How to Choose a Payment Solution for Your Hospitality Business

There are so many choices on the market you may wonder how it’s possible to pick one payment gateway over another. What, for that matter, makes one solution better than others? In order to help you make the right decision, we’re going to provide you with information to help you find the perfect fit for your business.

This may sound like a tedious and boring subject and while we admit it’s unlikely the information is going to blow your socks off, it’s an important marriage that will hopefully last as long as your business. From the beginning it’s always a good idea to think long term and to weigh up the good the bad and the ugly with an honest appraisal.

So what’s a payment gateway anyway? Well, it’s a process that likely most of us have gone through many times in the past without giving it a second thought. You throw a few things in your cart, head to the checkout, type in your number and then exit out the virtual doorway. But what happens behind this door you may wonder? Well, in the same way that a postman comes to collect a senders mail and then delivers it safely to the postbox of the addressee, the payment gateway reads the information on the card and sends it securely to the merchant bank for processing. Many people confuse payment gateways with merchant accounts but in fact, you need both for this process to work. The merchant account only holds funds until they are deposited in the bank account. The payment gateway is just the decision maker in the acceptance or rejection of transactions.

Making a Decision
So let’s cut to the chase – how do you actually choose one of these babies for your business? According to annexcloud.com, the global cart abandonment rate in 2018 currently stands at 75%. Another 35% of lost shoppers surveyed felt that security was key and a great payment gateway can go a long way to increasing consumer confidence. Sirvoy has partnered with a number of solutions but in this article we’re going to compare the three we consider the best.

1/ Stripe

Stripe is Sirvoy’s recommended partner for a number of reasons. A progressive and innovative approach with an emphasis on tighter security has made them one of the most widely used payment solutions in the world. They offer a three-in-one solution being a payment gateway, processor and merchant account all rolled together. Their fee structure is uncomplicated without those nasty hidden costs that can catch even the most discerning customer unawares.

Fees: At the time of writing, US fees were a simple 2.9% + €0.30 and transfers are received on a two day rolling basis. For clients elsewhere you can check out their fees here: https://stripe.com.

Security: When it comes to security, sensitive data is sent directly to Stripe. This is important if you are to remain PCI compliant as it means you don’t handle any sensitive credit card information on your server. It also negates the requirement to store information on your servers. Remember too that with the implementation of GDPR it is even more important to stay aware of regulations pertaining to the storage of information by third parties as everyone involved is now held responsible in the event of data theft or loss.

Best Features: Stripe offers tokenisation functionality which means that you will have the guests credit card details saved securely through your Stripe account and can charge it at a later stage, during checkout for example.
As Stripe is Sirvoy’s preferred partner it is the most well integrated solution that offers a technically superior connection and will be rolled out to other countries as it becomes available. We are also excited about the many new features that are currently being developed which are related to Stripe payments. One recent release means that when guests book through channels such as booking.com and enter their card details there, you can securely use these card details directly from Sirvoy to charge for their stay using Stripe’s tokenisation functionality. No manual handling of card details is needed. For more information on these features please see our support article here.

Customer Care: Should you experience issues with Stripe you’ll be glad to know that their customer support is excellent. They offer 24/7 support in English via phone and chat for all users.

Available in: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States with Brazil, India and Mexico get ready for launch.

2/ Paypal

Founded in 2002 Paypal is one of the most trusted and longest established payment solutions on the market.

Fees: Base fees are similar to Stripe’s, however depending on where you are based and other factors their fee structure changes. In many instances the charge seems to be 3.4% + a fixed fee. It’s complicated pricing effort means that it’s advisable to be sure of what costs you will be responsible for before getting started. Please see this link for more information.

Security: While Paypal takes security seriously and employs SSL technology to keep information safe, card information still has to travel through your own server initially which means the customer is ultimately responsible for any possible vulnerabilities or data breaches.

Best Features: Create and send invoices through your account. Accept payments from guests in over 200 countries via a globally recognised brand. As with Stripe, no merchant account is required.

Customer Care: In the past, Paypal had a reputation for inconsistent and even non existent customer service. With the advent of Stripe Paypal have upped their game and customer support has vastly improved in recent years.

Available in: it would be easier to list where isn’t it available as Paypal is currently available in over 200 countries. See this link for a full list.

3/ authorize.net

authorize.net is a popular choice owning to their long standing reputation for reliability and service, providing gateway services to almost half a million merchants.

Fees: $49 setup fee, $25 monthly gateway fee, 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction fee.

Security: Authorize.net is audited yearly to ensure it remains PCI compliant. It also offers a variety of API features to allow acceptance of transactions, customer data storage and advanced fraud detection amongst others.

Best Features: Authorize.net offers tokenisation as an optional add-on service, allowing card details to be processed at a later date. However authorize.net’s integration does not allow these details to be automatically added from bookings received from channels.

Included in the fees mentioned is a QuickBooks synchronisation which will make for a happy accountant. They also offer simplified checkout and a customer information manager.

Customer Care: 24/7 Support via chat or phone

Available in: US, Canada, Australia, UK, and Europe.

We hope this comparison will help you make the best choice for your hotel, hostel, B&B or guesthouse. As a last piece of advice, before committing to any one solution remember to always check your contract thoroughly to ensure you aren’t locked into any one contract for lengthy periods. This way you can trial as many as you need to until you find the ‘one’!