Last editedApr 20233 min read
The world of ecommerce is rich with opportunity, but it’s also rife with competition. In order to get ahead, you need to remove potential barriers to sale, offering an effortless and enjoyable customer journey. This starts with the ability to make secure transactions that are effortless for your customer and affordable for you.
Many businesses use a hosted payment page as a cost-effective and convenient way to facilitate sales. Here, we’ll take a look at how hosted payment pages work, why you should consider using them and what you need to keep in mind when choosing one.
Hosted payment pages explained
A hosted payment page (also known as an external checkout page, external payment page, or third-party checkout) is one of the easiest and most popular ways to accept online payments. They can be integrated into your existing website and take care of the entire transaction process in return for a small fee.
You don’t have to worry about establishing an infrastructure for handling sensitive data, collecting payment information or facilitating a secure transaction. The hosted payment page does it all for you.
How do hosted payment pages work?
The process of navigating a hosted payment page is simple and seamless for the customer. This is, understandably, a key part of their appeal. It goes like this:
The customer clicks on your CTA (e.g. “Buy Now”)
They are instantly redirected to your hosted payment page
Customers input their payment data directly onto the page. This data never actually passes through your website; it is handled by the payments solution you've chosen.
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Why use a hosted payment page?
There are a lot of potential benefits to using a hosted payment page. They can facilitate a smooth and secure customer journey while sparing you the expense and logistics of managing this yourself.
Hosted payment pages are:
Easy to set up
You don’t need any technical wizardry to set up a hosted payment page. Most of the time, it’s as simple as copying and pasting a few lines of code into your website. From that, you get an optimised checkout page and you're good to go.
The cost of managing customer data securely coupled with fraudulent losses can heavily impact your bottom line. Fortunately, when you use a hosted payment page, you can enjoy enhanced security at a fraction of the cost or liability that comes with setting it all up yourself.
Simple and convenient for customers
A hosted payment page means you don’t have to sacrifice convenience for security. It ensures a simple transaction for customers with multiple payment options for their convenience.
What type of businesses should use a hosted payment page?
Generally speaking, most businesses benefit from using a hosted payment page, regardless of size or sector. For an online retailer, for example, it allows you to focus more resources into marketing and customer service that would have otherwise been focused on managing the checkout.
For subscription-based businesses operating on recurring payment models, a hosted payment page offers a secure and reliable back-end, and you won’t have to worry about updating your payment processing in the near future. Even for larger businesses with more complex PCI compliance requirements, the ability to outsource this compliance to an external provider makes a lot of sense from a convenience perspective.
Choosing a hosted payment page provider
There’s a substantial difference between third-party payment page providers. How good or bad a hosted payment page is depends entirely on the third party. Here are some of the things that you should look for when choosing a provider:
How easily does it integrate into your website? If the integration process is complex, you may need to recruit a web developer to help you, resulting in more time and costs.
Is the page easy to customise? This will ensure that your branding is consistent and the page feels like a part of your website. More importantly, it allows you to improve your checkout conversion rate by reducing cart abandonment.
Can you accept payments from overseas? The beauty of ecommerce is that it affords you a global reach. So why should you choose a hosted payment page that limits you to your home market?
Are there a variety of payment options? Different customers have different payment preferences. Some are happy to input their credit or debit card details. Others prefer to use a digital wallet like Apple or Google Pay.
When is it better to not use a hosted payment page?
While the complete third-party option offered by a hosted payment page works for most businesses, it might not work for others based on how they intend to operate. If you want complete control over your payment processing, for example, using an API integration might make more sense. This allows for more bespoke customisation, so you can set up your checkout your own way and generate more analytics.
An alternative to hosted payment pages
API integration gives you more control over the payment process. An API (application programming interface) is a server to server software intermediary that involves no third-parties. As a result, everything from the security of customer data to the payment itself is your responsibility. If you’re using an API integration, ensure you have a solid security team in place.