Payment Gateway APIs [Quickstart Guide]
As a busy e-commerce merchant, the last thing you want to think about is a payment gateway API. But regardless of what you sell and the size of your business, satisfying customers is likely your number one priority. They are the lifeblood of your business after all.
You may be overlooking one vital piece of the customer experience puzzle. And it’s related to the most important part of the buying journey. The checkout page. If there’s even the smallest amount of friction during the checkout and payment process, it can lead shoppers to question whether it’s safe to provide their payment details, and you risk losing them altogether.
But with the right payment gateway API, you can get rid of these doubts and provide a simple and seamless checkout experience.
In this article, we’ll cover the definition of a payment gateway API, the benefits of integrating one with your e-commerce website, and what to look for when you’re choosing a payment gateway for your business.
Let’s get started.
What is a payment gateway API?
First, it’s important to know what API stands for — it’s an acronym for Application Programming Interface. An API enables two devices, applications, or databases to communicate and share information via written instructions. Simply put, it’s the software language that works behind the scenes to enable us to do things online. APIs improve the digital experience, making it more innovative and enjoyable.
A payment gateway API integrates with your e-commerce website’s checkout page to connect your store to a payment processor and acquiring network. It lets customers complete their purchases without being redirected to a third-party domain — stay on your website throughout the entire transaction. It can help provide a frictionless payment experience, boost trust in your brand, and improve relationships with your customers. If you’re not already using a payment gateway API, it’s time to.
5 Benefits of a payment gateway API integration
Using a payment gateway API integration is beneficial to both marketers and developers. Marketers can make sure the user experience is consistent and on-brand and for developers, a payment gateway API lets you create and control the user experience through the entire payment flow.
Let’s take a look at more advantages:
1. Improve the customer experience by streamlining the payment process
The checkout page is a crucial part of an e-commerce website that is often overlooked. This is the moment when prospective or existing customers hand over their payment details and personal information. If you lose their trust, you’ll likely lose the sale.
With a payment gateway API, the payment process is seamless. Shoppers are never redirected to another page, they see your custom domain, and you can customize the appearance of your checkout with your logo and brand colors. This level of convenience and simplicity lets you streamline the payment process, build trust, and reduce abandoned shopping carts.
2. Understand your customers better through purchasing data
Rather than sorting through a long list of transactions at the end of each week or month, a payment gateway API gives you an abundance of useful information. Use the real-time data to better understand your customers and their unique buying behaviors. This, in turn, will help you improve your marketing efforts.
3. Boost conversions by accepting more payment methods
According to Baymard, the average abandoned shopping cart rate is 69.8% and a percentage of that is due to a lack of payment methods available to shoppers. The more payment options you offer, the more people you’ll reach and the more chances you’ll have of converting website visitors into paying customers. Accepting a wide range of online payment methods (that are trusted and preferred by consumers) from credit cards to digital wallets to local payment methods is possible with the right payment gateway API.
4. Keep customer information safe with payment security
Payment gateway API providers are responsible for maintaining PCI compliance, which means you don’t have to worry about it. You’re no longer limited to using hosted payment pages provided by e-commerce platforms to avoid the risk associated with collecting credit card payments. You can use a payment gateway API to build a custom payment experience while the provider takes responsibility for data by keeping sensitive credit card information secure.
Choose an API that lets you process all types of payment options including mobile apps, digital wallets, e-commerce, peer-to-peer apps, and installment payments while keeping your businesses and your customer’s information safe.
5. Stand out from the competition by innovating the payment experience
Depending on the payment gateway API you choose for your e-commerce business, you may be able to integrate it with external applications. The advantage of this is that you can customize the API and innovate the payment experience to suit the needs of your business and the expectations of your customers.
How to choose a payment gateway API for your e-commerce website
Every business has its own set of needs and unique customer base. Asking yourself the following questions can help you determine if the payment gateway API you’re considering is the best match for your company.
1. Is it safe and secure?
Payment security should be a top priority for any type of transaction. Make sure the payment gateway you’re working with is PCI compliant and implements 3D Secure to prevent online fraud with credit and debit card transactions. You can also ask the payment gateway API provider how it keeps its environment and servers secure and how its developers and staff are trained to handle payment security.
2. Does it have a modern and user-friendly design?
APIs are not new, but they are constantly evolving and new standards are always being developed. RESTful is the most common API today. For web-based services, it’s the API standard.
There are two reasons why it’s important to look for a RESTful payment gateway API:
- It shows that the payment gateway is focused on technology and innovation, and uses modern practices and design (i.e., it’s mobile responsive, among other things).
- A RESTful API makes the integration process easier for developers.
3. Is it easy for you (or your developer) to use and integrate with your site?
First things first, make sure the payment gateway integrates with the e-commerce platform you use or with your custom-built e-commerce website. Then you’ll want to make sure it will make your (or your developers) life easier. The process to integrate the payment gateway API with your e-commerce store should be simple and quick, and the functionalities should be easy to test and use.
4. Is detailed dev documentation available?
Most developers would rather not have to make a call to complete the payment gateway API integration. And this can be avoided if the provider has thorough dev documentation. Search the payment gateway’s website to see if they have a documentation section. If you don’t find anything, it might be a good indication to look elsewhere. And if you do, review it to make sure it answers the most common and important questions.
5. Does it offer the functionalities you need to grow your business?
Choose a payment gateway API that provides the functionalities you need to succeed. This includes the number of payment methods it supports, customization capabilities, and the overall payment flow experience for the end consumer. If you notice any friction during the checkout process, you may want to continue your search.
6. How long does it take for payouts?
Settlement lead times are more about the payment gateway itself and less about the functionalities and ease of use when it comes to the API. But it’s still an important factor to consider when choosing a payment gateway API integration. You’ll want to make sure you will receive payouts in a timely manner.
7. Can you accept multiple currencies?
If you plan on making cross-border sales and growing your e-commerce business globally, you’ll want to make sure the payment gateway API provider supports a range of currencies from around the world.
8. Are you able to easily contact customer support?
As we already mentioned, choosing a provider that has comprehensive dev documentation to answer all your questions is ideal. But there may still be times when you need support so being able to easily contact a support agent will make your life easier.
9. What will it cost you?
Each payment gateway solution has its own pricing structure. Whether it be set up costs, transaction fees, or other variable fees, it’s important to find out what the API integration will cost you on a monthly basis and per transaction. This way you’ll know what to expect and can adjust your product pricing accordingly.
💡Did you know? We’re the only payment gateway to offer a dynamic pricing model — as you sell more, your transaction fees will decrease in real-time. This way, you’ll have more money to reinvest in your business.
Moving forward with choosing a payment gateway API for your e-commerce store
Now that you have a better understanding of what a payment gateway API is and the benefits of integrating one with your e-commerce website, it’s time to get started.
Ready to get started? Sign up now.
Questions? Get in touch.
Alexis Damen is the Head of Content at MONEI. She loves breaking down complex topics about payments, e-commerce, and retail to help merchants succeed (with MONEI as their payments partner, of course).