All Collections
Payment Methods
Choice Criteria for Payment Gateway
Choice Criteria for Payment Gateway

A list of basic criteria to choose a payment gateway for your store.

Olga Tereshina avatar
Written by Olga Tereshina
Updated over a week ago

Choosing a payment gateway for your online store may be challenging. We suggest a list of criteria that may help you to decide on the optimal solution:

Merchant Account

First, you should draw a line between payment gateways that require a merchant account and those that don't. Payment gateways requiring a merchant account usually offer attractive commission rates, for example, 1.8% of each transaction, a fixed $0.20 from each transaction, and a series of monthly charges grouped under several headings, usually amounting to less than $100. It means that your company keeps a greater share of gross sales. On the other hand, payment gateways requiring a merchant account have several disadvantages:

  • They seldom engage in fraud prevention and rather leave it in the hands of the seller to decide which transactions are safe to accept and which should be rejected. If the company suffers a high rate of fraud, the gateway provider may terminate the service.

  • Moreover, signing up for a merchant account can take around one month, and these are usually only granted to incorporated companies with an existing financial background.

  • Lastly, it can be hard to get authorization for transactions with certain credit cards, such as American Express and Diners Club. In the case of payment gateways not requiring a merchant account, the main advantages are:

  • You will be ready to sell immediately.

  • Fraud prevention tools are provided free of charge.

  • There are usually no fixed charges (only a commission over transactions). But, of course, the disadvantage is a less attractive commission rate, usually between 5.5% and 12%, with a $0.80 fixed rate per transaction. It is also worth noting that the name on the customer's credit card statement will be the name of the payment company, not yours.

On our website, you can find a list of popular payment gateway integrations for X-Cart 5:

Or you can search for some ready-to-use X-Cart 5 payment processing integrations in the X-Cart App Store.

Choose the integration that looks good for your needs and contact the payment gateway reps directly to create a merchant account. Can't find your payment gateway in this list? Email us at

Integration, Customization, and Branding

From the technological point of view, you should consider each gateway's type of integration and security measures. One of the most important criteria is that your customers receive a consistent and smooth transaction experience through this process. Many 3rd party payment gateways forget this fact. The feature acceptable for quick implementation is web form integration with the payment gateway: integration simply consists of a web form to send payment information. Therefore, in a typical transaction, your сustomer is shunted from your website to the payment gateway website. The look and feel of both websites are different, resulting in a non-consistent experience. This is proven to reduce the trust factor for a customer. Some payment gateways allow you to put a header banner or a logo. This, however, is not enough to provide a consistent experience. Some of the best payment services allow complete customization of the payment pages. You can change the text color, size, font, background colors, header, header background, etc. - all through an easy-to-use web-based interface. In selecting a payment gateway, ensure that you obtain an interface that allows you to customize the payment pages completely. If you are looking to get a secure and uniform integration, you should choose a gateway with the most complex integration method. However, the first thing you should do is consult with your hosting provider if you comply with all the requirements (SSL certificate, permission to install components, permission to open ports in the firewall, etc.)

Fraud Detection and Risk Mitigation

Indeed, business loss from online fraud can be daunting. So merchants have realized the importance of taking measures to minimize losses occurring due to online fraud. It is important that the payment gateway you choose supports basic fraud detection and risk mitigation measures. Note that fraud detection does not simply end with AVS or CVV2. Most payment gateways will offer you CVV (Verified by Visa) checking. While it is an additional measure, it does not successfully detect fraudulent patterns. Ideally, choose a payment gateway that offers you fraud detection tools apart from just AVS and CVV2.

Transaction Features

Credit card transactions have a versatile set of features. There are various modes of transaction that can be performed. Auth-capture, sale mode, reversal, partial captures, partial reversals, etc. It is important that the payment gateway supports all the transaction modes. Various business occasions require different combinations of these transaction modes. For instance, if a customer places an order you will want to authorize the transaction. If you do not have all the items the customer has ordered, you will need to initiate a partial capture at the time of delivery. If the customer has got the items, but one of them is damaged, they will return it back to you, and in this case, you will need to initiate a partial refund.


Financial transactions require profound security measures. And it is not only the Verisign 128 bit Digital Certificate that most payment gateways have. Security is a ground-up activity that needs to be effectively planned. There are several facets to take care of, including the data center physical security (where the payment gateway servers are hosted), OS and application security, firewall and intrusion detection systems at the OS and application layer, database security, and, finally, transaction security. Each of these requires initial establishment and continuous monitoring. Verify that the payment gateway you choose controls all the facets of security on an ongoing basis.

Easy Integration

Time-to-market is the mantra for online businesses. Every online customer lost to a competitor represents higher customer acquisition costs. Additionally, most merchants today outsource their website development. Therefore, it is crucial that the payment gateway offers you an easy integration process. This is another area where few payment gateways offer ready-made integration kits for all possible platforms. Quite a few payment gateways implement only complex Socket based APIs requiring you to write clients in specific languages to talk proprietary protocols. Another common problem faced here is that some payment gateways have integration kits that require a DLL or a component to be installed on your server. This becomes an issue if you are hosted in a virtual hosting environment. Your server provider may not be willing to install any component on their servers. Make sure to check up on the feasibility of the integration process in detail before you make up your mind about the choice of a payment gateway.

Comprehensive Merchant Interface

One more aspect to check from the beginning is the functionality provided by the merchant interface - the types of reports available, the interfaces available for searching transactions, processing captures and refunds, requesting withdrawals, etc. In fact, you should request a demo of the merchant interface before you make your payment gateway decision to ensure that it supports all the features you require.

Hidden Costs

Many payment gateways may have hidden costs associated with them that may not be disclosed in the beginning. This may not allow you to compare them with enough depth. Some of the hidden costs with any payment gateway service are as follows:

  • Chargeback fees

  • Chargeback Forex losses: this particular item is important. Most banks or payment gateways will charge you Forex losses on chargebacks. Sometimes this can translate to a substantial amount. Some service providers, however, will bear the chargeback losses themselves.

  • Reversal fees

  • Termination fees

  • Hidden setup charges

  • Non-Sufficient Funds fees

  • Annual fees

  • Statement fees (more for more services)

  • Customer support fees

  • Withdrawal charges

Most of these costs will not be mentioned on their websites. It is important that you understand all the costs mentioned above and ask the provider directly for all the information regarding these costs. Most providers will charge you these fees without disclosing them to you.

Time to Withdrawal

Find out how soon you can get access to your money. Some payment gateways may proclaim a no-reserve policy, but take a month to remit your funds. That means your funds remain blocked for a period of one month with the provider. While most payment gateways may maintain reserves for risk mitigation, it is essential to estimate how much time you will have access to your funds.

Technical Support

Ensure that your payment gateway provider has a well-staffed and trained support team. Under ideal circumstances, the payment gateway provider should have a 24x7x365 support desk. It'll enable you to respond quickly to your international customers who may have queries with regard to their online transaction.


With a global audience, multi-currency support becomes essential for those who have customers outside the USA and Europe. Though it is not an essential feature, it is helpful to be able to charge your customers in local currencies, or at least the US Dollar currency.

Reserve Funds

Most payment gateways will reserve a certain portion of your funds to mitigate risk due to chargebacks. What is important is to find out the reserve amounts and how they are calculated, as well as the time period for which the reserve is maintained. Also, ensure that you tie-up with a payment gateway that maintains a rolling reserve as opposed to a fixed reserve so that funds begin rolling in your account, albeit a little late.

E-Goods Selling

Another factor to bear in mind is that some payment gateways are not available for the sale of intangibles such as software and services, whereas others are.

Callback Response

Lastly, we should mention the callback response or silent response feature. What is it, and how can it help to sell with the shopping cart? A callback response is a silent and secure signal sent by the payment gateway to the shopping cart to notify it about the result of a transaction. It is extremely useful to update the order status from pending to paid and trigger other processes related to the approval of payment, such as:

  • Decreasing the stock of the products purchased

  • Delivering digital goods

  • Increasing sales figures

  • Notifying affiliates and suppliers

Related pages:

Did this answer your question?