When you’re planning to open up an online store, sooner or later you will have to decide on a payment solution. This doesn’t just mean choosing payment methods to help your business grow by letting various customers from all over the world buy, but it also means choosing the right way to integrate.
The most popular integration mechanisms are:
- API (Application Programming Interface) integrations
- Using a ready-made payment form created by your payment gateway
- Integrating through plugins created by popular shopping platforms
API – The do it yourself method
If you’re an IT buff, you know your way around different integrations, or you’re surrounded by programmers that do everything for you – API is the way to go. It is not just about integrating with a payment gateway, but also preparing a payment form for your website, where customers will input their payment information. Remember that this kind of an integration will require time, which in turn also increases the cost of implementation.
There are plenty of advantages of going with API, for instance a thoroughly designed payment form within the store is capable of greatly increasing conversion in sales. Making sure that your customers aren’t redirected to other websites when they’re paying, creating only boxes that are necessary to fill in, and liming the paying process to vital steps only, guarantees that customers won’t abandon their carts, and even more so – might want to come back for more purchases.
Using API usually comes with a couple strings attached, like the fact that having an SSL certificate is obligatory for domains where payments are accepted, you will also have to have a security certificate (PCI-DSS/SAQ A).
If your IT team is small or not as experienced, or you yourself don’t know that much about programming, a payment form is the perfect solution. Ready-made payment forms downsizes the developers’ work to a bare minimum and you don’t need a lot of programming experience to successfully integrate a payment form. You do however need to remember that configuration of this type of a form is limited.
Integrating typically comes down to simply redirecting to a payment gateways’ website with the right parameters like amount, currency, transaction description, return address, and sometimes a security code. Once a payment is complete the customer is redirected back to your website. All that has to be done by the web store owner is verifying that the customer has been redirected to the right place.
If you’re creating a store based on a ready-made shopping platform (such as Magento, osCommerce, Zen Cart, OpenCart, PrestaShop, or WordPRess), ask your payment gateway if they’re offering a ready payment form for your store. Usually payment gateways think ahead of their customers and have plugins that offer integrating through API and redirecting to a ready-made payment form.
This kind of a solution not only helps you save money, but it also saves a lot of time needed to integrate. In most cases an IT programmer is not even needed, installation and configuration of the plugin can be done through a couple clicks.
What do I choose?
Well, if you’re going to go for plugins then you have to take into consideration the fact that you will always be dependent on its creators. Every future change in the code, even if it’s for the betterment of your customers purchase experience, will be tiresome and can prevent any way of updating not only your plugin but also the entire shopping platform. Whereas integrating through API doesn’t limit your growth, the creation of new mechanisms, or adding features like single click or recurring payments in any way, however you will need programmers who know their way around integrating.