If your company offers online sales, then you require the services of an online payment provider to process those payments. There are a number of points to consider before deciding which payment provider to commission; e.g.

  • Are sales B2C and\or B2B?
  • Is the customer expected to use debit\credit cards exclusively or are bank to bank transfers required?
  • What volumes of payments do you expect (in terms of numbers of transactions and overall transaction values)?
  • Are payments to be made via mobile devices?

See also: eGuide to Online Payment Services.pdf

Accepting Credit and Debit Cards Online

Enabling customers to pay with their credit or debit card on your website is the most basic way you can accept online payments – often enhanced by also accepting payments via PayPal.

If you decide to offer this feature, you will have to decide whether to have your own dedicated merchant account or use an intermediary aggregated account. Choosing one method over the other will mean different business processes and funding times.

  • With a dedicated merchant account, transaction proceeds, less processing fees, are deposited directly into your bank account.
  • With an aggregated account, the transaction proceeds go the service provider and are then deposited to your bank account according the service provider’s T&Cs.
  • To obtain a dedicated credit card processing merchant account, your business will have to go through a comprehensive credit evaluation.
  • To obtain an aggregated account requires a lot less information and analysis and so can be much quicker and easier to set-up.
  • Depending on the number of cards you wish to accept, you may need a number of separate accounts for processing a wide range of cards.

Accepting Mobile Payments

These payment services allow merchants to accept credit card payments directly through their mobile devices, making it possible for devices such as the iPhone, the iPad and Android smartphones to act as a mobile point of sale (POS) checkout system.


Electronic invoicing or, click-to-pay invoicing, involves sending your customers an invoice by email with an online payment option to pay with a few clicks instead.

Escrow Payments

This where funds are held in escrow and paid out to the beneficiary once agreed documentation has been presented. This gives the supplier the comfort of knowing that funds are available for payment and the buyer knows that payment will only be made only when the contract has been fulfilled.

Online Payment Gateways

By adding a simple online payment form, customers can pay your business directly on your website. Returning customers can even create accounts to save their payment information for fast and easy repeat payments.

Scheduled Recurring Billing

Via Direct Debits or Standing Orders. Again, you can add these options to your website.

Pricing Models

The pricing that you can expect will depend upon a number of factors but you should be looking out for:

  • Set-up fees?
  • Monthly subscription charges?
  • Transaction charges (and are they different for different cards)?
  • Are there separate Gateway Fees – in addition to transaction fees?
  • When a transaction is refunded, are there extra fees? Is any of the initial transaction fee repaid? You should build these costs into your customer return policy.
  • Minimum contract periods and cancellation fees?

You should then balance these against the following:

  • Processing Time: How much time is needed to process payments to receive them into your account?
  • Country Availability: Can you receive payments in your country?
  • Currency Support: How many currencies are covered? What exchange rates are charged to receive FX payments into your own currency? Can you hold foreign currency balances?
  • Payment Methods: Does it support your preferred payment methods?
  • Transfer Limits: Are there any limits as to how much money you can receive at once?
  • Technical Support: If your payments hit a snag, will the processor be there to support you until you are back up and running? Make sure to ask if they have live customer support.

Once you have a clear idea what you want from a Merchant Account Provider or Provider Payment Service Provider, then we suggest you check out the following:

Merchant Account Provider:

  • Adyen: - End-to-end payments, data, and financial management in a single solution. Meet the financial technology platform that helps you realize your ambitions faster.
  • Amazon Pay: - Boost your brand visibility for millions of Amazon customers with the fast, familiar and secure Amazon.com checkout solution.
  • Handepay: - Whether you need card payment solutions for face-to-face, online or phone payments, we've got the tools to help your business run to its full potential, adapting to your customers’ payment needs.
  • Revolut Business Account: - Do business globally with a Revolut Business account.
  • takepayments: - Card payments for small businesses made easy.
  • Worldpay: - Payments at the speed of light. Begin processing payments today from any location.

Payment Service Providers:

  • Opayo: - Formerly Sage Pay. We are one of the UK’s most trusted payments providers, helping businesses grow and accept payments from customers. In 2019, our gateway processed £40bn worth of card payments for over 50,000 merchants, online and in-store.
  • PayPal: - PayPal Commerce Platform is a comprehensive solution designed to help serve the needs of your business and your customers, whether you’re just getting started or already a thriving enterprise or marketplace.
  • Shopify Payments: - Accept credit cards and other popular payment methods with a payment provider that’s ready to go when you are.
  • Square: - Accept payments quickly, easily and securely.
  • Stripe: - Millions of businesses of all sizes—from startups to large enterprises—use Stripe’s software and APIs to accept payments, send payouts, and manage their businesses online.
  • SumUp: - Get paid easily, process orders quickly, sell online instantly and manage your money more efficiently. SumUp creates the tools you need to make your business thrive.

N.B. If you do offer an online payment service, then it is even more important that you secure your site using a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to ensure that all data is encrypted and protected.