owner, we hope that this helps you in making an informed decision about the API service to use. Moreover, you now know what features and functions to expect from your API service provider. A popular and trusted payment gateway API can add credibility and trust to your business since customers feel comfortable in sharing their financial details when they see a brand name they recognize and trust.
Payment processing technology is undergoing rapid changes which makes it all the more necessary to stay abreast with the latest. As millennials generate income and gain purchasing power, e-commerce is set to explode and so is the payment processing industry. In emerging countries, digital transactions are on an all time rise and this trend is here to stay.