What is Merchant Services?
For those unfamiliar with the term “merchant services,” it is a fancy way of describing online credit card processing and electronic payment transactions between merchants and their customers. As a customer you are accustomed to paying for goods or services through the following methods: cash or currency, check or money order, and electronic payment; the latter in this list requires a credit provider, usually a bank, and a credit processor (such as The Safe Harbor Group).
The top credit card processors will provide merchants the credit processing equipment (POS systems, card scanners, etc.) as well as the connections to banks that utilize MasterCard, VISA, or Discover to transfer funds from the customer to the merchant. Many banks and credit unions use one of the three credit providers listed above, and also issue their own debit cards from which customers can draw funds directly from their checking accounts. Most debit cards these days can function as both debit and credit cards, making these types of cards the most commonly used in electronic card transactions.
Since there are many payment processing companies to consider, we have compiled a list of merchant services reviews to determine the best card processors for merchants to work with.
What Is a Payment Gateway?
Payment gateways are a type of merchant service that allow customers to purchase goods or services through an online or website-based environment instead of a physical store, i.e. a “brick and mortar” retail environment. Like credit card processing equipment provided by electronic payment processing companies, these online methods of payment are typically secured through a “HTTPS” URL and accept cards that are affiliated with MasterCard, VISA, and Discover in addition to any gift cards or other payment services (like PayPal) that are accepted by the business itself. The best payment gateway providers offer many options multiple options for payment as well as confirmation messages to ensure that your payment was approved and will be processed.
This kind of payment option is typical for online retailers, online banking, and E-commerce websites, offering customers a reliable and secure way to order products or services through an online portal.