Payment Gateway Recommendations
Nearly all payment gateways can be placed in one of two categories, Real-Time Transaction gateways and Delayed Response payment processors.
These gateways offer inline card validation and funds verification in real time during the checkout process and can instantly tell the application and customer if the transaction is successful or not. The advantage here is that the application can finalize the transaction immediately, or the customer can be informed of a failed transaction and given another opportunity to check out. There are many gateways that provide this sort of processing. Our recommended provider for real-time transactions is Authorize.net. Their rates are very competitive, their reputation is stellar, and their fraud protection features are the among the very best in the industry.
Authorize.net also makes it extremely easy to set up your online merchant account by filling out a single application, after which the whole process is handled for you, making it quick and easy to take online payments with one of the best payment gateways available.
Common examples of Delayed Response payment gateways are PayPal Standard (IPN) and WorldPay Select Junior. These function by sending the transaction to the gateway, with the actual transaction results sent back to the application later - it could be a minute, or hours later. The application will take the order, but the order should not be shipped or be considered concluded until the response comes back from the gateway. The disadvantage of this is noticeable if the customer thinks their transaction is complete, and is shown an order confirmation page, when the actual transaction was not properly fulfilled. If the transaction ultimately fails, once the merchant is notified they must then notify the customer. This can be inconvenient.
One of the key advantages of this sort of gateway is that the actual payment collection is usually taken on a "landing page" of the provider and after payment is collected the customer is then sent back to the merchant's site, offloading any contact with the credit card, which can have advantages for PCI compliance or other security concerns.