E-Commerce Payment Gateway API Integrations
Ever since open source e-commerce platforms have made an appearance, the need for payment gateways and their integration to a processor have been the focal point of shopping cart development. “Integration” is a fancy word for creating a medium where two or more systems work in conjunction with each other. In this case, the merchant’s e-commerce platform and their processing bank.
What Does API Stand For?
API stands for “application program interface,” which is essentially a set of protocols, routines and tools that allow programmers and developers to build connections between the two aforementioned systems. These payment gateway API integrations allow for the authentication and capture of credit card data upon checkout.
Prefabricated integrations are also referred to as plugins. These are “plug and play” modules that are programmed to standard specifications. Usually these types of gateway API integrations are free or come at no additional cost to the merchant.
For example, most of the major e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, 3DCart and OpenCart offer plugins for major gateways including Paypal and Authorize.net at no charge. They get the basic job done when it comes to accepting payments and do not require any extra development. The best part of the prefab or plugin integration type is that the module is kept current as the development of the shopping cart progresses. They are kept concurrent with versions of the e-commerce platform.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to stray from the normal authenticate and capture sequences without adding custom development.
Depending on your business type, where you are located and what type of gateway you are using, you may require a custom integration. Often times these allow the merchant a little bit more freedom when it comes to how they process, but it does come at a premium. Custom payment gateway API integrations for shopping carts can cost upwards of $195 an hour for a highly skilled developer. Depending on your specifications, the project can take anywhere from a simple project at 1-3 hours to a larger scale project at 5-10 hours.
The only other downside of a custom integration is that you will need to have your developer provide routine maintenance as well. While it may seem like an expensive venture, often times custom integrations can make your business money in the long run. If you have different merchant accounts with different processing rates, the custom API integration may be able to automatically choose which account is allowed to process based on certain variables, saving you money.
Which Integration Type Is Better?
Again, a prefab or custom payment gateway API integration is a matter of the complexity of your merchant accounts and personal preference. They both have their pros and cons, but at the end of the day one may better fit your needs. Before launching your e-commerce site, give some serious thought to how you want to accept payments and what issues may arise. The outcome may help make your decision that much easier.