Online payment systems have been widely adopted by businesses to turn their website into an e-commerce platform. There’s now a relatively high number of online payment systems providers, but their features will vary depending on how much of the transaction process they can handle. A few technical details need to be explained in order to understand these differences.
Technical features of online payment systems
Online payment systems will include the following features, but they will not always be provided as a package by a single provider.
These are the intermediaries used to handle credit card payments. They make sure the transaction is safe.
Payment gateways are the intermediaries between the merchant and their banks, they transmit credit card data between the merchant and customer, and between the payment processor and merchant.
This is a bank account managed solely for the purpose of customer transactions, which received customer payments. Merchant accounts are necessary to start an online payment system, but they are sometimes provided by the payment processor.
Other technical features of online payment systems
These two concepts also need to be understood to compare online payment systems:
- PCI Compliance means that online payments comply with strictly defined criteria to ensure safe transactions;
- ACH payments stand for Automated Clearing House payments; it’s a very common standard for electronic fund transfers.
Major online payment systems
Here’s a series of popular payment systems.
This universally-known payment processor draws its popularity from its ease of use and accessibility. Businesses don’t need a merchant account to accept payment through PayPal. Transaction fees are relatively high, but there are no setup or monthly fees at all.
Google Checkout is what Google came up with to compete with PayPal in the lucrative e-commerce financial services business, and works very much in the same way. One advantage is that their transaction fees vary depending on sales volumes.
Worldpay is a more traditional financial services provider which offers both a payment processor and merchant account. This means that transaction fees will be lower, but setup and monthly fees will apply.
Nochex is a lesser-known newcomer on the market of all-in-one online payment systems, with volume-based transaction fees and no monthly fees, but with a small setup fee.
Strip is a fastly growing alternative positioning itself as a merchant account which guaranteed all aspects of PCI compliance. Fees are comparable to those charged by PayPal and Google Checkout.
Dwolla is another, newer competitor to PayPal and Google Checkout trying to make a name for itself by totally waiving charges for all transactions below $10. For transactions above $10, fees are still extremely cheap, starting at $0.25 per transaction.
Authorize.net is one of the most popular, if not the most popular payment gateway on the internet, serving the needs of over 300,000 merchants. Integration is made easy with many e-commerce website platforms. Similarly to Worldpay, Authorize.net involves monthly and setup fees, but very low transaction fees.