Across the Board

Blog on e-business and online payments.

How To Choose Best Payment Provider for Your Online Business?

Choosing the best payment provider is crucial for your online business. That’s the partner thanks to whom you will be able to earn money.

On the market you can find lots of payment providers whose services look similar. But similar doesn’t mean exactly the same.

So take some time to choose the best one.

Where is your company located?

Payment providers are limited by their partners. Acquirers, banks, other payment institutions. Most of them have licences for some geographic regions. Such as US, Australia or Europe. So payment providers are also limited to these regions.

First of all check if a payment provider is able to offer you processing for the place where your company is incorporated.

What payment methods do you need?

Visa and MasterCard are the most popular payment methods. So you’d probably want to make sure first that your payment provider offers them. But these cards/brands are not the only payment methods you can have.

And what’s even more important… you shouldn’t treat them as the only payment methods you need to have to sell your services.

There are lots of countries where people prefer paying with other payment methods. Such as iDEAL in the Netherlands, wire transfers in Poland or Scandinavia, Giropay or Sofortbanking in Germany, American Express in the US.

Look where your customers are based and choose the payment methods that they prefer to use when paying. Then check if a payment provider offers accepting payments with these payment methods.

What transaction currencies do you need?

If you plan to sell on several markets – you will quickly realize that your customers prefer to pay in their domestic currency. They don’t want to take time to calculate how much they need to pay in some other currency. They want to know how much your service costs and how much you are going to take from their bank account.

Again, look where your customers are based and check if the payment provider offers the ability to pay in their domestic currencies.

What settlement currencies do you need?

Transaction currency is one thing. The other one is the settlement currency. If you have several bank accounts for collecting money in several currencies it’s best to receive money in these currencies.

Let’s say you accept payments in EUR, USD and GBP. And you have special bank accounts for these currencies. Then it’s worth the effort to check if the payment provider offers to wire your money in these currencies to these bank accounts (without any conversion).

3d secure

Sure, 3d secure is not popular everywhere. It may even decrease your conversion rate if you use it for all the transactions. But sometimes it’s good to have it. Especially in case you worry about fraudulent transactions or you want to sell on the Scandinavian markets or in the UK.

Check if the payment provider offers 3d secure for your transactions. And if it’s configurable (so you can use it only when and where you need it).

Do you need recurring payments?

Not all payment providers offer recurring payments. Also, not all of them offer it in the way you need it. For instance, most SaaS businesses need to be able to get any amount of money from their customers’ credit cards at any time. And lots of payment providers offer recurring payments, but only for specific periods of time (weekly, monthly, yearly) and with static amount (so you’ll have a problem if a customer wants to upgrade or downgrade an account).

Check if the payment provider offers recurring payments and on what basis.

API vs payment form

Not all payment providers offer API for accepting payments. If you are able to integrate via API, you are able to accept payments on your own site. If not – you will need to redirect your customers to the provider’s payment form. And that will slow down the whole process of checkout/payment and can decrease your conversion rate.

Check if the payment provider offers API and how it works.

How developer friendly are they?

Does a payment provider offer some kind of developer zone? What does the technical documentation look like? Is it hard to integrate with the provider’s API? Are there any ready-to-use plugins or widgets? Are there any code samples?

Not all the payment providers are developer friendly. Some of them still offer 20th century API. Ask your developers if this payment provider is developer-friendly.

What kind of customers do they have?

Look at the payment provider’s portfolio. Look at the testimonials. Google it. Check if their customers are online businesses similar to you. Are they from the same industry, from the same region, do they have the same customers? Maybe you know some of them? If so, ask for a recommendation.

Are they regulated? Are they PCI compliant?

Check it twice. PCI compliance is the most important thing here. If your payment provider is not PCI compliant (you can check it e.g. here) keep away from them. That means that they are not safe for you and your business.

Also there are some domestic regulations that force the payment providers to be regulated by some kind of institution/regulator (e.g. FSA in UK or KNF in Poland). For instance, in Europe it’s obligatory to be regulated if you want to be a payment provider. Also that’s an additional proof that you can feel safe working with them.

Check if the payment provider is PCI compliant and if it is regulated by some kind of regulator.

Look at their prices

Currently most payment providers offer their services at similar prices. But not always. Better check it carefully before you sign a contract. Are there any additional fees (e.g. for unsuccessful transactions or some monthly/annual fees)? What kind of chargeback fees do they have? Are there any fees for setting up an account? For a verification process? For terminating an account?

That’s the next post of Build a great global SaaS business series – the brand new blog post series on Across the Board. Want to know more? We will publish much much more in the near future. Subscribe to our newsletter or hashtag #GlobalSaaS on Twitter and be first to know.

Have some additional questions? Or maybe an idea for a next blog post about SaaS businesses? Don’t hesitate to tell us about that. On Twitter (remember about #GlobalSaaS in your tweet) or in comments below.


Experienced executive, people-oriented leader, doer, entrepreneur. CEO at PayLane. Business educator on Also on Twitter.

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