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  • PMN Staff

10 Critical Features To Look For In Payment Gateway Services

Payment gateways have a direct impact on customer experience and merchant profitability. Comparing payment gateway features and taking time to assess the company behind a market offering is critical to making a sound decision when choosing a gateway. Here's an overview of 10 crucial features you should look for when selecting a payment gateway.

1. Ownership

Before choosing a payment gateway service provider, ask them:

  • Can I customize the payment pages, documentation, and reporting my merchant sees with my own name and logo?

  • Can I contract with the payment gateway provider to build me custom features that address my specific use case, or are my features limited to the general release available to my competitors?

  • Can my own developers add features to the gateway software that are only for my use?

Ideally, you want the most control possible over your gateway, which means opting for a gateway that offers ownership. Phoenix Managed Networks offers three different license options for PhoeniXGate, its payment gateway technology:

A SaaS model, where you board your merchants on a private partition of our shared platform using your own branding so they can access our full set of payment methods, processor certifications and advanced features like recurring billing, hosted payment page, virtual terminal, and more;

An object code license, where you buy your own instance of the gateway, and any changes you request from our developers build on the value of your technology on your balance sheet. PMN still provides the PCI-compliant cloud hosting and support for your gateway software and operation. Object code allows you to take control of your own technology roadmap, implementing the features you want, when you want.;

A source code license, where you can take full control of the software, making changes with your own development team. As with the object code license, PMN can still be there for hosting and support, as well as collaboration with your developers on software design, QA, certification and DevOps. Many of our source code clients have accelerated their business growth and enterprise value by taking on a source license to PhoeniXGate.

2. Fee Structure

Most payment gateway providers eat away at profits by charging you or your merchant transaction fees, merchant fees, and sometimes even a percentage of every transaction processed.

When you own your payment gateway, you will never have to pay extra fees, no matter how many merchants or transactions you board on the system. With Pheonix Managed Networks, once you own the software, there are no such usage fees associated with our solution.

The only expense you'll have to plan for is your monthly hosting fee, and while continue using Phoenix's secure infrastructure and support services, you have the freedom to host and manage your gateway anywhere you wish.

3. Security

When selecting a payment gateway service, you should consider the development team's philosophy. Phoenix Managed Networks takes an integrated security approach, building security into everything we do.

When asking a payment gateway service provider how they keep customer data safe, one of the first things they should mention is the tokenization of cardholder data. Tokenization solution ensures that the Primary Account Number is replaced with a token, which renders the data useless to any third party that manages to access it. PhoeniXGate tokenizes all of the cardholder data it handles, dramatically reducing the risk of data theft.

4. Certifications With Processors

Merchant service providers should never feel like they are hostages to the big processors. You won your merchant's business through hard work and relationship-building. The processor is a critical partner, but your ability to leverage multiple processor relationships to get the best match for your merchants is a key to MSP success.

The Phoenix gateway is certified with most major credit card, debit and ACH processors, as well as a range of alternative payment providers, but we don't favor one or the other; the choice is yours.

5. Front-End Integrations

Front-end integrations make for a friction-free merchant experience. Many MSPs find themselves boarding merchants on different gateways to meet the access needs of their clients. We think our clients should need only one gateway: PhoeniXGate.

PMN is proud to offer a highly flexible solution ready to accommodate transactions from physical and virtual terminals, shopping carts, hosted payment pages, mobile applications, and API-integrated payments seamlessly.

6. Advanced Standard Features

One of the many advanced features that PMN offers is merchant-level billing, which means you can bill and collect fees from your merchants to cover whatever fees you dictate. You provide the pricing and conditions for fees, we calculate and present the invoice and handle ACH or credit card collection of the fees due.

Another top PhoeniXGate feature is the our secure card vault. Requiring merchants to enter customer or subscriber payment information every time they want to complete a transaction can prove cumbersome, especially for bill payment applications and merchants who expect customers to return regularly. Even for retail merchants, being unable to safely store a customer's information creates friction that should be avoided.

With PhoeniXGate, fraud prevention tools come standard.

By flagging high-risk transactions and alerting the merchant service provider and merchants, our fraud prevention tools help reduce chargebacks and the associated fees. Instead, merchants are empowered to deny or cancel transactions if fraud is likely, configurable based on their appetite for risk. With this extra due diligence, everyone wins.

7. Uptime

When merchants contract a merchant services provider, they expect excellent uptime guarantees. We allow you to make those promises with confidence as Phoenix Managed Networks extends Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to our merchant license holders.

By using both Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services to host your gateway instance in the cloud, we are fast, reliable, and able to scale nearly instantly. As a result, you won't have to worry about "outgrowing" your gateway or paying for resources you don't need. You can enjoy the best of all worlds with a gateway that scales with your business.

8. Provider Reputation

Considering the reputation of any payment gateway provider is a critical part of the evaluation process.

Phoenix Managed Networks is a vendor for big banks and other blue-chip companies. Given our depth of engagement in the financial services industry, our team is well-versed in the importance of data security, compliance, and user experience. Our clients will tell you: we are responsive, dedicated, and laser-focused.

Another aspect to consider when evaluating a provider's reputation is its role in the industry. Many payment gateway providers offer a white-label solution to ISOs who will resell the gateway, while at the same time providing a direct-to-consumer model where merchants can sign up and use the same gateway under the provider's own brand. Why compete with your vendor?

At PMN, we do not provide our payment gateway directly to merchants because we do not want to compete against our MSO/ISO clients. This non-compete promise means our team is 100% focused on maintaining and improving the platform based on the needs of our clients, and no one else.

9. Influence Over Feature Roadmap

We've already detailed the importance of code ownership, but this far-reaching aspect factors into another key consideration: being able to differentiate your offering in a crowded market.

With so many MSPs limited to the same major gateways their competitors use, owning your technology stack means you can customize and expand upon features you know your merchants want.

As a result of code ownership and influencing the feature roadmap, you can foster merchant loyalty and create additional value that other MSPs simply don't have.

10. Future-Proofness

At Pheonix Managed Networks, we stay ahead of critical aspects like security, certifications, and payment methods so that you can focus on building your business.

As we continuously expand our platform to meet the changing needs of today's MSPs and merchants, we offer a continuous improvement on our feature sets. With PhoeniXGate, your gateway isn't a static package of off-the-shelf software. Our commitment to your business extends beyond our offerings today. We leverage the feedback and feature requests from our entire client base to inspire our feature roadmap and provide ongoing updates to the capabilities of PhoeniXGate to all of our clients, large and small.

Need Help Making a Decision?

Choosing a payment gateway service is not a decision that should be taken lightly. With a direct impact on customer experience and security, it takes time and knowledge to evaluate payment gateways properly. If you have questions about choosing the right payment gateway service, don't hesitate to reach out to the expert team at Phoenix Managed Networks.

Our team at Phoenix is dedicated to helping ISOs select the best payment gateway services for their needs. We'll help you ask the right questions to evaluate your options properly. Our team of security-first engineers can explain what makes PhoeniXGate the leading solution across industries.

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