A suitable payment gateway is an integral part of ticket selling for events. Take a look at five of the most popular, top payment gateways available to use for your event.
New to events? You must be thinking: how do people buy tickets? Payment gateways like Paypal and Stripe are the answer.
When taking online payments for your big event, you’ll always have a payment gateway. Look out for the best, most used gateways and why promoters are using them.
Payment gateways provide a smooth sailing ticket buying process for your event goers. They can also solve irritating issues that can arise for the ticket seller, too.
Each different payment gateway has their own standout features to shout about. And they all charge varying fees. Make sure the payment gateway you pick has optimal user experience. It should also work well for you, the event promoter.
We’ve explained what a payment gateway is and selected five of the most popular currently being used by event promoters.
What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway is essentially the middle man between your customers paying for a ticket to an event on your website and your business’s bank account; they take care of transferring payments over to you, the merchant. Payment gateways are secure and will encrypt private banking details entered into your website.
They will also detect the legitimacy of payments; if a buyer tries to purchase a ticket without valid details, the payment gateway will cancel a payment and make sure you’re issued a mistaken chargeback fee (an administrative cost for refunding a purchase).
Payment gateways make money by charging for their service. Imagine being a customer at a cinema, paying for a ticket with a card machine. Your details go into the machine, it’s confirmed and you get a receipt. The cinema are charged a small fee for each use of that credit card.
Now imagine that but online – that’s a payment gateway.
Key features of a top payment gateway
Software integration availability
When you’ve decided to pay for any product, you want the payment process to be as simple as possible, right? If things go wrong, you’re directed to another page or there is some annoying hurdle right at the point of purchase, you’ll be more likely to back out last minute. Events are no different. It’s all about the user experience and how ease of use helps conversion rates (sales).
Software integration ensures a payment gateway can work within your website. Choose a payment gateway that is flexible, scalable and offers the latest technologies. A good payment gateway will integrate a tonne of different payment types so ticket buyers can purchase how they want.
If something does go wrong in the checkout that an event promoter or organiser can’t solve, the payment gateway should have a fantastic, quick and reliable customer service team to help resolve any issues a ticket buyer is having.
If a customer rightly demands a refund and the payment gateway is holding that money for too long, it’s going to look bad on your brand.
Some payment gateways will charge a monthly fee while others, as explained by the card machine analogy, charge a fee per purchase.
It’s good to judge the size of your events business. Are you going to put on loads of shows? Is it a one-off event? Some payment gateways can handle large volumes of traffic but charge higher prices including sign up fees. Make sure you’re not paying more than you need to.
You’ve heard of it, we’ve heard of it and your fans will have most likely heard of it too. It’s the big one: PayPal.
Paypal has been around for a long time and still stands as the most trusted and most popular online payment gateway for event promoters. It’s popular because it’s process is so simple to integrate into an existing website. They’ve really moved with the times, listened to their customers and made sure it’s affordable for smaller businesses, easy to implement and easy to use from a merchant’s perspective.
Paypal charge 1.9%-3.4% of the cost of a ticket + 20p per transaction with a £20 monthly fee. It’s simple to setup on your site, has a clean feel for your fans and is a trustworthy name. Plus, PayPal don’t tie you into any contracts or termination fees.
However, transaction fees are fairly weighty considering it aims itself at smaller businesses or in, our case, event promoters. PayPal charge to make the checkout customisable. Delays have been said to occur when transferring money to merchant’s bank accounts. There have also been reports of refunds taking a long time to get back to customers.
Finally, there is no shopping cart feature. At Seatedly, we take care of the whole ticketing process, offering the Basket feature, where fans can safely checkout both tickets and merchandise in one go. If you think PayPal alone is limited, we suggest considering using our service, which integrates multiple payment gateways into a dynamic, feature-rich ticketing system.
Stripe, although having been around a shorter time than PayPal, has already proven to be a top choice of payment gateway for event promoters. It works slightly differently to PayPal in that it creates more opportunities for integration.
Stripe’s pricing is affordable and clear with no red herrings: a fixed fee of 1.4% plus 20p per purchase and no monthly fees or sign up fees.
It can be integrated thoroughly into any site with a range of customisable features – something you don’t get with cheaper packages in PayPal. You can build a checkout from the ground up, customise the checkout experience and put your own brand’s look and feel onto every aspect of the payment process, making it look professional and congruent with the rest of your website.
However, if you’re going for Stripe, you will need some programming skills. It looks great and is affordable but isn’t quite a simple to setup as PayPal. Have a look at Stripe, what’s required of you to make it work and give it a go if you think you have the knowhow.
Amsterdam-based Mollie is fast becoming one of the most impressive payment gateways of choice not just in the Netherlands, but all over the globe, with 110,000 businesses already on board. Why? They take an extensive list of payment types and put them in one easy to use system. So, if you think your audience might want to pay in a number of ways or if they’re paying outside the UK, Mollie will make sure their card fits the bill, accepting European cards such as SOFORT, SEPA and Klarna alongside global payment methods such as Mastercard, Visa and American Express.
Mollie aim to simplify complex payment processes and put them into a uniform channel where everyone – from a seemingly endless list of countries – can pay in one place. They don’t make you sign up to any contracts and their transaction fees are affordable.
When it comes to their checkout and integration features, Mollie offer two packages: one is cheaper, offering plugins that work on your site and the other is a more white label solution. Mollie will build a checkout from scratch using various frameworks including PHP and Python.
Mollie is the customisable, global payment choice. Seatedly’s ticketing system incorporates Mollie, PayPal and Stripe into our customisable checkout to ensure no payment types can be missed.
Braintree is a branch off PayPal existing as its own entity, targeted at start-ups. PayPal set up Braintree so it could compete in a different market for payment gateways that work as individual merchant accounts rather than aggregate accounts. It’s also a stretch more customisable than PayPal.
Braintree give free processing on the first £30,000 made from your events – so it’s best for bigger or more frequent events promoters. After that it’s 2.4% with the 20p addition. It’s essentially PayPal’s answer to Stripe, offering more customisable features at a cheaper price than a PayPal Pro account.
Again, like Stripe, you will need to have some coding skills to implement this onto your site. But if you can do it, it’s worth it.
Opayo, formerly Sage Pay, is one of the biggest and best payment gateways in the UK, trusted by bigger businesses with solid security, fraud protection and clear pricing.
They charge upwards from £20.90 for 350 transactions per month and then £45 for 500 transactions per month. Bigger packages for bigger businesses have bespoke pricing tailored to their needs. One thing to point out about SagePay is that it’s made for big businesses, so if you’re a first tie event promoter you’re going to want to steer clear of SagePay. They can process payments in over 25 countries from a range of payment types. They’ve also made their payment plans much clearer in the past couple years.
This is really the payment gateway of choice for large businesses selling day in, day out and might not be right for a smaller event promoter or organiser. Their contracts can lengthy, too.
Cardstream, prides itself on integration and customisability. But it goes one step further, being the only payment gateway in the UK to offer a fully white label solution for event hosts wanting to take control of the whole payment process with their own branding, branded receipts, custom features alongside a chosen URL.
With Cardstream you can accept ticket payments via email or by phone with their virtual terminal provided. Cardstream are an independent acquirer which means you don’t have to be tied into working with just one acquiring bank and they also provide robust velocity checks preventing fraudulent activity.
While Cardstream can give event organisers a payment gateway that looks and feels perfect for a brand, they unfortunately don’t give any clear pricing. Don’t rush into anything before you know price. It could be hefty.
So, those are the top five gateways used by event promoters in the UK. Now it’s time to pick your own. Think about the price and how regular you’re putting on events and think about how integrated you want the payment process to be in your site.
Whatever your event, whether it’s a concert or a conference, you’ll have to think about your audience and what payment gateway will keep them satisfied.
At Seatedly we work offer several payment gateway so customers can pay how they want. Our ticketing system is scalable, white label and robust. Fantastic payment gateways are a key part of this system.
If you’re stuck on which payment gateway to pick and want to let us take the reins of your ticketing, let Seatedly give your customers the best possible ticketing experience. Get in touch and request a demo from our team today.
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