a complete guide to online payment gateways

The complete guide to online payment gateway systems in Nigeria

Why this guide?

We already wrote about online payment gateways before now. And while it was a good post, it wasn't complete. Never felt like it was either. I receive a lot of calls from entrepreneurs looking to set up online businesses, and a major concern is online payment. How do users pay with their debit cards? How much does it cost to set up the gateway? What technical requirements are needed?

The questions are endless and there's no one resource that answers it all. That's the purpose for this guide. We'd talk about the currently available payment gateways, how much they cost, ease of implementation and their unique features.

Who is this guide for?

If you're looking to setup an ecommerce (online) store, this is for you.This guide also helps developers figure out what the best approach is for client websites.

How to use the guide

If you already have a specific online payment gateway system you're trying to look up, check the table of content. If you're not sure what Nigerian payment gateway system you need to use, I'd recommend taking a look at all of them. I've also posted a checklist of features you should check for while deciding on a payment gateway. You might not find one gateway that has it all, but you should get something pretty close. Remember, your customers are going to be using this to make card transactions online, which are the best types of orders, so pay extra attention to detail.

We have also included links to download free & paid plugins that let you integrate these payment gateways into the most popular ecommerce CMS platforms. Most of these plugins are plug and play and don't require any coding experience. You can check out the full list here

Quick links to key areas

Quickteller / Interswitch payment gateway
Paystack
Voguepay
Simplepay
Amplify pay
GTPay
Table of comparison
Plugins for integration with CMS platforms
Conclusion - Which gateway is right for you?

 

Quickteller / Interswitch payment gateway

This is one of the oldest payment gateways around, only other payment system that has been around that long is etranzact. And this is Quickteller's biggest selling point, it's age, which comes with a lot of trust from users. It's important to note that a lot of other payment gateways still connect to them and act as middle men.

I've personally had to integrate Quickteller in the past. Even after installing the plugins and testing things on my end, took me almost a month of emails back and forth to go live. I do hope their services are much better now

Pros    Well known brand
   Trusted by most users
   Largest payment gateway
Cons    Difficult to integrate without plugin
   Redirects out of your website
Cost    N150,000 license fee
   1.5% per transaction up to N2,000

 

Paystack Payment Gateway

Paystack is one of the newest entrants into the Nigerian payment gateway ecosystem. But it has fast become one of the preferred gateways, especially for developers. It's simple UI and ease of implementation are two of the most common factors. Paystack offers a few new features including allowing users save their card details while making payments. Which means repeat users have a faster checkout process. Although it's active user base is still small (only about 100,000 transactions last month), paystack looks like it's the next big thing. It also doesn't require an upfront fee

Pros    Liked by developers
   Easy to integrate and open an account
   Clean and modern UI
   No redirect. Transaction happens on your website
Cons    Higher per transaction fees
   Still lacking in public recognition/trust
Cost    No upfront license fee
   1.5% + N100 per transaction

 

Simplepay Payment Gateway

Simplepay has been around for a while now. It was one of the first few gateways that acted as middlemen between clients and Interswitch to reduce the effect of the upfront cost  charged by Interswitch. The platform recently rebranded with a cleaner UI and simpler payment process. I cannot say at the moment if it still runs on Interswitch's Webpay. The simplepay payment gateway is quite good and customer service for developers and clients isn't bad too.

Pros    Easy to integrate and open an account
   Clean and modern UI
   No redirect. Transaction happens on your website
Cons    Higher per transaction fees
   Not enough recognition/trust
Cost    No upfront license fee
   1.9% + N10 per transaction

 

VoguePay Payment Gateway

Voguepay is very similar to Simplepay and has been around for some time too. And while they have similar features, Voguepay tries to diversify a little. You can send and receive money from local/international accounts through the platform. The homepage does mention an option of offline transactions but I haven't used that before and I'm not sure how it works. Compared to Simplepay though, I'd say Simplepay looks to be a better option to go with.

Pros    Easy to integrate and open an account
   A few more features for businesses
 Cons    Higher per transaction fees
   Not enough recognition/trust
 Cost    No upfront license fee
   0.99% + N99 withdrawal fee
   1.5% + N30 per transaction
   N1,500 merchant verification fee

 

GTPay

While a lot of the banks (almost all of them) have payment gateway systems that feed off Quickteller, GTPay is the most noteworthy. It is easily accessible to all of its business customers. And yes, you do need to have a GT account opened with the bank to use this gateway. It is largely supported by the trust from the GT brand and so is seen as a preferred gateway. And although the platform still connects to Quickteller to function, the upfront fee is reduced by half to about N75,000.

Pros    Highly trusted brand
   Reduced upfront fee for Interswitch integration
   Get paid directly into your GTBank account
 Cons    Still more expensive than some payment gateways
   Must own GTBank business account
   Tougher account opening processes
  Cost    N75,000 license fee
   1.5% + N30 per transaction

 

AmplifyPay Recurring Payment System

The last mention on my list is a gateway I haven't seen take off just yet but is worth mentioning. AmplifyPay was one of the first gateways to really focus on recurring payments for proper subscription models. Which is something else that isn't really big in Nigeria today but has a lot of potential. The gateway focuses on business models that require users to pay periodically, like a monthly payment for magazine subscriptions. And while I have not had a chance to work with this personally, the API documentation seems pretty clear.

Pros    Easy to integrate and open an account
   Clean and modern UI
   No redirect. Transaction happens on your website
   Focus on recurring payment models
Cons    Not enough recognition/trust
Cost    No upfront license fee
   1.5% + N20 per transaction

 

Comparing online payment gateway fees and features

This table gives you a breakdown of the current fees charged by the payment gateways and features they have. It should give a bird's eye view of what you'd get if you go with any of them. Keep your customers in mind, if you don't offer subscriptions, don't make recurring payments a key factor.

*Withdrawal fee is the fee charged by the gateway when you request funds paid on your website to be sent to your bank account

  •  
  • Setup Fee
  • Per Transaction Fee
  • Withdrawal Fee
  • Recurring Payment
  • Save Card Feature
  • Website

 

Free / Paid Integration plugins for your ecommerce store

A payment gateway is only of use to you when you can integrate it with your website right? And because most entrepreneurs start out using popular CMS platforms, most gateways have ready to use integration plugins. This means all you have to do is download a file, upload it to your website and voila! Gateway installed and ready to be used once you fill out a few credentials.

It'll be very hard for each payment gateway to provide resources for every CMS. So a lot of times, individuals take the time out to build these integration modules and give them out to the public. In some cases, they offer them as paid plugins. Still, not all CMS platforms are covered. We've taken the top 8

  •  
  • WordPress
  • Woocommerce
  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • Prestashop
  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • Opencart

 

Conclusion - Which payment gateway is best for you?

There's never really a straight answer for this. But it all comes down to what features you need and how much loose cash you have on you. If you have a good developer and money to spare, you can consider Interswitch, the trust factor stands strong. And if you're lean on cash, go with Paystack. If you don't like the extra N100 fee, charge that to customers as a convenience fee or put it in the product cost.

There's a lot to consider when deciding on a payment gateway, because it could make or break your customer experience. I'd say go with what best suits you. And consult with your developer before you do (if you have one). Personally, I use Paystack for everything.

If you found this post useful, be kind enough to share it, someone out there needs it.


beginners guide to Facebook advertising

New Facebook feature lets you share ad previews with clients seamlessly

We recently spotted a Facebook ad preview feature on the ads manager dashboard. Along with other new changes, but this seemed most useful at the time.

One of the most common requests clients have when running ads is to know how it looks. In some cases, clients actually want to see the ads on their timeline the way a user sees it, but we'd not address that today. This new feature provides a sharable link. Clients can follow that link to see what the ad looks like on Facebook, Instagram and the audience network. Pretty cool.

How to get sharable ad preview link on Facebook

Open up the ads manager and navigate to the specific ad you'd like to share. Select the ad with the checkbox to the side, then click preview like shown below

fb preview step 1

 

On the popup that you get, click on the top right link button and select share a link as shown below

fb preview step 2

The next popup shows you a sharable link you can give to your client. Here's the link generated for this post - http://fb.me/1XEh54rjZYi74Ji. This link can also be passed on from the client to his management tea, for example. Here's what the client sees on their end.

fb preview step 3

You'd notice Facebook also gives them the opportunity to opt-in to see the ad in their newsfeed. I think some of us here will relate to the joy of knowing your clients can see their own ads.

I hope this makes your job a little easier now. So next time you get that call saying, "I can't see my ad! How do I even know what it looks like?" Well, here's your response.

 


email-marketing

Poor email link strategy - A case study with Quickteller

Every once in awhile, a big brand comes around and does something weird. Like a financial brand sending out a mail that looked just like a phishing mail. Or selling human beings online... :D

But there are times when they remind us of the basics of marketing. And the mail I got from Quickteller this week just gave me that same feeling. Here's the email (which was not so bad by the way)

The timer was a GIF that counted down to zero. I thought it was interesting at first glance. The subject line "your call credit has been exhausted" isn't bad. Makes you want to click on it. And the copy was simple and straight to the point. Would have liked to see the CTA as a button instead of a text link, but it still works well.

The issue came in when I clicked on the "Click here to topup" link. Here's the page I get

Quickteller airtime topup

Ignore the unnecessarily busy background and the color blocking happening on this page. I don't know any of these guys. And I certainly don't use them. So why was I taken here.

For a moment, I wondered if I had actually bought International Airtime at any point, but nope, never. It would have made sense if I had done that before. I clicked to the second page and still more unknown brands.

My only question is, why international airtime? Imagine all the hundreds of thousands of people who might have seen this, clicked and got to this page.... Really looking for MTN and Glo and the rest. I think that like me, most users will simply close this page.

One of the basic rules of marketing as a whole, don't make me think. Be sure that whatever link your users click on, they find exactly what they're looking for.

I hope you learned from this simple mistake :)


useful-google-tools

Is Google AdWords about to start accepting Nigerian Naira Payments?

Every freelance marketer or small business knows this pain. Since the crash of the Naira, $100 limits on debit cards, and high FX, advertising has been hard. Paying for ads is now punishment, because you either make payments small small every month, or get a dollar card. If you go with the dollar card, the next pain point becomes actually getting the dollar at reasonable rates.

That's why we were excited when Facebook brought in the PayU option for Naira payments. And it has been a lifesaver.

And now it looks like Google will be following suit. A few days back, a reader hinted at a possible NGN payment option on AdWords. We checked it out and noticed that indeed the Naira denomination was now included in the signup page, which wasn't available before now.

But as of this moment, there are no available payment options under this currency setting. Sources say this is in the works and we should be patient for a possible rollout.

It's hard to stress how much of a relief this would be to advertisers in Nigeria, I think it's long overdue. What we're likely to see is a dedicated payment option for Nigerian cards, just like in Facebook. Payments are also likely to be on a prepaid basis.

We would keep an eye on this space and let you know if anything changes.


Google-data-studio

Google Data Studio - Free reporting dashboard for freelancers, agencies

In my 5+ years in digital marketing, I've always hated one task, reporting. And not because the reports weren't rosy, no. Mostly because the amount of time it takes to generate these reports drives me mad. And the thought that I have to do this every week...? God help me.

But project reporting is a necessary evil. It helps guide decision making, marketing optimization and tracks progress. So the next question was always "how do we automate this?". A simple Google search turns up hundreds of paid solutions, but who needs to spend more money on yet another platform. It's at this point that the Google Data Studio comes in.

What is Google Data Studio

In a nutshell, Google Data Studio helps you visualize reports and provides free unlimited usage as of the time of this writing. You can also connect with most Google products including Firebase, Google AdWords and Analytics to automate data reporting.

What this means is that when running AdWords campaigns for clients for example, you can share a unique dashboard URL. The client simply needs to access this URL and see real time reports on their ongoing ads. Here's an example

This gives you an idea of how much detail can go into this real time dashboard. And the good news is, because there are so many data connection platforms, you can create reports like this for almost anything. Here's one from Google on a TV campaign performance

 

So what does this mean for the average marketing professional?

  • If you're working on the brand side, you can create unique dashboards like these for management. You'd never get asked to create impromptu reports again (hopefully) :D
  • If you're working for an agency, you can have each account manager tasked with creating dashboards like these for every client they manage. Now if the client needs to know what's happening around 12AM (like some of them do), they don't need to call you anymore. They have a real time dashboard to take care of all their needs
  • If you're a freelancer managing multiple client ad campaigns... you figured right? Create a dashboard for each client
Bye bye to manually generated reports! Create real time dashboards with Data Studio :)Click To Tweet

I've tried this out myself and I must confess, it helped me too. I immediately got some insight being able to see all the data all at once. And if you're wondering if this works for Facebook too, yes it can, with some tinkering and (unfortunately) human intervention.

Already using the Data Studio? Let me know what you think, drop a comment below.