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With many different options and providers available, it can be hard to know which payment gateway is right for you. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering ‘do I need a payment gateway?’ or even ‘what is a payment gateway?’ then read on – we’ve put together a few answers to some of the most frequently asked payment gateway questions.

What is a Payment Gateway?

Anyone collecting payment card information online (a “merchant”), including hoteliers taking payments or deposits to secure room bookings, needs to be able to capture and process payment information securely in order to adhere to the Payment Card Industry “Data Security Standard” (PCI-DSS) which sets global protocol of payment card handling. A payment gateway enables this by securely capturing, encrypting, processing and authorising credit and debit card payments on behalf of the merchant.

What’s different about Online Payment Processing?

When processing “face-to-face” card payments, the card machine (PDQ) sends all the information to the payment card provider directly for confirmation on the basis that the cardholder is present. For online payments, where the cardholder is naturally not present, the processing needs to be more secure and works slightly differently, involving a multi-step relay process between the merchant’s (“acquiring”) bank, the customer’s (“issuing”) bank and the card networks e.g. VISA, Mastercard, AMEX etc. The Payment Gateway is the piece of software that sits on the website and provides all the relevant direction to all the needful parties.

Which is the best Payment Gateway option for my hotel?

When choosing a payment gateway that’s right for your business, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, you’ll need to think about the volume of transactions that you’ll be processing. Some systems are better set up for low volume businesses whereas others offer better value for hotels processing large numbers of payments every day.

Take a look at fees and factor in setup costs, any fixed monthly costs as well as individual transaction fees – some payment gateway providers may offer attractive ongoing transaction rates but have highhidden’ costs, so make sure you do your sums!

You’ll also want to look at system compatibility as not all payment gateways are compatible with every merchant or acquirer account.

What’s special about the High Level Software payment gateway solution?

The HLS payment gateway solution is merchant and acquirer agnostic, meaning you have full flexibility over integrating your current merchant services provider with the HLS Payment Gateway, powered by Judopay. Being a part of Zonal means, we are part of the UK’s largest hospitality software business, which allows us to pass on exceptional rates, both for setup and ongoing transaction fees. The HLS system is all about giving you control, so we include the option to apply different rules to different rates, so that you can use Advance Rates and Flex-Rates to maximise revenue.

If you have any questions about how to choose a payment gateway solution for your hotel then please do get in touch, we’d love to help.