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Posted September 02, 2019 by Bernard Clary

What Is A Payment Gateway (And Why Do I Need One)

Whether you’re accepting payments online, in-store, or both, all merchants need a payment gateway.  It’s a secure way for customers to enter their payment information, including credit and debit card details, on a website or at a point of sale (POS). 

What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is a software program that sits between the merchant and customer, often supplied and hosted by a third-party provider. It offers a secure pathway that requests and manages payment in order to take money from the customer and pass it into the merchant’s bank account.  It’s often described as ‘an electronic cash register for the virtual world’.

What does it do?
It has three essential roles – encryption, authorization and settlement.  First, it encrypts payment data, so it can move safely between the seller and the buyer. It then sends payment requests to the payment processor for authorization via the credit card or financial institution allowing the website/POS to move to the next action in the sales journey (confirmation, receipt, etc)…  Finally, it assists in settling the payment, completing the transaction and allowing for the transfer of funds between the buyer and seller. Some payment gateways also provide dashboards, analysis and reports on transaction status and payment performance.

How does it help?
A well performing gateway is good for customers. It helps ensure a seamless customer experience by enabling secure acceptance to happen in a matter of seconds. It’s good for merchants too. The payment gateway ensures smooth and accurate authorization.  If the payment is valid, the value will be exchanged.  If not, payment will be declined, which helps merchants avoid unnecessary chargeback fees.

What about PCI compliance?
Using a third-party, PCI compliant, payment gateway means that merchants never have to deal with sensitive credit card data. The gateway provider assumes responsibility for data traveling through the payment chain, thereby relieving merchants of PCI obligations and transactional security risks. (Learn more about payment data security here)

What else does it do?
As well as facilitating e-payment acceptance, the payment gateway can perform many other important functions. For example, order screening and tax calculation. It can also be used for geolocation services, providing a pathway to manage location-specific actions. Some advanced gateways can facilitate more than payments and can be used to manage and deploy value-added services directly to the POS.  Enriching point of sale with extra capabilities such as personalized customer and loyalty services and alternative payment options.

Aren’t gateways the same as processors?
There are many similarities but also some important differences. The gateway represents a system, whereas the processor is a ‘step’ in the payment chain. Processors analyze and transmit transaction data to the relevant issuing parties, a gateway does this too, but it also assists in the settlement process to facilitate the transfer of funds between buyer and seller.

Payment gateways and online payments

In order to accept online payments, organizers need access to a payment gateway and to hold a merchant account (or aggregator). The payment gateway has to be compatible with the shopping cart and needs to be integrated with the merchant account. Sometimes this means it can only be set-up after these are in place. Aggregators often offer a gateway in tandem with their merchant account e.g. PayPal.  Sometimes the same payment gateway can be used for in-store POS as well as for online and mobile transactions.

A powerful commerce investment

Payment gateways can help merchants to streamline processes and transactions, connect multiple channels and capture more than just payment data. It can seamlessly enable many additional commerce capabilities and offer in-depth analysis and at-a-glance reporting via useful transaction dashboards. Experienced payment partners, like FreedomPay, can help you discover new ways that payment gateways can empower your sales operation.

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Posted April 17, 2019 by FreedomPay

Where Has it Gone Wrong for the Brick and Mortar Retailers?

It is always sad to see an iconic British high street name like Debenhams fall by the wayside as several have done in the last few years. While there could still be hope for Debenhams, the latest in this sorry roll call, with a number of players vying to take control and turn it around, it has sent yet another warning message to other high street stores hoping to ride out brick and mortar’s decline.

It is abundantly clear that the brick and mortar model has been struggling for a number of years. Shrewd merchants have been adapting their strategy to compete with e-commerce and align with the ever-changing retail landscape, and those who haven’t adapted fast enough have felt the hit.
The convenience and speed at which online purchases can be made have been key factors in the migration of large chunks of market share from high street to online. Enormous overheads from rising rents (£4.3bn in operating lease commitments in Debenhams’ case) and the need for high numbers of staff, equates to high (and rising) costs with decreasing sales – a formula that even the best chief executives might struggle to work with.

While it would be foolish to say that all brick and mortar businesses are doomed, it is imperative for decision makers to review their strategy even if, so far, it has been working for the last 50 years; consumer needs and wants are rapidly evolving and loyalty programs need to keep pace with their expectations.
FreedomPay believes that connected commerce and customer centricity are the pillars of retail and loyalty programs today and tomorrow.

The importance of personalization and digital data

In order to entice the customer, one has to understand the identity of each person. For example, a vegan may not buy into 50% off sausage rolls. This can be done by analyzing the spending habits on an individual basis, for example, using your systems data to identify who your top-spending customers are and rewarding them. Not only that but by crunching the data to see what they buy from you and when, you can reward them in a way that they will actually value highly, perhaps by offering discounts on the products they buy most often and not the ones they aren’t buying, i.e. the sausage rolls.

The megalithic online retailers understand the mantra and place the customer at the centre of their business operations. For brick and mortars, the ‘shopping experience’ is an asset they will always have to trump online retailers and should be utilized to assert an advantage. Aesthetically pleasing interiors and helpful employees are simple but effective examples. The experience is complemented by the ability to earn discounts, free samples, exclusive treatment and VIP access to entertainment. A loyalty card can drive repeat purchases and incentivize shoppers to come to stores and the website alike. Loyalty programs have proven to be a powerful experience for customers but it should be evolving to better please customers and retailers need to invest in modern data architecture that helps build a new personalized, customer centric loyalty model.

Find out more about customer centric models, by downloading the whitepaper: Personalization and Digital Identity: The Keys To Unlock Loyalty.

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Posted September 01, 2016 by FreedomPay

Commitment to Service: FreedomPay Customers Leverage Our Expertise

October of 2015 marked a big month for FreedomPay customers – it represented the deadline for merchants to transition more than one billion payment cards to the EMV standard, and upwards of 12 million credit card terminals at merchant locations.  FreedomPay’s advanced commerce platform made the transition easy, and merchants are lauding the service expertise FreedomPay provided along the way.

16107292990_9b0e0df1be_b “Ensuring the security of consumer payment data is a top priority for merchants across all industries,” said Chris Kronenthal, Chief Technology Officer of FreedomPay. “Working with leading organizations in lodging, gaming, retail, foodservice, healthcare and higher education to implement PCI best practices including EMV, tokenization and Validated P2PE, FreedomPay is helping merchants secure their payment environment, prevent EMV liability exposure and reduce scope for PCI compliance.”

While FreedomPay’s innovative technology is the key to making transactions easier and more secure for customers, providing service that goes the extra mile is what sets us apart. This emphasis on service is why we offer on-site support for our stored-value program rollouts.  Clients of all sizes benefit from hands-on training and support for product launches.  For instance, we spend one day a week at the headquarters of one of our largest foodservice clients to ensure that we are meeting their needs as a partner.

We supply day-to-day account management to merchants to ensure their satisfaction. Our ten-person management team delivers expertise and experience in the payment industry, assisting our partners to solve for multifaceted challenges on demand.

Here at FreedomPay, we take pride in the fact that all members of the product support department are passionate about solving problems and finding technical solutions that truly address the needs of our customers.

We understand that our merchants aim to provide quality customer service, which is why we provide the same in return – especially during industry shifts like the transition to EMV.

When you partner with FreedomPay, you can rest assured that our team will provide exceptional, ongoing support to ensure that the products and services you use are deployed to your full satisfaction and are 100% operational.

Need help with anything? Our support team is available to current customers, partners, and future prospects. Visit FreedomPay online to learn more about our phenomenal customer service!

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