Mobile devices are changing the world of payment gateways. Many new clients assume that a payment gateway and merchant account are one and the same. But your merchant account is just the beginning. The payment gateway is the connection between your customers’ payments and your merchant account, so don’t overlook this piece of the puzzle! Today, with the growing popularity of mobile devices being used for payment, you need the flexibility to be anywhere, at anytime, with your customers.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you meet the needs of today’s mobile marketplace.

Do find a provider who can promise security

When it comes time to check-out, customers want a site that looks and feels secure. Most customers already have a handle on what this should look like, and look for characteristics such as an “https” secure page where their information is entered, along with various logos that assure them that the page is subject to rigorous security protocols and encryption.

Make sure your gateway is compatible with multiple mobile platforms. Whether your customer is using Android, Blackberry, or iOS, you want to be able to serve up secure pages that integrate smoothly with their platform of choice. If not, this could send up a red flag, and send customers away.

Remember, checkout is when your customers are going to be most cautious. No one wants to confirm their checkout while feeling their vital personal information is not secure, but the right payment gateway can offer greater security and peace of mind. Receiving your customers’ private information directly will reduce your liability and make it easier for you to comply with credit-card industry rules. It should also include leading-edge fraud-detection tools, which could range from various security checks including signed requests, “black list” information and customer address checks and server IP verification.

Don’t shop around

Choosing the same provider for your merchant account and payment gateway guarantees the smoothest possible implementation and integration through every phase of set up. Pick a provider who can guarantee smooth integration throughout the payment process. Do not use separate providers for both, as this increases the risk undesirable issues. The right hand must always know what the left hand is doing.

No matter how you accept payments – online, phone, in-person or mail-order – your payment gateway should give you access to a Virtual Terminal, where you can securely accept, verify, and manage all your transactions through any Internet connection, on any platform. The virtual terminal ensures that every transaction makes it into your bank account.

Another benefit of going with a single provider is often a streamlined pricing structure, which is great news when it comes to saving money.

Do find a provider who can promise security

When it’s time for your customers to pay, they want a site that looks and feels secure. Most already have a gut feeling of what this should look like, and it usually includes an “https” secure page where their information is entered, along with various logos that assure them that the page is subject to rigorous security protocols and encryption.

All the security in the world won’t do any good if your gateway isn’t playing nice with their mobile platform. Whether your customer is using Android, Blackberry, or iOS, you want to be able to serve up secure pages that integrate smoothly with their platform of choice.

Checkout is when your customers are at their most wary. But the right payment gateway can offer greater security and peace of mind, receiving customers’ private information directly to reduce your liability and make it easier for you to comply with credit-card industry rules. It should also include leading-edge fraud-detection tools, which could range from various security checks including signed requests, “black list” information and customer address checks and server IP verification.

Do choose a payment gateway with flexibility

Are you selling from a blog or a smaller website, with no programming team to create a page that will satisfy your customers’ demand for security? If you’d rather focus on sales than on programming, choose a provider who can offer a ready-made secure payment page as part of their payment gateway package.

If you wish to build up to something larger in scale, you will also need a flexible API-based interface even if you don’t plan to use it at first. Down the line, this will let you customize every aspect of your customers’ experience, from the look and feel of your checkout page, to the payment methods and currencies available.

With mobile customers, you need even more flexibility: whether they choose to buy through an app or through their browser, you want the experience to be as customized and seamless as possible.

Remember that Steve Jobs started Apple Computers in a garage – if you play your cards right, your company, too, will grow, and you don’t want to be stuck with a pint-sized boxed solution when it does. Choose a payment gateway that’s mobile, flexible and secure enough to grow and travel far beyond the box.

Don’t be kept in the dark!

How long will you have to wait to find out who’s buying what and when? If you want access to information instantly, choose a payment gateway that will give you that access 24/7, from wherever you can connect to the Internet.

Up-to-the-minute details of every transaction or batch let you keep tabs on sales in real time, meaning you’ll know what your clients are doing and be able to respond instantly to their preferences.
Another way an unscrupulous company might keep you in the dark: fees. You service provider must be totally up front about how much their services cost. What are the application and setup fees? What will the ongoing periodic and transaction fees be for your account? Careful, or you may end up owing a bundle before you even start processing transactions.