Payment Gateway Services – the Hidden Gem

Customer paying for coffee with contactless card

Gateway Services act as a bridge between merchants, acquirers and banks. The right gateway is also the hidden gem of cashflow. Rob Crutchington, CEO of Encoded, outlines the questions to ask your gateway service provider.

 An unseen but vital part of any merchant’s business is the processing of transactions. Speed, security and reliability are key to the payment process and they all ultimately have a direct impact on customer service. However, many merchants when setting up their business account with an acquiring bank don’t have time to consider the process behind the scenes.

Merchant Banks offer comprehensive and seductive packages, which include payment gateway services to accept and process transactions. As part of the ‘back engine’ of transaction processing the costs associated with gateway services can be out of sight as part of a blended tariff.

Reduce costs and increase security with an independent gateway service provider

An independent gateway services provider, which is not linked to an acquiring bank, can offer a truly beneficial and cost-effective alternative. Here are three questions to ask your gateway services provider:

  1. How easy is it to connect with multiple acquirers?

A merchant may have accounts with several acquirers, which offer varied rates for different card types, for example Barclaycard, Mastercard or American Express. Being aware of the transactions traffic, such as what cards are used when, enables the merchant to negotiate the best rates when agreeing contractual services with their acquiring bank.

The benefit of choosing an independent gateway solution, like Encoded, is that it is not aligned to a particular bank, it can connect to multiple acquirers and therefore provide flexibility to select the most favourable rate; sometimes called least cost acquiring.

  1. Can you support multiple Alternative Payment Methods (APMs)?

Enabling merchants to use Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay offers their end customers more choices to pay and a frictionless checkout experience.  Alternative payment methods provide customers with convenience and choice, enabling people to pay in a way that suits them. As a merchant, it is important to offer a range of payment options at checkout for a competitive edge against those that offer only traditional ways to pay.

  1. What about network tokens for recurring payments?

Network tokens (a unique digital identifier that replaces card data such as account number and expiry date) are generated automatically and in real-time by the card schemes as customers use their cards. Stored cards are traditionally securely stored by the gateway. However, having the token stored by the scheme (Visa and Mastercard) enables merchants to always have the latest card available. This helps reduce the possibility of declined codes with increased challenges from both Merchant Initiation Transactions (MITs) and Customer Initiated Transactions (CITs).  Merchants are not tied to the acquiring bank that completed the original customer transaction. Customer data can also be shared securely across other Encoded payment solutions for improved customer service.

Reliability and choice for a better customer experience

An additional benefit of choosing an independent gateway services provider is that should the need arise, acquirers can be removed from the routing options in the event of poor reliability or efficiency. This ability to change ensures that the customer will be further protected from possible fraud or poor service.

The Wine Society has benefited from implementing Encoded’s Gateway solution to support its contact centre. With cash flow a top priority, ensuring that payments are processed efficiently and ideally first time around is vital for The Society. The Encoded Gateway links directly to The Society’s acquirer to process over tens of thousands of transactions every month, and can be easily scaled up to accommodate increased demand in the future.

Encoded’s Gateway Services provide a cohesive experience for agents, and The Wine Society members by integrating with other Encoded solutions, including ecommerce payments. This gives members a choice of ways to purchase and pay with all transaction information shared securely between different sales channels.

For more information on Encoded Gateway services and how they could benefit your business, or to read more about The Wine Society visit Encoded’s website.

About the Author

Rob Crutchington is CEO of Encoded.

Rob CrutchingtonEncoded is a leading Payment Service Provider and pioneer of new and innovative secure payment solutions for contact centres.  Encoded offers a range of card payment solutions designed to help organisations comply with PCI DSS, GDPR and the newly introduced Payment Services Directive (PSD2).

Encoded’s solutions are trusted by many of the world’s leading brands including Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, LUSH and The Wine Society as well as a host of UK utility companies such as Green Star Energy (now Shell Energy) and Severn Trent Water.

Omni-channel solutions include:

  • Agent Assisted Payments
  • E-Commerce payments
  • IVR Payments
  • PayByLink – Mobile Payments
  • Encoded Gateway Services

For more information visit

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