A payment gateway is a tool provided by a third party company, that allows you to take payment for your products through your online store, via a credit or debit card payment by your customer.
Think of it as a virtual 'chip & pin' terminal that you use in a shop at the checkout.
Payment gateways are provided by specialist merchant services companies (like PayPal powered by Bratinree, WorldPay or SagePay) or by banks (like HSBC or Santander).
You'll need to apply to one of these companies in order to obtain a payment gateway.
We recommend using PayPal Powered by Braintree, you can find out more information about them here.
How do payment gateways work?
Once you've installed your gateway on your website, a customer will be able to submit their order (after entering their address details) and will be taken through to a secure, third party website (provided by the gateway provider) where they can enter their card details.
On successful completion of the payment, the customer will be redirected to your store to tell them the payment was successful and the order will be marked as 'paid' in the management system.
(Note that some payment gateways will keep the user on your own website to enter their card information).
Does my website need to be secure?
If you're using a standard integration then you don't need an SSL certificate to be installed on your website, but you can find out more information by clicking here. If the customer is kept on your website to enter their card information, then you will need an SSL certificate.
In any case, we do recommend that all website owners have an SSL certificate on their website.
Installing a payment gateway
To install a payment gateway on your website please follow the instructions in this help guide.