What is a Woocommerce Payment Gateway?
When setting up a Woocommerce shop, one of the most important things to think about is how the business is going to take payments from customers. It might seem as easy as the customer putting their payment information on the website, but more goes on behind the scenes.
To take payments from customers, there are a few tools that need to be integrated into the business website to make the process run smoothly. One of the necessary tools to accept payments online is called a Woocommerce payment gateway.
A Woocommerce payment gateway is a payment tool integrated into a store’s website to accept debit and credit card payments from their customers. When the customers enter their payment information, what they are seeing is the payment gateway.
Some payment gateways can be customized by the business, while others direct the customers to their own website for the card information to be input. In either case, a payment gateway offers a maximum level of security for customer card information, making it a necessity for all businesses.
How Does a Woocommerce Payment Gateway Work?
Understanding how a Woocommerce payment gateway works starts with understanding the parts involved in the process.
- Woocommerce Store. The storefront set up by the business through Woocommerce
- Customer. The person purchasing from the Woocommerce store
- Customer bank. Also referred to as the card issuer, this is the bank that houses the customer’s funds
- Merchant account. This is an account with a payment processor that works with the payment gateway to accept funds from customer’s bank
- Business bank. The business bank account that accepts funds from the merchant account
- Payment processor. Communicates between the payment gateway, the customer bank, and the merchant account
- Payment gateway. Accepts customer payment information for payment processor
When the customer initiates their checkout, the payment gateway is what they see. This is where they enter their payment information such as their debit or credit card number, their bank information, or their payment app information.
After filling out their payment information, the payment gateway starts by encrypting their information. Once encrypted, the payment information is sent to the payment processor, which checks for validity and available funds from the customer’s bank.
When the payment processor has verification that there are available funds, it communicates back to the payment gateway. The payment gateway then alerts the customer of the approved payment and gives them a confirmation notice. The payment processor then requests the funds from the customer’s bank.
With the funds secured, the payment processor deposits them into the merchant account for a holding period in the event the purchase was fraud or the customer requests a chargeback. After the holding period, the funds get deposited from the merchant account to the business bank account.
Does Woocommerce Include a Payment Gateway?
While Woocommerce does include its own payment gateway, Woocommerce Payments, it’s not currently the best option. For starters, it is only available in 18 countries. This is less than ideal for businesses that do international business.
When it comes to payment gateways and Woocommerce, it is best to choose one that can handle more international currencies. Even if the business doesn’t sell internationally right now, as the business grows, international business is bound to come. Help the business prepare for this from the start.
Considering Multiple Woocommerce Payment Gateways
Payment gateways often have limited payment types that they accept. It is not likely that one payment gateway will allow a business to accept all the possible payment types from customers, so mixing and matching payment gateways can work to the advantage of the business.
When a business offers more than one payment gateway to their customers, they get the flexibility of using their preferred payment method. They will be much more likely to purchase from the business again in the future if they know their payment will be accepted.
Using more than one payment gateway helps support business innovation, expand coverage to different locations, allows the business to be flexible, and makes it easy to offer payment options that customers will be happy about.
Before jumping ahead and grabbing more than one payment gateway for the business, assess the needs of the business first. If one payment gateway offers everything your business needs, it doesn’t make any sense to add more than one, as this will just cost the business more money with no real benefit.
What to Look for in a Payment Gateway
Before choosing a Woocommerce payment gateway, it is important to know the features to look for. Understanding the needs of the business will help when doing research to find the best possible gateway, or gateways, for the business to use.
Compatibility with Woocommerce is by far the most important feature a payment gateway needs to have. If the payment gateway isn’t compatible with Woocommerce, then time and money has been wasted.
Before choosing, double and triple check that the gateway is compatible and can be integrated seamlessly with Woocommerce. Don’t just assume the payment gateway purchased for the company will be compatible, make sure that it actually will be before making the purchase.
Security is one of the most important features to consider when looking for a Woocommerce payment gateway. Some gateways will have advanced security features, while others just have the standard security features.
If the business offers subscription-based products and services, the chosen payment gateway will need advanced security features to keep the customer information safe for future use.
Money is another important thing to consider when choosing a payment gateway for Woocommerce. It is important to make sure all fees and charges are considered to ensure the business can afford it and avoid any surprises.
In some cases, payment gateways will charge an upfront set up fee and a per-transaction fee. The transaction fee is typically a small percentage of each transaction plus a small flat fee (ex. 2.5% plus $0.10).
In other cases, the payment gateway will charge a monthly fee instead of a set up fee, and still charge a per-transaction fee. It is important to make sure the fee structure is completely understood before choosing a payment gateway.
If international business is important, make sure the payment gateway can accept multiple currencies. Some are geared toward single currency use, which is why it could be useful to use multiple payment gateways.
There are payment gateways that will accept multiple currencies, but they are still limited to what they accept. Make sure the chosen payment gateway, or gateways, can accept the currencies of all the countries business is conducted in.
If the business offers a subscription-based product or service, it is essential that you make sure the payment gateway can handle this. Not all payment gateways are set up for recurring payments, so be sure to choose one that does.
Payment gateways can either be hosted or non-hosted, depending on the business needs. A hosted gateway is when the customer is directed to the payment gateway’s website to put in their payment information (like PayPal).
A non-hosted payment gateway gives the business more control over the customer experience. This type of payment gateway integrates right into Woocommerce, allowing the customers to put their payment information right on the business website.
Hosted payment gateways might be more appealing to some because they require less maintenance from the business. Non-hosted gateways are more customizable, but the maintenance also needs to be done by the business.
Benefits of Using a Woocommerce Payment Gateway
There are several benefits of using a payment gateway to accept payments on a Woocommerce storefront.
- Simple payment process. Using a payment gateway helps streamline the payment process and makes it less confusing for customers
- Improve customer experience. By accepting online payments in multiple forms, customers will be happy and more willing to shop again
- Safe checkout process. Payment gateways offer a way to secure customer payment information and prevent hackers from getting ahold of it
- Quick transaction processing. Payments can be processed in just seconds with the help of a payment gateway
- Convenience. Customers enjoy the convenience of being able to use whatever type of payment method they prefer
- Customization. With a non-hosted payment gateway, the checkout process can be customized to the businesses needs
Choose Bankful for Your Woocommerce Payment Gateway Provider!
Bankful offers a payment gateway that not only seamlessly integrates with Woocommerce, but it is also incredibly affordable. With no monthly fee for businesses that perform a minimum of $50 in revenue each month and low transaction fees, Bankful is right for businesses of all sizes.