Over 55% of US consumers use credit cards, and over 52% use debit cards for online transactions. Many people also pay offline with POS systems. All these transactions require building a payment gateway. Payment gateways connect customers with merchants to enable smooth operations between their banks.
Given the continuously increasing volume of transactions and the number of merchants, the payment gateway market steadily grows. Valued at $17.2 billion in 2019, it will reach $42.9 billion by 2025. Hence, the need for quality payment gateway software development is also acute.
Binariks, as a fintech software development provider, is ready to back you up. Use our guide to learn payment gateway development ins and outs.
What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is a merchant service that authorizes the processing of card or direct payments. It's an intermediary between a customer (their issuing bank) and a merchant (their acquiring bank) used to transfer payment information and enable secure transactions. Its main job is to ensure the customer has the money and pays the merchant.
Payment gateway software enables merchants to initiate eCommerce, in-app, and point-of-sale transactions. It's usually a web server connected with the website or POS system of the merchant. A payment gateway often unites several acquiring banks and payment methods into one solution.
Payment gateway software is provided by an e-commerce application service provider (ASP) for e-businesses, online retailers, and traditional offline stores. Other providers are banks or specialized financial services offering a payment gateway as a separate service.
How a payment gateway works
The financial operations through a payment gateway connect several stakeholders. The parties that initiate, process, and receive transactions include:
- Merchant. The company or an individual that sells something.
- Cardholder. The customer that makes the purchase.
- Issuing bank. The bank that holds the customer's account. It may be a credit card account or a checking account with a debit card.
- Card schemes. These are credit card companies that support the card (e.g., Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express)
- Acquiring bank. The bank that holds the merchant's account.
A payment gateway completes operations in several stages, uniting all these parties. The Forbes Advisor describes it as a five-step process, starting with a 'Buy Now' click of the customer and finishing with a money transfer to the merchant's account. Building a payment gateway, you will need to consider these phases.
Payment gateway vs. payment processor
Who needs custom payment gateway software development?
As a software development company, Binariks knows there are several groups of customers that invest in payment gateway development. Building a payment gateway from scratch is a big step taken predominantly by large companies, including:
- Merchants that have high turnover and prefer to be independent of third-party software providers
- Existing payment providers that want a more advanced payment processing system
- Incumbent billing companies willing to replace or update their legacy software
- Tech companies that intend to enter a new market niche as a payment service provider
- Acquiring banks that aim to enhance their front-end software
If you belong to these companies, chances are you will benefit from custom payment gateway software development. If you doubt whether you need it, check out the advantages of using a payment gateway below.
The benefits of using a payment gateway
A quality payment gateway will fit smoothly into your existing website, app, or platform to handle payments from debit and credit cards in a few clicks. It gives both the company using it and consumers some tangible benefits.
First, payment gateway solutions are the fastest way to process card payments. It allows merchants to handle transactions quickly and offer the best experience to consumers. Second, payment gateway solutions make online stores internationally available. Buyers across the globe can pay with their cards and other supported methods with minimum decline rates. Finally, payment gateway solutions guarantee more secure transactions.
If you are a tech firm offering payment gateway solutions, your main benefit is the growing market. By 2025, China will have 1.2 billion digital commerce users. The US and Europe are projected to have 291.2 million and 569.8 million users. The number of POS payments that require payment gateway solutions also keeps increasing. Hence, once you design a reliable payment gateway, you will have many potential B2B customers to adopt it.
Custom payment gateway development vs. pre-developed gateways
Even though custom payment gateway development has significant advantages over ready-made solutions, in some cases, you don't need it. Pre-developed solutions are suitable for companies that want standard payment features or have limited budgets. Let's discuss developing a payment gateway from scratch and re-developed payment gateway solutions below.
Custom payment gateway development
Custom payment gateway development means you hire a team of engineers and other tech specialists that create software for you. Once launched, you can use it internally or sell it to other companies for additional revenue. This solution is 100% tailored to the needs of your business. It has custom features third-party services don't support.
Despite being expensive, custom payment gateway development frees you from never-ending fees. On the other hand, pre-developed payment gateway solutions mean you will have to pay for the registration and every subsequent operation.
Pre-developed payment gateway solutions
Third-party payment gateway solutions are readily available systems that small and medium merchants integrate to complete transactions. This software relies on API technology to connect the gateway to existing solutions. The integration involves the help of tech professionals since configuration requires specialized skills. Pre-developed payment gateway solutions have standard functionality and don't allow much customization. Hence, such software effectively performs basic tasks but won't help you stand out from competitors.
Payment gateway software development best practices
How to build a payment gateway? If you consider developing a payment gateway, some things are essential. Payment gateway solutions must have specific characteristics to perform their tasks and ensure personal data security. Hence, you will need to follow the best practices.
Features payment gateway solutions should have
The functionality of payment gateway solutions affects the cost of the software and its market success. While sophisticated systems are too expensive, primitive solutions cannot meet users' expectations. Therefore, you need to plan the features carefully from the very beginning.
Generally, a good payment gateway must support:
- Recurring payments. Recurring payments are a model that enables merchants to pull funds from customers' accounts for ongoing services automatically. You can configure it via dashboards (for hosted payment gateways), virtual terminal commands, or using APIs. This feature is suitable for subscription-based providers that request payment at regular intervals (e.g., monthly or annually). After the customer enters their card details and agrees to be charged automatically, a payment gateway runs recurrent transactions.
- Tokenization. Tokenization involves replacing sensitive data (e.g., IBAN) with random alphanumeric tokens. They retain the original information but in the format that prevents attackers from compromising data security. Thanks to this, only the payment processor can handle transactions.
- Fraud protection. Online payments increase the risk of card-not-present fraud and other misuses. Hence, developers of payment gateway solutions must rely on the best data protection and security practices. You can also integrate third-party fraud detection solutions to get the necessary capabilities. It's an effective shortcut since fraud prevention software development is demanding.
- Integration capabilities. Easy integration with multiple payment processors enables payment gateway owners to offer different options to end-users. You must also ensure integration with a CRM system and popular business software tools.
- Virtual terminal. A virtual terminal allows merchants to accept payments with a credit card without its physical presence. It means buyers can pay over a mobile device instead of using an online credit card payment system. To turn a computer into a virtual POS terminal, you need to connect it to a cloud-based service.
- Hosted payment gateways. These are third-party checkout systems that redirect buyers to the payment service provider's (PSP) page. Users complete the payment and then are sent back to the website's checkout. The redirect minimizes the attack surface and improves security. As it takes fractions of a second, users will see no difference.
Legal and security requirements
Working on any fintech solution, you need to mind regulatory compliance and security. Custom payment gateway software development is not an exception. To avoid fines and penalties, software providers must meet a range of local and international standards, such as:
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard regulates organizations that handle branded credit cards from the leading card schemes. Hence, it's one of the primary standards for payment gateway providers to follow. It requires the vendor to:
- Implement a firewall configuration to protect cardholders' data
- Encrypt transmission of cardholders' data through open, public networks
- Have a vulnerability management program and an information security policy
- Adopt and update anti-virus software
- Implement robust access control measures
- Apply need-to-know restrictions to cardholder data access
- Limit physical access to cardholder data
- Monitor, test, and limit all access to network resources, and more
EMV 3-D Secure
EMV (an abbreviation for EuroPay, Mastercard, and Visa) is a global standard regulating credit card transactions. 3D means that three domains secure each transaction: the payment acquirer's domain, the card issuer's domain, and the interoperability domain. You make online credit and debit card transactions more secure by meeting this standard.
Peer-to-peer encryption (P2PE) is a demand from the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. It requires immediate encryption of cardholder information after the use of the card at the merchant's POS. The data mustn't be decrypted until the payment processor processes it. Hence, you need to ensure reliable data encryption while developing a payment gateway.
By meeting these standards, you become regulatory compliant and ensure decent security. Security matters for every party involved in the payment gateway operations, from a payer to an acquiring bank.
Payment gateway development management
How to build a payment gateway? Think about the payment gateway development strategy apart from technical nuances. You need to decide whether you have enough resources to do it in-house or it's better to outsource.
In-house development may be challenging since assembling a team is a complex and multi-stage process. Besides, Western labor markets witness a significant shortage of tech specialists. Given these limitations, outsourcing is a way for payment gateway development companies to start the project shortly and optimize costs.
Cost of custom payment gateway development
The cost of custom payment gateway software development depends on its complexity. Advanced solutions require a lot of time, large teams, and considerable investment. Without preliminary business research, you can never set the budget. You need to know the features, tech stack, team composition, and deadlines beforehand.
Generally, be ready to spend from $200,000 and up. You will also need to pay for software maintenance and regularly update it.
Custom payment gateway software development is an opportunity to enter the rapidly growing market segment. Whether you are a large merchant or a tech company willing to provide payment solutions, it's worth the investment. At the same time, payment gateway software development is a challenging process. You need to mind many technical, security, and regulatory requirements.
If you want tech assistance, Binariks can help. We are a software development company specializing in fintech solutions. Our team can create custom payment gateway solutions from scratch, upgrade a legacy system, or connect ready-made software for you. Visa, Google Wallet, PayPal, 2Checkout, Stripe are just a few of the integrations we assist with.