Gateway Payment Service Providers Explained

Gateway Payment Service Providers Explained

Gateway Payment Service Providers Explained

If you’re a museum, zoo, nonprofit, or other cultural institution, you need a robust payment processing system that can seamlessly sell tickets, generate members, accept donations, and more. The easier you can get donors or guests from your website to a membership subscription page or checkout page, the more likely you are to grow as an organization and reach your annual goals. 

Gateway payment services are one solution that will help simplify the payment process for your guests and members. Below we’ll into everything you need to know about gateway payment service providers. 

What is a payment gateway?

Commonly used with a virtual terminal (POS system), gateway payments are essentially virtual credit and debit card readers. Gateways are the medium responsible for transferring data between a payment terminal, website, or application to the payment processor. 

Most ecommerce businesses already have a payment gateway, and pretty much all gateway payment providers come with added security by encrypting transactions and authenticating personal information and customer data. 

Difference between Virtual Terminal and Payment Gateway

While similar to payment gateways, virtual terminals (point of sale systems) refers to the software that allows you to take payments on a number of different devices. Flexible POS systems and virtual terminals can be used on desktops, tablets, phones, kiosks, and more. 

Virtual terminals allow your organization to make sales both online and in your venues. Employees can walk around with an-easy-to-carry tablet and instantly turn guests into members with just a few taps, which is an advantage over simple gateway payment service providers if you do have in-store payment needs. 

Difference between payment gateway and payment switch

The payment switch is a necessary part of any payment gateway. The switch will direct incoming payments to its appropriate recipient, ensuring that transactions are routed to and authenticated by the correct issuing bank.

Benefits of gateway payment service providers

Not all gateway payment providers are made equally, but most advanced gateways will have a competitive set of features that you could benefit from. Some of those benefits include: 

  • PCI compliance
    • Any organization that receives payments via credit and debit card must abide by PCI compliance, and gateway payment service providers often have compliance requirements integrated into their service. 
  • Encryption and SSL
    • Encryption and SSL are standard for keeping your networks secure and protecting any data transmitted between two systems (in this case, payments). Most gateway payment service providers will come with robust encryption and SSL protocols. 
  • Streamlined transaction log rather than output of credit card reader
    • Rather than tracking transactions through the output of a credit card reader, gateway payment service providers simplify the process through streamlined transaction logs. This automates the process of recording transactions and database changes made by each transaction. 
  • Fraud detection 
    • Another security perk of gateway payment service providers is integrated fraud detection. Banks apply their own fraud-detection procedures, and if they detect fraud they will automatically reject the transaction and notify the merchant through the payment gateway. 

Issues with Gateway Payment Service Providers

While gateway payment service providers come with a lot of perks and benefits, they aren’t with their faults. Nonprofits and cultural institutions may find issues with gateway payment service providers in the following ways. 

  • Pricing structure
    • Gateway payment service providers often come with a number of different fees for different transaction types. These fees will differ from provider to provider and each individual transaction and payment type. Outside of transaction charges, you can expect there to be additional monthly merchant fees, membership fees, PCI compliance fees, refund fees, and more. 
  • PCI compliance is not fully integrated
    • Gateway payment providers may guarantee PCI compliance for their individual software, but it may not extend to your POS system, data management procedures, and the entirety of your payment and security ecosystem. Gateway payment service providers offer PCI compliance for its particular use, but they won’t cover all of your regulatory needs as a merchant. 
  • Limited scalability and flexibility
    • As a tool within a well-structured payment system, gateway payment service providers can be great solutions. But for cultural institutions and nonprofits who have needs beyond sales (membership management, donor management, event scheduling, booking, etc.) gateway payment service providers may feel limited. 

In the right context with the right needs, a gateway payment service provider may make sense for your organization. If you want to look beyond transactions, however, more wide-scoping, flexible, and comprehensive solutions are available to you. 

How ACME’s payment system works with and without a gateway service provider

ACME is an all-in-one ticketing, membership, and donation management software designed to help nonprofits and cultural institutions achieve their missions. 

If you already have a gateway service provider but are looking to do more with a solution, ACME can help. If you don’t have a gateway service provider, ACME can cover all your payment needs and more. 

With ACME’s payment system, you can:

  • Unify omnichannel payments to improve the visitor experience.
  • Stay secure and compliant. ACME has got you covered and will handle all compliance, regulations, and fraud prevention so you don’t have to (including PCI regulations). 
  • Go global and scale your organization without costly cross-border fees and with access to most major worldwide markets. 
  • Expand your organization beyond payments with ACME’s easy-to-use APIs. 

Try the demo today to see how ACME can help you and your customers make payments more secure, intuitive, and effortless. 

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