With so many online payment processing gateways out there, difficulty arises in knowing which one is right for your business, or even what function they really serve! Of the gateways that exist, Authorize.net is one of the largest and most well-known, but is it right for you?

The card-swiping machine that’s not a machine

The concept of an online gateway is simple. It works exactly the same as a traditional credit card terminal, except that the data is transmitted over the internet instead of a phone line.

And of course instead of the merchant manually recording card information with a device, the customer inputs the data via fields on their computer screen.

Think of it this way: Businesses that process payments in the physical world need a swipe machine. Businesses that process payments in the virtual world need a gateway.

The beauty of using a gateway as opposed to hard-coding your own payment application to the processing networks is that it’s easy and affordable to implement. Even smaller companies with limited technical resources can pretty much plug and play, and begin accepting online payments right out of the gates.

Experience matters

Authorize.Net is a top-notch gateway provider. Founded in 1996, they’ve been around the block.

Extensive expertise in the business helped them grow to processing over $100 billion in annual transaction volume! With cutting edge technology securing your customers’ data, this is a company that you can trust.

Authorize.net makes accepting credit card payments (as well as electronic checks) safe, easy, and affordable.

Things are not always what they seem

Everyone’s run across Authorize.net shopping online, but there’s still a great deal of confusion out there with regard to what they actually do.

A lot of people think that Authorize.net is a payment processor. They’re not.

What they do is provide the gateway for your business to connect to the payment processors.

Think of a gateway as a tool. Just as your computer cannot connect to the internet without a modem, your website cannot connect to the payment processors without a gateway.

Authorize.net’s secondary business is as a merchant account reseller, which means that they may not be ideal for all businesses, including yours!

A friend with benefits

Authorize.net is a great company with competitive a price, and I happily offer their services to my clients when it’s appropriate for them.

Going with Authorize.Net covers your bases when it comes to accepting all major credit cards, as well as international payments and electronic checks. You’ll also enjoy their award-winning service, and feel secure with payment tokenization and fraud prevention.

Through a password-protected merchant interface you’ll be able to manage and review transactions, configure account settings, view account statements, download reports, and more.

And for those wishing to dig even deeper when it comes to extracting statistical data on existing transactions, there’s a transaction details API that will allow developers to access transaction history programmatically.

Gaining access to this data can be important for reporting and reconciliation. You can view batch settlement statistics broken down by payment type, and even pull back full transactional details for specific transaction IDs.

If I lost you there with these last two paragraphs don’t worry about it. If you want a custom solution for your business you can just fill out a form to request a consultation – do so by clicking Let’s Talk. Give me a call and I’ll be glad to explain. And don’t worry, the API function is not as confusing as it seems.

A dangerous assumption

Authorize.Net is great, and I do recommend them to a good percentage of my clients, but it’s not always the perfect solution for every business. For example, maybe you’d be better off with NMI.com?

Gateway providers would like you to believe that they’ve packaged together the ultimate one-size-fits-all solution, but such a product simply doesn’t exist. When it comes to choosing a Gateway, the only way to know for sure which direction is best for your company is to seek the guidance of a professional payment processor.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming one provider is better than the other simply based on a list of sparkling features. They could both be better, for different clients. It’s my job to know the subtle nuances between different Gateways and to be able to advise you on how these little differences can affect your business.

Choosing a Gateway is just one piece of the merchant account puzzle. Click on the Let’s Talk button to schedule an appointment to discuss your individual needs.