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How To Test Your Payment Gateway

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Last editedJul 20235 min read

To test your payment gateway, set up a sandbox environment - to mimic real-world transactions without using real money - and conduct a series of transactions, including successful, failed, and refunds. These tests should be executed across various payment methods and currencies, verify your gateway's response to unexpected issues like network failures and confirm compliance with security standards. Regular testing, monitoring, and timely updates enhance your payment gateway's functionality and reliability, safeguarding your customer's trust and your business's reputation.

Types of payment gateways 

There are two main types of payment gateways that small businesses can employ:

  1. Self-hosted payment gateways

  2. Shared or non-hosted payment gateways.

Payment gateways are services that process credit and debit card and bank account information for online transactions. They securely encrypt sensitive information such as bank account and card CVV numbers, as well as the account holder's name, address and password. Regardless of which type of payment gateway you use, this sensitive information needs to be kept extremely secure, so you may need to test the payment gateway yourself, and there are a number of ways to do this. 

Self-hosted payment gateways 

Self-hosted payment gateways require a merchant ID and function by redirecting customers away from the website’s checkout page when they click the 'Pay Now' button. The customer is then directed to a payment services provider page such as GoCardless, PayPal Standard, Payza, 2Checkout or Setcom. Here, they input their payment details, whether their credit card or bank account information, after which they are directed back to the original website.

GoCardless provides a hosted payment gateway solution for small businesses that is cost-effective, reliable and secure.

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Shared payment gateways 

Unlike self-hosted gateways, shared payment gateways direct the customer to a payment page within the website itself. This gateway is customisable and offers the business more control over each step of the transaction process. However, with this control comes the responsibility of ensuring all necessary security measures are in place to protect each customer’s data.

When choosing a payment gateway, you must undertake a thorough testing process to understand which is the most suitable for your business.

Payment gateway testing checklist 

The security of the transferred data and the functionality of the gateway should be your prime concern while testing. It is also essential to test the application under various scenarios, such as: 

  • processing orders, 

  • calculating prices, 

  • integrating different payment methods, 

  • performing under high demand.

Payment gateway functionality 

Functional testing is paramount for all payment gateways, regardless of their reputation. The objective is to confirm that the application will behave correctly when processing transactions. This involves testing various order types, adding and deleting items from baskets, changing languages during an order, and ensuring all totals and subtotals are calculated correctly.

Payment method integration 

Integrating various payment methods with your payment gateway should also be thoroughly tested. It is crucial that your website or app functions seamlessly with the payment service provider. This involves testing the transaction flow for each payment method, ensuring that funds have been received in the merchant account, and confirming that the transaction can be refunded or voided if necessary.

Data security testing 

Given the sensitive nature of transaction data, it is crucial to ensure that it is securely transferred. Encryption should be applied to all data before it is transferred to process a transaction. Your channel should be secure, with no data transferred without full encryption first.

Payment gateway performance 

Performance testing is the final item on the payment gateway testing checklist. It involves processing multiple orders simultaneously to ensure the payment processor doesn't fail under high demand. Anticipating future growth, your business should be prepared to handle multiple users completing transactions simultaneously.

Key takeaways

Payment gateways are crucial in transferring payments between customers and businesses, particularly for small businesses where the payment process can significantly impact customer satisfaction and business revenue. GoCardless operates as a standalone, hosted payment gateway, enabling businesses to directly collect bank payments from customers without needing additional software or services.

Get paid on time every time. Reduce transaction fees, late and failed payments and tiresome manual admin by automating payment collection with GoCardless.

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Testing payment gateways is crucial to ensure their functionality, security, and performance under various scenarios and high demand. 

Testing involves a sandbox environment to mimic real-world transactions, executing successful and failed transactions and refunds, and compliance checks for security standards. 

Regular testing, monitoring, and timely updates ensure the functionality and reliability of payment gateways, ultimately safeguarding customers' trust and the business's reputation.

With hosted payment gateway solutions like GoCardless, no testing is required when collecting payments through partner apps like Xero or Kashflow, offering a streamlined, ready-to-use payment solution.

Bank payments vs. card payments

Bank payments offer advantages for businesses over card payments in terms of cost-effectiveness and efficiency, but evaluating specific business needs and customer preferences is essential. While e-commerce, hospitality, and retail often require card payments, many customers prefer the convenience and security of direct bank payments.

Accepting bank payments via a payment processor will be cheaper than accepting card payments. Bank payments are also more successful as they don’t become lost, stolen or expired as cards do. Read more about how businesses just like yours are automating payment collection with GoCardless and saving themselves time and money.

Bank payment via GoCardless is more affordable, more secure and more reliable than accepting credit and debit cards.

"Customers don't need to worry about fraud like they do with credit cards and bank accounts don't expire, so they’ll never need to update their details." - Scott Westbrook, Director of Business Systems, Deputy

Case study

Ignite, a boutique gym in the South of England, has grown rapidly since its post-lockdown 2021 launch. However, it faced a mountain of manual admin in managing member payments due to failed transactions and the effort and expense of recovering them. As a solution, Ignite adopted GoCardless to automate monthly bank payment collections.

Andrew Charalambous, Director of Ignite, praised GoCardless' support: 

"The GoCardless Essential Customer Success team went above and beyond, providing insights from its wealth of industry data to inform our projections. That additional consultancy was invaluable for us as a start-up and totally unexpected."

He also highlighted GoCardless' cost efficiency, stating, 

"Our card payments provider charges an average of 3.3% per transaction – GoCardless costs less than half that." 

Today, GoCardless processes 80% of Ignite's turnover, reliably collecting monthly payments from over 1,000 members with minimal admin work.

The ease of the GoCardless system has also improved the customer experience, and looking ahead to the gym's expansion plans, Andrew expressed confidence in GoCardless' scalability:

 “Now, as we look to grow, we know GoCardless will be there for us again and that payments are already solved. That will allow us to dedicate more energy to our expansion.”

Automating payment collection with GoCardless is more affordable, more secure and more reliable than accepting credit and debit card payments.

We can help

Setting up payment collection is straightforward and efficient with the GoCardless payment gateway service. By automating the payment collection process, GoCardless drastically cuts down the administrative responsibilities of dealing with failed payments for your team. 

GoCardless makes it quick and easy to get started, and with no contracts or long-term commitment required, there’s no risk. You can set up instant, one-off, or recurring payments in the merchant dashboard in just a few clicks, and GoCardless automatically creates and sends all the necessary forms, doing all the heavy lifting for you. You can also connect to GoCardless via over 350 partner apps, such as Xero and Quickbooks.

Discover how GoCardless can solve your payment collection issues, making it easier for you to concentrate on what matters most - your business growth.

Bank payment via GoCardless is more affordable, more secure and more reliable than accepting credit and debit cards.

"Customers don't need to worry about fraud like they do with credit cards and bank accounts don't expire, so they’ll never need to update their details." - Scott Westbrook, Director of Business Systems, Deputy

Frequently asked questions

How can I improve my payment gateway?

To improve your payment gateway, prioritise its reliability, security, and user experience. Ensure its uptime is near 100% to avoid transaction failures and enhance customer confidence.

Employ robust security measures like SSL encryption, tokenisation, and PCI-DSS compliance to protect sensitive data and thwart potential cyber threats. Implement a simple, intuitive user interface with fewer steps and clear instructions for successful transactions.

Additionally, offer multiple popular payment options for a global clientele, ranging from credit/debit cards to e-wallets. Finally, provide excellent customer service to address transactional issues, promptly ensuring customer satisfaction and trust. Optimising these areas enhances the gateway's performance and customer experience, improving sales conversion rates and customer retention.

Why is my payment gateway not working?

The dysfunction of a payment gateway can be attributed to various factors, often including incorrect integration, issues with the merchant account, a problem with your SSL certificate, or outdated API versions. A common problem is incorrect API integration, which involves improperly configured settings, resulting in the inability of the gateway to communicate with your website effectively. Alternatively, issues with your merchant account, such as a suspension or unsynchronised credentials, can disrupt transaction processing.

Moreover, an invalid or non-secure SSL certificate can prevent secure data transmission, leading to transaction failure. Lastly, using an outdated API version can lead to compatibility issues, preventing your gateway from functioning correctly. Always ensure your gateway is adequately integrated, your merchant account is active and synchronised, your SSL certificate is valid and secure, and your API version is up-to-date to guarantee smooth payment transactions.

How do I know if my payment gateway is legit?

To ascertain the legitimacy of your payment gateway, there are several indicators you should consider. First, verify that the gateway is PCI-DSS compliant, as this standard ensures secure handling of cardholder data. Second, check for SSL certificate integration, which secures and encrypts the data transferred between your website and customers.

Third, reputable payment gateways typically support multiple payment methods and have robust and responsive customer service. Fourth, review the gateway's transaction fees, currency support, and regional availability to ensure they align with your business needs.

Lastly, research online reviews, customer feedback, and professional opinions to validate the gateway's reputation. Remember, a reliable and legitimate payment gateway is vital for your online business's security and success.

Take control of invoice payment collection with GoCardless. Eliminate late payments. Reduce time spent on admin. Get paid on time, every time.

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

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