Before you sign: know your payment gateway’s billing functions

The growth of payment gateways has drastically expanded opportunities for ecommerce.  Before the availability of payment gate...

The growth of payment gateways has drastically expanded opportunities for ecommerce. Before the availability of payment gateways, credit card transactions took place manually, and with delayed gratification.

Remember those contraptions stores used to imprint a copy of your credit card onto a piece of paper? The customer would sign and consider the transaction complete, but the business in question didn’t get funds until several days later, after lengthy processing.

Today we’re lucky enough to have various payment gateways available that take payments immediately. And in addition to processing funds, many payment gateways have extra functions to support their customers - like invoicing and billing.

If you’re in the market for a payment gateway, you might be pleasantly surprised to find one with those capabilities included - making it easier to use one platform for both. But before you rule out the need for a billing platform, do some digging to understand what your billing requirements are versus what’s available with your payment gateway.

Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a payment gateway’s billing functions:

How much work is required from you to make billing functions happen?

Let’s say you’re looking at a handful of payment gateways, and one especially stands out because of its sophisticated billing options. Before choosing that particular payment gateway, make sure you understand how much effort you’ll have to put into making those billing options a reality. Some payment gateways offer logic you can use to create complex subscription plans, payment plans, and the like - if you are prepared to do some custom coding work.

In order to evaluate the total cost, consider what you’d pay to hire a developer to complete the custom development. Include extra time for maintenance, upgrades, and bug fixes as well. At that point, it may be more cost effective to look at billing and invoicing platforms that have robust functionality built in. In those cases, your business pays a fixed fee for access and doesn’t have the headache of managing its own customized system.

What level of flexibility does the payment gateway support?

As you compare payment gateway options, you may continue to run across billing features that catch your eye. Maybe one offers a way for customers to access invoices online, while another has a set of invoicing reports, and a last one has some level of invoicing logic. These seem like great options that could take care of payments and invoicing in one place.

Before you go any further, look back at your requirements list for both payment and invoicing functions. Payment gateways may provide online access to invoices, but do they offer an experience you can customize to extend your brand? What activities do you need reports on, as compared to the reports the payment gateway offers? And what are the constraints around the invoicing logic offered?

If the answers to these questions are leaving big gaps in your invoicing needs, it’s time to start looking at billing and invoicing platforms to connect with your chosen payment gateway. Many billing providers can plug directly into your payment gateway, which helps you avoid any manual work or duplicate effort. Data processed by the payment gateway and the billing platform can be synced seamlessly, so payments processed and invoices submitted are up-to-date in both systems.

Invoiced connects to a variety of payment gateways, including industry-agnostic gateways like PayPal, WorldPay, and Authorize.net, and industry-specific gateways like LawPay. Review our supported gateways to learn more, and let us know if yours isn’t on the list. We’re continually adding new gateways to support our customers.

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