7 Tips To Choose a Payment Gateway For Your Event

Akriti AroraEvent Management

You have finalized the event theme, booked the venue, set aside the marketing budget, and decided the price of your event tickets. The next and a very crucial step is to zero in on a payment gateway.

A payment gateway is the technology that pulls money from an event attendee’s account and deposits it in your account. Simply put, it connects the credit/debit card or online wallet with the bank that has issued it. Once the transfer is requested from the gateway, the authorizing bank confirms the payment and makes the transfer. An ideal gateway should be efficient and save you some more money while selling your event tickets. This might sound like you are about to fly a rocket-ship but trust us, it isn’t as difficult a task as it sounds. Keep the below-mentioned factors in mind before deciding on a gateway and you will be all set.

7 Tips To Choose a Payment Gateway For Your Event

1. Easy Integration

You don’t want a lot of tweaking and twisting in your already existing technology. The first question you should ask is if the payment gateway can be easily integrated to your platform. If it does not support your current software and takes more than 2 weeks, move on. This crucial question will shorten the list for you, hence making a informed choice. For a technology perspective, a plug and play model is the best. It is much faster to set up and is cost efficient. You should check if it is compatible with your existing financial software and invoicing tools. Look for something that takes a minimum of 3-4 days and maximum of 2 weeks to get started.

2. Budget Friendly

Costing is one of the key deciding factors that will shorten your list further. Three major costs involved in setting up a payment gateway are:

  • One time setup cost:  This is the upfront cost that you will pay to your payment gateway provider. This involves full HTML control by giving you a whitelabel solution, etc.
  • Transaction cost: Transaction cost is very important as it is the commission that the gateway charges from you per transaction. The e-checks are charged at a rate of 1.2% to 2%. Credit card charging is higher. Try to find a gateway that allows both payments, and yet charge the same rate as e-check.  
  • Support cost: It covers the maintenance, customer support, software updation etc. Since it is a variable cost, you would want to be sure about what all is offered under support cost. The wise thing is go for annual support that is a one time payment with a mirage of services.

If you are  doing a one time event only, then you must avoid heavy set up costs. Work with free setup gateways like Stripe and that will suffice the purpose.

3. Multi-Currency Support

Events at present are known to have crossed geographical barriers. You can host an event anywhere you want, and attract attendees and sponsors from anywhere you want. After all, you are offering an experience to the stakeholders. This means that you are likely to sell tickets globally, therefore, will receive payments in various currencies. The key points to consider are:

  • Does the gateway has regional language interface?
  • Does the gateway accepts local currency or do you have to create separate merchant account?
  • What all cards does it support?- visa,mastercard etc

A merchant account is an account where the money is transferred before it gets transferred into your bank account.

4. Reputation of the Gateway

An event is a result of all the hard work your team has put over a span of months. Before finalizing the payment gateway, spend some time on gateway research. Downtime of the gateway means loss of revenue. You certainly wouldn’t want that to happen when your future attendee is buying a ticket from your website. Do a thorough research. Most payment gateways try to bind the customer in longer contracts. Look for an option that offers flexibility of easy cancellation before the contract end date. In case you are not happy, you should have an option to choose sometime else.

5. Fraud Detection and Reporting

Payments are extremely sensitive and confidential transactions. The first thing you should look for in any payment gateway is PCI DSS Level 1 Compliance. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards and ensure that every authentic payment gateway is 3D secure. These security standards add more credibility to the gateway and hence, makes it easier for you to decide. You can also try for platforms like Cybersource, that specialize in fraud detection.  

6. Payout Policy

While you are busy marketing and generating revenues, you have to be sure that you are not running short on cash flows. Although there is no perfect payment gateway that exists, but you should keep in the mind the payout period that is offered. Look for a gateway that settles your payments everyday. Also, payments gateways with merchant account functionality take longer to make payouts.

7. Hosted vs Non-Hosted Payments

A hosted gateway is the one that redirects you to a secure platform. Customers are required to fill in the details to make a secure transaction. On the other hand, a non-hosted payment gateway allows the customers to fill in the details on your platform and make a secure payment. The costing of non-hosted is higher as it becomes a whitelabel solutions customized as per your needs and branding.

Conclusion

Payment gateways have redefined the movement of money. You can make payments, receive payments anywhere and anytime. While choosing a payment gateway you must consider factors like is it a one time event or are you into event organizing business. It makes sense to spend higher amount if you are in the business. You will use it often. Non -hosted/ integrated gateways look way cooler but they have a slight risk as well. We suggest that you should stick to old school hosted gateways. The UI might not be great but the payments are secure. Do consider point number 3 if you are working on an international event and expect audience to fly from across the globe. A good check to a services implementation guide will help you understand evert technicality involved in setting up a payment gateway. Abide by these rules and sales are just a number.