If you own or manage an e-commerce website, or virtually any website in which you plan on selling products and merchandise over the Internet, then you will need a system that enables you to collect customer payment information, process it, and communicate that information with the merchant account that accepts payment and subsequently transfers payment to your account (after some fees are deducted, of course). The system that does all this is referred to as a payment gateway.
The payment gateway is ultimately responsible for many behind the scenes actions that often take just mere seconds to complete, yet are actually quite complex. Payment gateway integration is also a task best left to someone familiar with the system so that all steps can be performed in an efficient and functional manner. Understanding what exactly a payment gateway does will provide you with a greater sense of why proper payment gateway integration is needed.
Contacting the merchant website
When a customer wishes to purchase an item over the Internet, they enter their payment information on a shopping cart page. Once they hit the “submit” button, the payment gateway takes over. A request is sent to the merchant website through a mode of interaction referred to as a Post Request. The request often includes pertinent information such as an order number, the customer’s complete contact information, the product ID numbers, the cost, and any other pertinent information needed for the transaction.
Once the request has been received, the customer is then given a choice of payment options. Typically payment is done via a credit card or debit card. At this point the customer enters their credit card details. The payment information is then relayed to the customer’s bank so that the details can be verified and the payment can be authorized. There are often several security protocols performed y the payment gateway and the verifying bank to ensure that information is correct and that the payment can be authorized.
If the payment is deemed to be a success and authorized, hen the information is then sent to the merchant account that the website does business with, so that the payment can then be accepted and processed. A Post Response is then generating, finalizing the transaction and providing confirmation.
As you can see, there are several complex parameters that are performed by a payment gateway, and working in conjunction with a merchant account system and a shopping cart system is also a process. Payment gateway integration with shopping cart software also helps the customer better engage the payment process and feel more secure about their purchase.
It is not necessary for a website owner or manager to understand how to perform payment gateway integration, or even all the parameters and identifiers that are generated for each transaction. The service that provides the payment gateway will often handle the payment gateway integration as well, and merchant account service providers can also provide instructions on how to connect the payment gateway to their own systems so as to ensure seamless transactions.