If you are a merchant who has never processed payments online before, or if you are looking for a new merchant account, you may sometimes feel like you’re learning a new language. Deciphering the payment processing lingo can be dizzying. Instabill’s merchant account glossary is a great place to start for the basics. But some things, like the online payment gateway, deserve a closer look. That’s where I come in.
Let’s start with a simple definition. Online payment gateways are software applications that a payment processing company maintains and manages in order to connect their merchants with their processing partners. The gateway allows merchants to view and manage their transactions, and it allows the payment processing company to do the same on a larger level.
Not so simple, is it? Let’s break it down:
An online payment gateway:
- Is an online software application. This means that it is a program accessible over the internet, usually via your browser.
- Processes credit card transactions. It works with your e-commerce website or via a virtual terminal for mail order/telephone order (MOTO) merchants to submit your transactions to the bank and return the results–decline or accept–to you.
- Displays and helps manage transactions. Once you have submitted transactions, you can view them in the merchant panel and search for specific transactions or groups of transactions.
Most online payment gateways also have a wide variety of other features that can vary depending on the payment processor. Some gateways offer merchant account fraud prevention and risk management controls; a virtual terminal; secondary user capabilities; and merchant management features for resellers and affiliates.
If you are processing via your existing website, you will probably need to integrate your shopping cart into the online payment gateway. Many online payment gateways have modules to make integrating certain shopping carts easy; you should ask your payment processor if they already have a module for your shopping cart. Otherwise, most payment processors offer you their API in order to integrate the two.
Some payment processors send you to a third-party gateway that is owned by a different company which they have a partnership with. Instabill hosts its own proprietary online payment gateway. We work hard to continually upgrade and add new features to the Instabill Payment Gateway to provide our merchants with as smooth and helpful an experience as possible. Instabill’s payment gateway is compatible with over 40 popular shopping carts, including:
- 3D Cart
- Zen Cart
- OS Commerce
Questions about Instabill’s payment gateway? Call 1-800-318-2713 or contact us online.