So you’ve decided to charge folks who attend your events. You need a payment gateway to collect payments on your event website but aren’t sure where to begin. Perhaps you are having an international event and your existing payment gateway does not handle the currency of the country from which many of your participants are traveling. Or perhaps you’re simply dissatisfied with your current supplier and want to switch.

When it comes to payment gateways, you have a plethora of alternatives to select from. The larger names are Sage Pay, Worldpay, PayPal, and Stripe, but there are hundreds of more options. So how can you determine which one is the best fit for your company? Finance teams are typically in charge of making the final decision. It is crucial to note, however, that there are a lot of key aspects to consider when selecting a payment option for your event. And the event planner’s job is critical in ensuring that these standards are satisfied.

Take a look at some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a payment gateway for your events:

1. Does Your Company Already Use a Payment Gateway?

The first step is to determine whether your company is already utilizing a certain payment gateway for other aspects of its operations. As part of your corporate policy, you may be compelled to use the same one. Payment gateways can be time-consuming to set up and are subject to security checks and audits by your bank. Within your organization, there may be multiple degrees of bureaucracy and hierarchy when it comes to approvals. Going through this time-consuming (and frequently difficult) procedure may not be worth it if your company already has a relationship with a gateway that it is satisfied with.

Payment gateways aren’t the only item to consider. You must also consider the merchant accounts, which are essentially where your attendance payments are deposited (different from your regular business accounts). Some payment gateway service providers just supply a payment gateway and require you to have a merchant account. Other payment providers, such as PayPal, give a payment gateway as well as a merchant account. What you choose is largely determined by the existing structures in place at your organization.

2. Is it possible to use the Payment Gateway in conjunction with your registration system?

The next step is to determine which payment channels are supported by your existing registration or event management software. This can severely reduce your options. Choosing one that is already integrated with the system is much more convenient and saves you time; it also means you may not have to spend extra money on development time. Inquire with your event technology supplier about their recommendations; they have a lot of expertise in this area and can give solid advice on which gateways are better suited for specific sorts of events.

3. How do you manage payments in your event management and registration system?

Another item to consider is how your registration systems collect payment information from your event participants. There are two possibilities here. Is your system compatible with non-hosted payment gateways? This is when your attendees may submit their credit card information without leaving your event website. While it provides the most convenient check-out experience for your attendees, it is also the least secure. To accept payments on-site, you will likely require an SSL certificate as well as compliance with PCI-DSS regulations. It’s recommended to read this article for more information on PCI-DSS compliance and what it entails when dealing with delegated card payments.

A hosted payment gateway, which redirects customers to a “hosted” payment page, is an option. When a payment is made, your participant will be sent to your website where the payment will be confirmed. Your event tech supplier may only offer certain “hosted” payment gateways to avoid having to take responsibility for PCI-DSS compliance.

4. How soon do you need it to be operational?

Setting up a merchant account and payment gateway can normally take 3 to 4 weeks, but companies like PayPal and Stripe allow you to sign up without a merchant account, so you can get started right away. On the other side, getting started may be a time-consuming and complicated process, especially if you’re a new or ‘high-risk” organization. Banks, for example, maybe hesitant to provide merchant accounts to event organizers due to the ‘interval’ between the time delegates make a payment and the event itself. In that situation, you may be asked to submit extensive application papers so that the bank may have a deeper knowledge of your company. This isn’t a significant deal, but you should keep it in mind and look for a gateway that can accommodate your unique demands while still meeting your event deadlines.

5. Don’t Forget Your Money

It usually takes a few days for a delegate payment to be placed in your bank account after it has been processed. These payment schedules, however, might differ dramatically from one supplier to the next. Gateways that are also merchant accounts typically keep your money for a much longer period of time. This can stifle your cash flow and has a significant impact on small enterprises (think about the payments you need to make to venues, caterers, and other suppliers). Other providers, on the other hand, may be able to settle your accounts as soon as the next day, while others may only pay you on specific days. Ideally, seek a supplier who pays out on a daily basis.

6. The fees will be determined by the type of events you host

Monthly costs, set fees per transaction (whatever you charge participants for), variable fees based on a percentage of transactions, and extra fees for things like payments from overseas cards can all be included in the fees you pay for the payment gateway and merchant accounts. As a result, an organization hosting one huge international event may have completely different criteria than one hosting multiple local events with a larger number of people.

Before committing to one supplier, make sure you have a thorough understanding of rates and get a detailed schedule of charges. Don’t forget that certain payment providers (but not all) have been known to lock businesses into long-term contracts – so be sure you know what you’re getting into.

7. Do Your International Delegates Require Support for Multiple Currencies?

If you are organizing events in many countries and need to accept international payments, or if you have a big number of foreign delegates, you should examine whether the payment gateway supports international and multi-currency payments, as well as an interface in numerous languages. For example, the APAC area only takes payments through certain gateways, and other worldwide systems, such as Worldpay, aren’t truly accepted globally. Check to see if there are any additional fees for taking multi-currency payments or payments from other countries and if you will require a merchant account in a certain nation. Before you join up with one, make sure you do your homework completely. Read reviews and recommendations from reputable organizations, and use comparison sites that emphasize the essential characteristics of each gateway.

Eventsforce integrates quickly and easily with a variety of major payment gateway providers, including Sage Pay, Worldpay, PayPal, and many more. If you’d like to talk about which gateway is ideal for your events, please contact us here.

8. For your events, downtime is not an option. What Is the Value of a Good Reputation?

The simple answer is “very.” If you’re going to be processing payments from your visitors, you should work with a provider who has a good reputation in the industry and won’t let you down if something goes wrong. Some payment channels have been disrupted, while others have unexpectedly ceased accepting cash from businesses. Examine providers who are serious about PCI-DSS compliance and provide a high degree of help. Determine how responsive their customer service is, the location of their support personnel, and whether or not they work the same hours as you. Do you have to pay extra for this help? Before you join up with one, make sure you do your homework completely. Read reviews and recommendations from reputable organizations, and use comparison sites that emphasize the essential characteristics of each gateway.

Events Force integrates quickly and easily with a variety of major payment gateway providers, including Sage Pay, Worldpay, PayPal, and many more. If you’d like to talk about which gateway is ideal for your events, or if you’d like to learn more about the event payment gateway visit the Centi website.