There are lots of different payment gateway providers to choose from when using an online booking system, but what’s the best one? and what are the differences? These are some of the questions we get asked a lot from businesses who are just venturing into the world of online booking systems.
To start with the basics, to take your customer’s credit card details on your website you will firstly need to use a payment gateway. A payment gateway is an e-commerce service provider that authorises credit card payments. If the credit card information submitted matches the information on file with the credit card company and the charge is approved, the payment gateway will then transfer the money from your customers credit card into your account. They’re also ultra secure and encrypt the customers credit card details.
What payment gateway to use for your online booking system:
When setting up your online booking system, payment gateways are already integrated, so it’s up to you to decide which one to choose from. One that has grabbed our attention is Stripe. The company, founded by Limerick brothers Patrick and John Collison in 2010, has been getting a lot of media coverage recently announcing last month a round of investment that values Stripe at $1.75 billion only three years after the service launched, which is pretty impressive.
One of the main features that makes Stripe attractive is its easy set-up. The set-up allows you to set-up and verify your accounts in minutes, you just need a bank account to link to your account and that’s it. Typically you need a merchant account to sign up to payment gateways but Stripe is different in this respect. It’s because of this that payments from Stripe take normally seven days to get to your bank account, which is longer than with merchant accounts which transfer the funds on the same day. The pricing also simple at 2.4% + 0.24 cent per transaction and even though Stripe is seen as being more expensive than some of its competitors, the overall cost of Stripe is lowered when you factor in the zero set-up costs versus setting up a merchant account.
PayPal is another payment gateway to choose from. It’s widely recognised and trusted which is a plus, the costs are broadly the same as other payment gateways, although it can work out cheaper if you’re doing higher volume. For these reasons it is widely used by businesses to take payment through their online booking system. One of the drawbacks however of using PayPal is that it directs the customers away from your site to the PayPal site, prompting them to either input their PayPal account details or create an account. This breaks the booking flow for the customer and can therefore decrease your online conversion.
We have integrated a number of payment gateways into our booking software including Stripe, Paypal and Realex. The decision on which one you choose will depend ultimately on costs which can be direct and indirect, plus the ease of set up.
Whatever payment gateway you use, by giving your customers the ability to pay through your online booking system, you are taking the right steps in making it easier for your customers to hand over their money. One thing is for sure, your online booking conversion will definitely see a significant increase.