September 21, 2022

How to Choose and Integrate Payment Gateway: 6 Best SaaS Billing Systems

Andrey Konoplenko

Co-founder, Brocoders

15 min

A high functioning and efficient gateway is the backbone of each transaction, Mike Strawhecker, President of TSG.

E-commerce has taken a leading position in the retail trade system due to the digitalization of the economy. According to Statista, global e-commerce retail sales were around $4.9 trillion in 2021. Just imagine that by 2025 this figure will grow by 50% and reach approximately 7.4 trillion dollars.

As online transactions continue to increase, accepting digital payments becomes essential for businesses. And to make any electronic payment via the Internet, you need to use a particular service - a payment gateway. Thus, online business owners are often confused with choosing a payment gateway. You need to make the best decision in a bunch of questions. What currencies to accept, what payment methods to offer, what the transaction fee is or how fast the money would be credited to your account.

All these matter for customer convenience and promotion of your online business. Be reasonable; the research says 17% of customers abandon checkout during the cart because the checkout process is complicated or too long. Here we give you information about what to notice choosing a payment gateway and which payment gateway provider to adopt.

payment methods

What Is A Payment Gateway?

If you sell things online and have to accept credit card payments, a payment gateway will help you to manage it in a secure and convenient way for customers.

Payment gateway is a service that allows merchants to accept debit or credit card payments from customers while trading. Its task is to facilitate the authorization and processing of payments.

Basically, a payment gateway is a consumer-facing interface whose function is to collect payment information. It also facilitates the transfer of customer data by encrypting it and using security protocols.

Note that the term payment gateway includes:

  • physical card readers in regular retail stores: retail point of sales (POS) terminal. Used to receive credit card information via a card or smartphone.
  • payment processing portals in online shops: shopping cart solution, order form, checkout page. Used to input credit card information or credentials for payment processors.

Payment gateway stands between payment page or a cash register system and the merchant account of the bank.

E-commerce Payment Process

E-commerce refers to buying, selling, and promoting goods and services over the Internet. All financial transactions are carried out online; payer and payee exchange funds digitally. So here we come up with electronic payments.

It is important that the online shopping process is easy and convenient for the customer. Several financial institutions or third parties are involved in the processing of the payment and verify the transaction data to complete the purchase in a few seconds.

See some general steps of the online payment process:

  • Customers provide the card number, CVV, and expiration date through payment pages or websites at the checkout.
  • The payment gateway sends the encrypted payment details to the payment processor when the client clicks the submission button.
  • Then data is transferred to the card network (Visa and MasterCard) until it reaches your customer's issuing bank for authorization.
  • The payment gateway receives a response through the processor that the transaction has been confirmed and authorized, then sends it to your website.
  • The checkout is completed. In a few days, money is transferred from the issuing bank to your merchant account (typically in acquiring bank).

Payment Integration For SaaS

With a subscription, customers get access to the latest software products, saving time and money on development and hardware. At the same time, SaaS companies monetize their products and raise funds for further development and innovation.

That is why automating the billing process is essential to the success of SaaS companies and startups. When scaling a business, it becomes impossible to process it manually. Thus, SaaS billing is handled through subscription billing or recurring payments. To ensure that the customers would seamlessly receive a paid subscription to your SaaS product, you should take care of three stages:

  • Payment gateway. A customer who purchases a subscription plan to your SaaS product interacts with a payment gateway. Here he selects the payment method and subscription plan and enters his payment information.
  • Merchant account. After processing the payment information, the payment comes to the merchant account. Payment gateway providers often deliver a merchant account.
  • Subscription Management. Next, you need to configure Subscription Management. Save subscription details so you can track recurring payments (monthly, yearly, etc.). Subscription management also operates upgrades, downgrades, cancellations, etc.

For your SaaS efficiency and good user experience, it's better to combine all these tools into a single billing system. However, you can use different tools for payment gateway, merchant account, and subscription management.

 Online payment process to get subscription

How To Integrate Payment Gateway

Commonly there are three main ways to integrate the payment gateway. Choosing the type of Payment gateway you should consider if you want to obtain PCI DSS compliance. Another point to keep in mind is who your target audience is and what their experience in checkout and payment procedures are.

Short note: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) was established in 2004 by the four financial giants: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. If you are going to deal with confidential financial data and process card transactions, it is a must-have. It would help if you met some industry regulations.

Non-hosted payment integration

Non-hosted (integrated) payment gateway is integrated by using API. The buyer stays on the payment page of the merchant and enters the card information. The whole transaction, including the payment checkout stage, takes place on your servers. You collect and process the payment on-site. To use the integrated gateway, your company needs PCI DSS compliance. Only in this case you have the right to store, secure and conduct an initial verification of each transaction. So, you install a payment gateway, which is available on the merchant's website. Therefore, a team of engineers is required to perform the integration. You will also need well-documented integration guides and API references.

Pros

  • Total control over transactions on your website;
  • Customize your payment system according to your business needs;
  • A good customer experience as the whole transaction happens in one place;
  • If you come up with a white-label solution, the payment gateway is your proprietary technology.

Cons

  • You have to meet PCI DSS compliance because you will store all clients' credit card tokens on your servers;
  • You may face difficulties adding new custom features;
  • To support the infrastructure of your payment system, you need additional costs and technical efforts.

Option for: medium and large companies that focus on branding and user experience.

Self-hosted payment integration

Direct Post (off-site payment) is a method of integration, which means the customer makes a purchase on your website. And the payment information goes to the payment gateway and processor for processing when a buyer clicks a “purchase” button.

Pros

  • No need to obtain PCI DSS compliance;
  • No data is stored on your company computers or services;
  • For the userl, all actions happen on your site;
  • You may customize It with your company logo, which is beneficial for your personal brand.

Cons

  • You are not able to control the user's entire experience via the payment gateways;
  • The method is not entirely safe.

Option for: all kinds of business.

Hosted payment gateway

Hosted Payment Gateway (Redirects) operates as a third party that redirects your customers to a payment gateway web page to type their card number, etc. Once the transaction data is sent securely, the customer is redirected back to your website. Here he sees the transaction approval. The whole payment processing is taken by the payment gateway provider.

The connection is made through the API. The integration can be offered as a Payment button. It's actually a piece of HTML code that implements a gateway provider on the checkout page.

Pros

  • Client card data is collected by the vendor;
  • Gateway provider has PCI DSS compliance, so the merchant doesn't need to get it;
  • Easy integration, the integration guides are available on vendor websites;
  • Most hosted payment gateway solutions provide ready-to-use plugins for online stores.
  • Ease of use. A stable checkout process reduces cart abandonment and increases sales.

Cons

  • Does not contribute to your branding, as requires the customer to leave your website ;
  • No control over the hosted gateway and the users' experience;
  • Customers may be distrustful of third-party payment systems.

Option for: small companies. The way to incorporate the advantages and security of a specialized platform.

What Is A Payment Processor?

Payment processor is a company that provides payment processing services and enables financial transactions and the actual money movement. The payment processor is connected to the merchant account and the payment gateway and passes data in each direction. The payment processor is responsible for transferring the transaction to the card network, such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express.

Payment Gateway vs Payment Processor

Generally, you can think of the payment gateway and payment processor as two halves of a transaction. A payment gateway collects payment information, encrypts and tokenizes customer card information. It transfers the payment data to the payment process.

And then, the payment processor uses this information to charge the customer's bank or credit card provider. It communicates with the customer's bank (issuing bank) and the merchant's account or with acquiring bank, debiting one account and crediting the other. So you get money to your account.

Both a payment processor and a payment gateway may be included in payment service providers, like PayPal.

payment processor and a payment gateway

Choosing Payment Gateway Provider

When choosing a payment solution for a business, you must keep in mind a range of criteria, the specifics of your business and your customers. Let's look at some aspects that you need to analyze before deciding.

Pricing: study the fees of digital payment companies

Each digital company that provides payment gateway services or tools to process and authorize transactions for consumers and businesses has its fees. You should study the pricing documentation carefully to avoid hidden commissions.

You may also need support for international payments; check how each provider presents it. They may be subject to cross-border and conversion fees and vary by country or currency.

Consider the transaction limits for the integration provider

This is an option that can determine whether you will work with a particular provider. The fact is that gateway providers set limits on the sum of transactions. Let's say you understand that there will be sell trades at $0.40 and a minimum trade limit is $0.50; then this provider is not your option. Also, be sure to pay attention to whether there are daily and monthly transaction limits that are suitable for you.

Type of payment methods: ensure the payment gateway has what you need

One of the essential questions for every e-commerce website is a way to get paid. It is good practice to offer a variety of payment methods so that customers can choose the one they like best. Tenth of shoppers quit the checkout process because there weren't enough payment methods. The most preferred payment method for buyers is credit cards, so you must be sure that the payment gateway accepts all required credit card networks.

We refer to cashless transactions; the main payment methods in e-commerce include:

  • Debit and credit cards. The most common are Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, UnionPay etc.;
  • Mobile payments;
  • Bank transfers;
  • eWallets;
  • E-Checks.

Take into account alternative online payment methods

When shopping online, many consumers still prefer to pay traditionally with a credit or debit card. However, alternative digital payment methods appeared to support online money. They are easy to use, safe and efficient. They have become an electronic alternative to traditional methods and include third-party payment services.

Many customers will find it easier to make a purchase on your website if you allow them to pay through modern online payment methods. Here are some examples of alternative online payment methods:

  • Paypal;
  • Google Pay;
  • Amazon Pay;
  • American Express;
  • Apple Pay;
  • Stripe;
  • Square;
  • Visa Checkout;
  • Masterpass;
  • 2Checkout and many others.

Payment methods for SaaS companies

If you are running a SaaS business, the experience of most SaaS companies is to use the following payment types to process online subscription payments:

  • Credit and debit cards.

With cards, customers can make individual transactions based on their subscription plan or work with a processor to help them save card details on file and automate payments.

  • Direct debits.

It allows you to charge regular payments from the bank account of your customer based on a mandate. A pre-approved agreement permits you to take money from a client's account.

  • Digital wallets.

They connect to an individual's bank account through debit or credit cards. PayPal is an example of a wallet that supports subscription payments.

  • Alternative payment methods.

Examples are Cartes Bancaires in France and Giropay in Germany.

Subscription management tools

For SaaS product owners, choosing a payment collection solution is essential. Check if your payment service provider offers subscription management features and a subscription analytics tool. It will help you track and control everything related to revenue delivery and subscriptions. Moreover, it provides a great customer subscription experience. Make sure they can easily choose how and how often to pay.

Ensure the provider meets security requirements

The consumer must be sure that his confidential financial data is safe. Therefore, the payment gateway must be reputable and provide a secure payment process for your customers.

Check the compatibility of your platform with the provider of electronic payment services

Make sure your payment gateway is compatible with your brand. It's important to consider how well the gateway will integrate with your platform. Incorporation should be smooth both from the technical and design points and provide a good user experience.

Some Providers To Opt: Best Payment Gateways In USA

Here we present some top-listed payment service providers that are most popular among online merchants and include services such as a payment gateway. Of course, it is not a complete list of possible options.

PayPal

PayPal was founded by Cofinity in 1998 as a digital wallet. It was acquired by eBay in 2002. Now it is an honored veteran of eCommerce and has a high reputation with customers. The amount of active PayPal user accounts exceeds 429 million in the first quarter of 2022. In the fourth quarter of 2021, about 5.34 billion payments were processed. The numbers are telling.

PayPal is famous as a redirect/hosted payment gateway. Through its gateway, it processes all major credit and debit cards, plus PayPal payments. Has a number of services:

  • PayPal Payments Pro, if you need integrated checkout directly on your website;
  • PayPal Express Checkout adds a PayPal button to your website;
  • Gateway Payflow. Payflow Link helps you to create a free checkout page hosted by PayPal, and Payflow Pro has additional checkout customization features with a monthly fee. With both options, customers can pay with a credit card without leaving your site.
  • The Pricing model is comprehensive. It involves various calculations not only for the usage of their platform but also concerning micropayments.

Braintree, a division of PayPal, however, it is a separate payment solution. Braintree provides clients with a merchant account, payment gateway, and subscription management, making it one of the best solutions for startups and SaaS companies. It also works well for mobile apps.

paypal

PayPal is a secure and scalable payment solution. It is an excellent option for online businesses and new startups. The company also operates as a payment processor for online merchants, auction sites, etc. It also acts as a merchant account.

Digital Goods Micropayments Purchases Agreement

The feature of digital goods is that they are delivered and used in an electronic format. For example, digital rights, digital content, podcasts, some financial products, etc. Due to technological advances, consumer spending is reduced to a few cents.

The problem with these minimum costs is that they cannot be handled by a standard system based on the transaction fees of credit card companies. To meet these requirements, micropayment systems have emerged. Micropayments are tiny transactions or online payments that may cost less than a dollar.

Digital Goods Micropayments Purchases Agreement is an agreement that regulates the sale and purchase of digital goods using PayPal. In 2021 it was discontinued. However, you can apply for a micropayment fee for the sale of goods and services through your PayPal account. The average amount of your transactions should not exceed $10 USA, and you must have a PayPal account that is in good standing.

Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay is an online payments processing service launched by Amazon in 2007. Now it is an eCommerce giant with its platform designed for online retailers. First and foremost, Amazon Pay makes it easier for its over 200 million Prime members worldwide to shop with you without having to enter payment details at checkout.

It can take a few minutes to set up an Amazon Pay button on your website. Or you can use the integration via APIs and SDKs, which takes a little longer, but allows you to customize the interface with your website. And payment transactions would be completed without leaving your site.

The company offers services to integrate and check your recurring payments and subscriptions.

Amazon Pay

It works well on all devices, especially mobile ones. The Amazon service supports almost all payment methods and credit cards. The company also has Amazon Payment Services, a local payment gateway provider in the MENA region.

Authorize.net (a Visa solution)

Authorize.net is a payment gateway service provider. This is really one of the oldest payment gateways, founded in 1996. Now it is a subsidiary of Visa Inc. Authorize net is focused on small and medium-sized businesses, and more than 430,000 merchants trusted them with payment transactions. To connect to the Authorize.net platform, you should have a merchant account. If you already have, sign for Payment Gateway Only. Otherwise, the company can offer All in one option, to install a trading account and a payment gateway for you.

Authorize.net allows merchants to accept various types of payments: major credit cards, signature debit cards, phone payments, eChecks, and online payments. It also supports mobile payments and protects users from fraud with Advanced Fraud Detection Suite.

As it doesn't have a built-in merchant account, SaaS companies can use it if they already have their merchant account and just need a payment gateway.

Authorize-net

Stripe

Stripe is a financial service and software as a service (SaaS) company which was launched in 2010. It is designed for e-commerce and provides extensive functionality. Among its clients are Pinterest, Lyft, Slack and OpenTable. Stripe can handle high transaction volumes for these companies. Stripe is also the best payment technology platform for developers. Through its APIs, web developers can integrate payment processing into their websites and mobile apps.

Stripe offers a hosted payment page Checkout. It is a low-code payment integration. You may create a customizable payment page to collect payments quickly on desktop and mobile devices.

It also works as a merchant account and subscription management platform, a good option for SaaS companies.

Stripe

2Checkout (Verifone)

2Checkout is a global payment processing platform, which allows you to sell online and accept payments worldwide, it was founded in 2006. The company was acquired by Verifone in September 2020. 2Checkout offers integrated payment solutions with customizable options for businesses of all sizes. Other benefits are fraud prevention services, merchant accounts and scalability with packages for different types of products. 2Checkout supports all primary payment methods. 2Checkout is one of the best solutions for international sales.

2Checkout offers three pricing plans with different commissions. One of them is intended for those who sell digital goods.

Has special plan 2SUBSCRIBE, for subscription business development, 4.5 percent + $0.45. Contains subscription services and merchant accounts, option for SaaS companies.

2Checkout

WePay

WePay was founded in 2008 as a peer-to-peer group payment platform to compete with PayPal. Since 2017, WePay has been the integrated payments business of JPMorgan Chase that provides integrated payment solutions for crowdfunding, marketplaces and SaaS platforms and other independent software vendors. WePay works well for multiple channels.

The company provides subscription features. WePay offers its product Core which allows integration directly into Chase's core infrastructure to manage merchant accounts.

WePay

Comparison Of Popular Payment Gateway Providers

A payment gateway's pricing and fees depend on which provider you use. We will give a brief overview, just as a guide on price since it is impossible to contain all the information. More detailed and detailed information is better to check on the provider's website.

ProvidersMonthly feeFee per transactionSetup feeChargeback fee
PayPal$30 only for Payments Pro2.9%+$0.300$20
Amazon Pay02.9%+$0.300$20+taxes
Authorize.Net$25 Gateway fee2.9%+$0.30$49$25
Stripe02.9%+$0.30 ACH/Bitcoin processing 0.8%0$15
2Checkout03.5%+$0.350$15
WePay02.9%+$0.300$15
Braintree02.9%+$0.300$15

Some other features to consider

ProvidersPayment methodsGateway featuresSupported credit/debit cardsCountriesCurrencies
PayPalCredit/debit cards, checks PayPal, PayPal Credit, Venmo, Android Pay, Apple Pay, BitcoinPCI DSS compliance; SAS 70, SDP certification; AVS, SSL, CCV, Virtual TerminalVisa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diners Club, AMEX297+25
Amazon PayCredit/debit cards, Amazon PayPCI DSS compliance, AVS, SSL, CCVVisa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diners club, NYCE, STAR, China Union, EuroCard78+100+
Authorize.NetApple Pay, PayPal, E-check, Visa CheckoutPCI DSS compliance, AVS, SSL, CCV, Virtual TerminalVisa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB513
StripeAliPay, Android Pay, Apple Pay, Bitcoin, ACH, WeChat, EPSPCI DSS compliance, AVS, SSL, CCV, Virtual TerminalVisa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, AMEX39+135+
2CheckoutWire, ACH, PayPal, WebMoney, Payoneer, WeChatPCI DSS compliance, AVS, SSL, CCVVisa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB180+87+
WePayAndroid Pay, Apple Pay, ACHPCI DSS compliance, AVS, SSL, CCVVisa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diner’s33
BraintreePayPal, Venmo (in the US), Apple Pay, Google Pay, ACHPCI DSS compliance, AVS, SSL, CCVVisa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB45+130+

Brocoders Experience: Finding the Best Payment Solutions Worldwide

Canada: Payment systems integration

Our team worked on a Canadian project CondoGenie that aimed to improve the interaction of the residents of the condominium with their board members. This multi-functional platform facilitates the management of apartment buildings in common ownership. The solution supports a countless number of users.

As part of the project, we had to ensure the security of payments in the application. To do this, we integrated three ready-made payment systems. We have chosen Stripe, Rotesso, and Xero. Due to the chosen strategy, we did not code this part from scratch and reduced development time and costs. However, when it came to the integration phase, we had to fix a lot of bugs and close various gaps to keep the entire system running smoothly.

Africa: Paystack payment system Integration

Our team was involved in the development of the Gokada solution. It is a ride-sharing application which helped to transform taxi services in Africa.

To enable cashless payments, we needed to integrate the Gokada solution with a platform that would support local payment methods in Nigeria. And it turned out to be a real challenge. It turned out that most local payment systems lack the necessary functionality and compatibility.

We conducted an in-depth study of the Lagos e-payment market and fortunately found a Paystack payment system that has reliable functionality and met our specific requirements. Payment solution successfully implemented.

USA: Payment integration for SaaS product

Our team implemented the PayKickstart payment integration for the product of SaaS in construction management for our US customer. Added features:

  • Choice of trial plan, subscription plans and one-time payments;
  • The ability to upgrade/downgrade the plan. If you upgrade your plan in the middle of a billing cycle, a partial amount will be charged;
  • The ability to cancel the plan or to change the charge dates via the admin panel;
  • Customizable logic to save payment information and to handle charging dates when updating an active trial plan.

Contact us for a free consultation and technical expertise

Looking for the right payment processor for your SaaS?

Contact us

Online Payment Solutions: Final Thoughts

To sum up, the choice of a payment service provider is based primarily on the specifics of your business and needs. It depends on who your customers are, what payment methods they prefer, how the payment solution integrates with your site, and what level of security is essential to you. Perhaps you are just starting your business; then the easiest option is to integrate a payment service provider. They have complete control over the payment process. You do not need to worry about additional bank accounts or special software. For companies that increase their presence in the market, integration with payment service providers is a way to adopt the benefits and security of a specialized platform.

Choosing how to integrate a payment gateway depends on the resources you have. For large companies focused on a personal brand, it is better to select non-hosting methods. While for small companies, the hosting method is beneficial. Self-integration is optimal for both business segments.

By choosing the best payment solution, you improve the user experience in your online store and invite customers to make purchases.

FAQ

What are payment integrations?
How do you integrate a payment system?
What is a payment service provider?
4.92
Thank you for reading! Leave us your feedback!
598 ratings

Read more on our blog