The RBI regulations sound a death knell for Paypal, and many Indian freelancers feel like they have been left out in the rain. The issue of law should probably take its own course on this matter but what matters most right now to e-commerce vendors is how quickly they shift to a new payment gateway and settle down with the new service (It is better to do this asap so that you can save valuable time, money and resources). So here’s a quick guide on the most important things to consider when choosing your new payment gateway.

1 ) Security
Card theft and fraud is the number one concern that you need to address. Surveys show that even consumers rate this as the number one reason that keeps them from purchasing goods online. Selecting a payment gateway that is trusted not only assures security of your transactions but will also assure the payer of authenticity.

2 ) Exact breakdown of cost
Before signing any kind of a long-term contract, be sure of all the breakdown of costs that will be involved. It is important to know how the costs will impact your business by comparing how much you pay as start-up fees, monthly fees, transaction fees, yearly subscription and so on. Be sure to read the fine print in all matters involving costs.

3 ) Customer Care & Support
You would think customer care would be a non-issue but it turns out to be critical. It is not surprising to hear e-commerce vendors complain that customer care would not revert back in a timely manner and cause losses to them. Be sure that customer care is available on call for quick resolution of system issues, also check the swiftness and efficiency the support team shows in resolving your issues.

4) Dispute resolution
How a payment gateway resolves a disagreement between the vendor and consumer is highly subjective. When signing up for a long-term contract, know that disputes will arise in the long-term, thoroughly evaluate the payment gateway’s stand on dispute resolution and how it affects you.

5 ) PCI-Guidelines Compliant
These are a set of guidelines laid down by the Payment Card Industry. Although it is not compulsory for a gateway to be PCI compliant, it is advised to choose one that is as it assures that the secure environment that transactions .

6 ) Processing of International payments
This is the big one for a lot of software vendors especially, considering the rate at which software exports are growing. It is very important to know if you can receive and make payments in foreign currency as the RBI guidelines make it tricky for some of the payment gateways.

7 ) Real-time reporting
Consider a gateway that provides a real time transcript of transactions. Make sure it is running and correct in its operation . This is critical to save charge back costs ( caused by fraud ) that are charged by many payment gateways.

8 ) Transaction time
Another issue that plagues payment gateways is transaction time. It can be variable as per your payment gateway provider. Be meticulous in your study of how these delays affect your business.

9 ) Shopping cart integration
Online shopping is growing in India and you may use your own online shopping cart, make sure your new gateway is compatible with your existing shopping cart and that it works seamlessly.

10 ) Support for multiple banks
Sometimes this point may be a little neglected, considering that businesses don’t change banks frequently. But none the less it is important, especially for start-ups. Consider evaluating the costs that are charged to you by your bank for transactions ( among other things like response time, etc ).

11 ) Tools and features offered
While many vendors still manually manage payment operations and management processes, consider a payment gateway that streamlines these. By that i mean payment operations like payment disputes etc should be easy to handle. Utilize these tools for management operations like payment resolution, reporting etc.

The Indian Payment Gateway industry has quite a few established players, on the whole, the business men don’t particularly feel warm towards them ( and why not?! all the high charges and bad customer service!!). There are some alternatives to the big players. Don’t feel shy to try some of them out but remember to do your homework well before you sign a long term contract with any of the payment gateways.

You should also consider reading user reviews, as the best way to get information without actually signing up for one is an open community discussion. Do let us know about your experiences with them?

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