There has been somewhat of a gold rush as tech-savvy businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups attempt to establish themselves as market leaders within their target niches. They are effectively attempting to claim a section of the digital landscape as their own.
Securing online visibility in the 21st Century is difficult. It doesn’t come easily and takes a lot of time, effort and coordination from marketing and tech departments. But that’s only the beginning of a user's purchasing journey. What about when they’ve found the products they wish to buy and want to check out?
Payment gateways have to be as fast, efficient and user friendly as possible. Securing conversions through purchases is the main remit of all e-commerce and SaaS websites, as highlighted by Hongkiat. It’s true that many websites will engage in other activities to raise their profile, but purchases are what really keep a digital business’ finances flowing. It's all well and good for a website to have a killer visual design, but its success will all boil down to sales.
>See also: A history of online payment security
Therefore, it makes sense that the purchasing process is as simple and secure as possible. Recent research has shown nearly half of the 14 most common cart abandonment reasons can be placed down to a website's payment platform. These range from the process being too slow, presenting options in a foreign currency, or not working altogether.
Clearly, to lose a customer at this stage is a disaster. In a physical shop, this would be the same as someone waiting in line and then leaving the shop when they’re due to be served. In other words, they want to give you their money. They want your products, but you’ve lost them at the final hurdle.
Taking the pain out of shopping
PayPal is a revolutionary piece of software. Developed and pioneered by eBay as a method to handle the vast amount of digital transactions that occur on their site every single day, PayPal solved a problem that many of us didn’t even know we had. We all have a variety of different cards that we use day to day and inputting the details of these over and over again to make a purchase can be tedious. Instead, PayPal ties all of your assigned cards up into a handy location, which can be accessed and spent simply by typing in your email address and password.
It is used extensively online, from some of the largest e-commerce retailers, such as ASOS, right down to igaming sites like TitanBet, where PayPal payments allow players to deposit and withdraw funds with minimal fuss.
This is particularly important within a fluid market such as the gambling industry, where money changes hands very fast. Sites that allow players to withdraw and deposit through PayPal offer their users a quick and convenient ways to enjoy their winnings from a game of poker of blackjack, for example.
PayPal used to be a slow service where users would have to wait for their funds to clear. However, within recent years, the technology and service has vastly improved, which now means that withdrawals can be paid into a linked bank account almost instantaneously.
PayPal has become so widespread that it was one the multiple payment options consumers often expect to see when making a purchase from a website. In fact, PayPal has become so synonymous with digital businesses that it even invests in up-and-coming firms, making it even more valuable to SMEs.
However, one of PayPal’s main criticisms is its use of fees when paying in foreign currencies or accepting payments as a merchant. This, and the centralised nature of fiat currencies, is what Bitcoin was developed to address.
Bitcoin: Digital wallet 2.0
Bitcoin is another example of a digital wallet, except the business isn’t developed or owned by a business. Instead, all funds are decentralised – owned and managed directly by the user – and can be almost instantly transferred for free from person to person, or person to business from any location in the world.
This is a radical idea and it is gaining popularity on the net, with payment services such as Bitpay becoming extremely popular, especially for digital services.
The beauty of Bitpay is that it takes the complication out of Bitcoin payments. All users need to do to send a payment is scan a QR code, and the correct amount will instantaneously be debited from their Bitcoin wallet and sent to the recipient.
Bitcoin is still not a mainstream solution, but for those in the tech community, its simplicity and anonymity have made it very popular.
In-app purchases are a big deal. Microtransactions and subscriptions are the fuel of the digital world – they are quite literally its lifeblood. It is essential that payment options can be embedded into apps as cleanly as possible, without compromising on performance, usability or security.
Stripe has been built from the ground up with both developers and users in mind. It fills the gap in the market for a super secure, yet hyper user friendly payment gateway. In essence, in terms of security and usability, it is the ultimate payment platform.
What makes Stripe special? It allows people to checkout directly in the app or website. There’s no redirection of page – users simply enter their details and go. ‘Big deal,’ you might say. But its features are more impressive than that. It’s also incredibly secure as no payment details are ever stored on the website taking payment, which makes it very secure and fuss free for SMEs. It also has favourable fees and rates and, unlike PayPal, doesn’t charge a fee for refunds or cancelled transactions. This is again something which start-ups and SMEs look favourably upon.
The common theme
Simplicity is key. Making a payment should be the easiest part about using a website or app. All of the methods mentioned in this article do a stellar job from a user’s perspective. Bitcoin is by far the most complex, however, this isn’t an issue as it caters well for its target market. For those with a tech understanding, it’s a doddle.
The recent surge in the development and innovation of payment platforms is leading to what many are forecasting as the downfall of the high street bank and traditional payment methods. It’s looking more and more likely that we will become very close to being a paperless society where money is concerned. With payment options like the above, why wouldn’t we?
These are invaluable for start-ups and entrepreneurs as they allow them to start pulling in revenue in an instant. In effect, they make it easier for consumers to spend and for businesses to be paid. It’s a win-win situation.