Online payment gateway red flags: 6 signs you need a new one

Category: Guest Posts

The best payment gateway service will set your business up for success. At worst, the wrong online payment gateway will put your business at risk of security breaches and lawsuits.

But it’s not always straightforward to spot a bad online payment gateway. Here are 6 red flags to watch out for.

Ease of payment

More and customers are shopping on mobile. Business Insider reports that m-commerce will account for 44% of e-commerce by 2024. Unfortunately, there are many payment gateways that are still not mobile-friendly.

Global online shopping is also on the rise. In 2019, the average international e-commerce basket was valued at 97.87 USD. Before the pandemic, numbers showed that international customers also tend to buy more often. Making customers do math in their head to calculate exchange rates and fees is a sure recipe for checkout abandonment.

A payment gateway that’s not mobile-friendly and doesn’t accept multiple currencies will put you at a disadvantage. PayTabs allows payment in 168 currencies. No matter where your customers are, they can view the fee and pay in their local currency. It’s also mobile-friendly and supports all major credit cards.

Weak security standards

2020 was a year of explosive growth for e-commerce. Sadly, online fraud rose as well with the increase of customers. A found that 37% of customers surveyed had been a target of online fraud. According to LexisNexis, total online fraud attempts per month experienced by U.S based retailers increased by 24.2% in 2020. E-commerce sites now face a host of security risks from cybercriminals.

Find out if your payment gateway provider is compliant with international standards such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). Choose an online payment gateway that’s 3D secure, uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology, and tokenization. The best ones will have an added in-house fraud protection layer.

Slow payment processing speed

Customers expect a fast checkout – 18% will abandon cart if the payment process is too complex. It also increases complex chargebacks and hurts the user experience. Choose a provider that offers a seamless purchase experience and an intuitive terminal.

In addition to the actual transaction itself, each payment gateway provider has different payout terms and timelines. Delayed payout affects your cash flow, especially if you’re a small or medium enterprise (SME) or a startup. At PayTabs, we transfer deposits to you within two business days. Try a free demo of PayTabs here.

Lack of robust reporting & reconciliation

If your payment gateway doesn’t have sufficient data collection, you’ll be making business decisions on guesswork or worse, wrong data. You need real-time data reconciliation and accurate reporting.

We recently launched PT 2.0, our new enhanced payment gateway. It allows you to track transactions based on volume, revenue generated, and order value including refunded transactions. Product sales can be measured by the day or hour — invaluable for promotions and offers. It also allows you to identify your top customers and reward them.

Incompatible with your goals

Choosing a payment gateway is a long-term investment. Therefore, your payment partner should be a match for your goals. Some discerning questions to ask up-front are:

• Is this payment gateway trustworthy?
• Does this gateway have a track record of success?
• Does this gateway support our business model?
• Does the gateway allow integration with our systems?

PayTabs is a gateway made for service providers trying to enter the MENA region. We’ve been in business since 2014, helping merchants of all sizes across 49 industries. We allow integration across mobile, iFrame, and e-commerce plugins under 24 hours.

Hidden or junk fees

Many online payment gateways have hidden fees. They also use confusing jargon and pricing models. The best payment gateways have transparent, cost-effective pricing.

Junk fees are another hidden cost to watch out for. Common examples of these include:

• Early termination fees
• Monthly minimum fees
• Statement fees
• Customer service fees.

You shouldn’t have to pay to get a monthly statement or talk to customer service.

Let us help you

Start your entry into the MENA market with the best payment gateway. Contact us and talk to one of our representatives today.

Kasun Pathirage, is an expert tech and B2B freelance content writer.


The eCommerce industry is currently profitable, with financial experts estimating to surpass $4.5 trillion in sales in 2021. This is attributed to the convenience and other benefits of online shopping. However, despite these benefits, eCommerce companies are face several hurdles on their way to success. One of the major challenges is cyber-security threats, which are currently on the rise.

The success of online shops has brought unwanted attention, with cybercriminals launching sophisticated targeting methods to exploit vulnerabilities within online stores. That said, owners of eCommerce stores should watch out for the following security threats:

  1. Direct Website Attacks

Cybercriminals often use Spear-phishing to hack websites and steal valuable information. However, websites can also face direct attacks, such as Dedicated Denial of Service Attacks, which flood the store with multiple requests from undetectable and malicious IP addresses. Such sophisticated attacks can force your store offline, leaving it vulnerable to vicious attacks, including malware.

DDOS attacks essentially overwhelm your eCommerce store hosting services, blocking the store from providing services to regular visitors. Flooding the store with thousands of requests keeps the site busy to handle requests of your visitors. Experiencing a downtime in your online store is harmful as it exposes it to more vulnerabilities, prevents clients from shopping, and can damage your reputation.

Like viruses and other ransomware, cybercriminals launching DDOS attacks often demand some amount to relinquish their impact and restore your online store’s normal operations. While these attacks can cost your business significant revenue, losing your client’s trust, confidence and reputation is probably the costliest damage from DDOS attacks.

To avoid this, take proactive defensive measures, such as monitoring incoming traffic requests on your servers. Declining illegitimate traffic can help avoid such an overwhelming influx.

  1. Financial Frauds

Most online shoppers trust the use of online transactions when paying for their products or services. However, the increase in the use of online payment methods has attracted financial fraudsters looking to exploit vulnerabilities in these systems. Financial fraud can occur in two main ways:

  1. Credit card theft – this occurs when cybercriminals use stolen credit card information to pay for goods and services from your store.
  2. Fake return and refund fraud – with this, cybercriminals complete fake and unauthorized transactions. Some initiate fake requests for returns.

While it is difficult to trace financial frauds, especially credit card theft, detecting the fraudulent transaction is overly important. Fortunately, owners of eCommerce stores can take note of the following tell-tale signs to stop the fraudulent transaction:

  • A request to ship the product to a different address from the one on the billing address.
  • Successful order followed by several unsuccessful orders.
  • The customers IP address does not match the location on the billing address.

Verifying these transactions before receiving payments and shipping your products can save your store from losses. If you don’t, you will not only pay back the legit owner of the credit card but also lose your inventory. As such, investing in an Address Verification System is prudent.

  1. Malware

Cybercriminals can also design several malicious malwares to damage your systems. Just to mention, malware is a general term for several program hackers use to gain access or damage your computer network. Common malware include:

  • Viruses – these are programs that spread, infect, and damage or corrupt several files and programs.
  • Ransomware – they are programs that alter computer systems’ normal functioning until an action is taken, in most cases, payment of some amounts.
  • Backdoors – hackers use these programs to bypass regular authentication systems to complete fraudulent processes and data theft.

Installing a strong and reliable firewall is the best way of mitigating these threats. You should also work withcybersecurity experts to ensure that your systems are safe.

  1. Bots

Bots are automated programs that perform specific tasks on the internet. Unfortunately, there are both good and bad bots that can promote or bring down your eCommerce store. The majority of these bots aid in installing malware on your computer and abet targeted spear-phishing campaigns. That said, nefarious bots are the most common and harmful automated programs that affect eCommerce businesses.

With bad bots accounting for more than a fifth of eCommerce traffic in 2018, they are a threat to your eCommerce store in the following ways;

  • Promote credit card fraud – some bad bots have been programmed to steal credit card information from sites. Once hackers gather this information, they can make repeated purchases.
  • Account acquisition – there is a big market for login information on the dark web. Hackers can use bots to steal login information and sell them to the biggest bidder.
  • Price scraping – some bots are launched by competitor sites to monitor your product prices, marketing plans, and inventory levels.

Fortunately, avoiding the disastrous effects of bots comes down to simply recognizing them. For this, it is important to secure your eCommerce store with CAPTCHA codes.

Bottom Line

Other significant security threats, such as E-skimming, brute force, SQL injections, and spamming, negatively affect the success of eCommerce stores. As such, online entrepreneurs should implement serious security measures to prevent these threats. Data encryption, using secure payment gateways, and securing websites with SSL certificates are just but a few measures to mention.



In 2019, global retail sales grew by 3.4% from the previous year to hit $21 trillion. Global eCommerce accounted for 16.4% of total retail sales at $3.46 billion. Ecommerce sales continue to grow, thanks to globalization and the internet. 

This growth also comes with a few challenges, among which is payment card fraud. In 2018, payment card fraud amounted to $27.85 billion and was expected to hit $35.67 billion in the next five years.

If you intend to pursue the e-commerce route, you’ll need to consider a few things, one of which is the payment method. How many payment alternatives will you offer your customers? Are the payment methods secure?

Your customers will offer you their financial data on a silver plate; they expect that it’s secure and confidential. To guarantee this, you need to prove that you’re PCI-DSS compliant.

What is PCI-DSS?

This is a set of standards formulated by the PCI Security Standards Council. This council is made up of major credit card companies who joined forces to create security standards that protect credit card data.

As a merchant, your compliance guidelines are dictated by the number of annual transactions. Merchants are grouped into four levels:

  • Level 1

This covers merchants who handle over 6 million transactions every year or have experienced a data breach.

  •  Level 2

Merchants who handle 1-6 million transactions annually.

  •  Level 3

Merchants with less than a million transactions but more than 20,000 annual transactions.

  •  Level 4

Merchants with less than 20,000 annual transactions.

Each of these levels has different compliance requirements. The more the transactions you process every year, the tougher the compliance requirements become.

PCI DSS Compliance Checklist

PCI has six control objectives that constitute twelve compliance requirements. These requirements are not subject to merchant levels; thus, all merchants are required to adhere to the compliance requirements regardless of transaction volume.

These control objectives include:

  1. Secure Network and Systems

This control objective has two requirements:

  • Protect cardholder data by installing and maintaining a firewall

Firewalls are barriers that protect your network by preventing security threats from accessing or spreading through your network. Firewalls act as filters that determine whether information passing from one computer to another is safe or not.

  • Limit the use of vendor-supplied passwords

Every system comes with security parameters, among which are passwords. These passwords are often easy to hack; thus, you should change them before you deploy the systems. Ensure that you update system configurations and security measures as you identify new threats.

  1. Protect Cardholder Data

Cardholder data refers to personally identifiable information that’s associated with a credit or debit cardholder. According to PCI DSS, cardholder data includes PAN, which is the unique payment card number used to identify the cardholder’s account and the issuer. The standards require that merchants encrypt the transmission of cardholder data and protect stored cardholder data as stipulated in the guidelines.

  1. Implement vulnerability protection programs 

Create a program to help you identify weaknesses in your payment card infrastructure system. Hackers will exploit these vulnerabilities to access your cardholder which you can mitigate by:

  • Implementing measures to protect your systems against cyberattacks such as malware.
  • Maintain secure systems
  1. Access control measures

Limit access to cardholder data by vetting everyone who needs access to this data. This is achieved by:

  • Restricting access to cardholder data

Only authorized personnel should have access to this data. Limit the privileges of everyone to a need-to-know basis and deny all other access unless authorized.

  • Authenticate access

Employees that have access to cardholder data should be assigned unique identification. They will use these identifications to access the data, thus making it easy to track how data is handled. Do not use group IDs; every member with access needs unique identification.

  • Restrict physical access to the data

Your onsite systems are also vulnerable to attacks or internal leaks; thus, you need to put measures in place to limit physical access to cardholder data.

  1. Monitoring and testing networks

Monitor your physical and wireless networks to identify vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit to gain unauthorized access to your systems and data. To prevent cybercriminals from exploiting these vulnerabilities, you are required to:

  • Thoroughly track, analyze, and monitor cardholder environments in search of weakness.
  • Frequently test your system components, processes, etc. to ensure that you maintain security over time. 
  1. Information security

Your business needs a strong security policy that details the responsibilities of your employees towards protecting cardholder data.


PCI compliance isn’t a guarantee that your systems and data are safe; hundreds of companies have experienced data breaches despite being PCI-DSS compliant. Achieving compliance is merely a baseline. You need to meet the requirements as stipulated by the governing body and implement extra measures that protect your systems from emerging threats. You can never be too sure when dealing with cybersecurity, going the extra mile helps prevent cyber attacks.

About the author

Jordan MacAvoy is the Vice President of Marketing at Reciprocity Labs and manages the company’s go-to-market strategy and execution. Prior to joining Reciprocity, Mr. MacAvoy served in executive roles at Fundbox, a Forbes Next Billion Dollar Company, and Intuit, via their acquisition of the SaaS marketing and communications solution, Demandforce.

Go Beyond the Zoom

4 Ways to Add Something Extra to Your Product Visualization

While online shopping comes with the pro of being anytime, anywhere, and wearing anything (hello, 2 a.m. shopping sprees in your Ninja Turtle pajamas), it carries with it the con of not being able to see the product up close and in person. Companies often try to compensate for this by taking a handful of shots of the product from a few angles — and of course, the viewer can always zoom in.

I’ve got news: It’s time to go beyond the zoom.

Ecommerce has been trending toward more sophisticated technological adoption, and product imaging is certainly at the forefront of this movement. Having the zoom option on product images is something that has unsurprisingly been popular in online shopping since it first appeared — we all love to look at the details of a product before we buy it! Also unsurprisingly, technology has adapted quite a bit since then, and it’s time to look into new ways to give your customers the in-person experience of the product without ever having to change out of their PJs.

1. Give them the full 360-degree experience
There’s something amazing about being able to turn a product around and view it from every angle just like you would if it was right in front of you — and that’s what a 360-degree view gives your customer. It can provide a lot more detail than a still photo and descriptive text can, and is far more interactive and immersive than a slideshow from a few different angles.

The best part about this is that you probably don’t need to invest much more than you already are. If you’re doing standard photography, you likely already have a camera, tripod, and backdrop. All you need to transform your plain Jane setup to a 360-degree extravaganza is a turntable and a remote shutter release. It does take more time than a standard few shots, but the payoff can be worth it!

2. Record it in action

If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, consider shooting some videos of your product in action, preferably with someone interacting with it. If you do it right, it can act as both a video marketing tool and a product description. It doesn’t need to cost a million dollars, either; take this simple but effective video of a guy using a Kelly side table. What it lacks in budget it makes up for in humor, and comes across as more endearing and genuine than a fancy schmancy ad campaign ever could.

If you want to produce something higher-quality, try focusing on just a few products, like a new line you’re launching or your best sellers. Then you can go the route of Glory Cycles (get it?) and shoot a really nice video starring your best stuff. The best part about that promotion is how simple and well-executed it is, showing just how effective that visual experience is.

3. Artificial Reality

We’re getting into the cooler (and more expensive) stuff now. You may have heard artificial reality and virtual reality used interchangeably, but they are quite different: Artificial reality is computer-generated imagery overlaid onto the real world (think Pokemon Go). This is perfect for a lot of products, because it can literally show the customer how the product will look on them, in their home, or in their world.

Go Beyond the Zoom

Sephora is quite a pioneer in the beauty world, so it’s no surprise that it has a virtual makeup artist. Using its AR, you can try on different makeup products without ever having to put them on your face — and of course, buy what you like.

Another great application of AR comes from IKEA, which has an app that lets customers hold up their phone and see realistic images of IKEA furniture overlaid onto their room. Far from a badly photoshopped insert, the furniture is accurately placed and measured to look as realistic as possible.

4. Virtual Reality

Finally, the really high-level stuff. Virtual reality is different from artificial reality in that it is a complete view of your surroundings through some sort of lens or goggles, like the Oculus. People call it the way of the future, but it’s still got a ways to go. Due to the cost and complexity, it’s no surprise that most companies have not embraced VR, but it can still spark your creativity and make you think about applications of your products that are a little outside the box.

A few companies have taken the plunge, though. EBay launched the world’s first virtual reality department store, in which customers could view eBay products as if they were in a department store. Shopify hasn’t come out with any VR experiences as of yet, but it has heavily invested in both AR and VR, and hopes to be used in the future as a place to host virtual reality experiences. It’s likely not within reach in the very near future, but it’s an exciting space to keep your eye on.

It’s all about the experience

As technology improves, your customers will expect you to take advantage of it to provide the best online shopping experience you can. How are you wowing your customers?

About the author

Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.

Startups living in uncertain times?

Startups living in uncertain times?It goes without saying that startups have transformed how we interact with the world around us in the past few years. If you’ve traveled to any of the world’s major cities in, say, 2010, you would have likely checked into a hotel and hailed a taxi cab to take you there. Today, you can expect greater convenience, value for money and, possibly, a chance to meet locals at a click of a button through Airbnb and Uber.

The trend carries on as I type this blog entry. Uber, an established company by now, is being made to tweak its operations to keep newcomers like Bird, which now rent scooters as an affordable, convenient and reliable means of transportation, from eating into their market share. Also consider how corporate giants such as HBO, Amazon and Disney are being compelled to launch their own streaming services to reclaim their market shares from the likes of Netflix and Hulu.

But the truth is that startups can only flourish in healthy economies. Successful startup enterprises, after all, reflect harmonious matchmaking between entrepreneurial creativity and innovation and an optimistic outlook by investors. Perhaps it’s within our nature as humans to be creative and problem-solve, so the entrepreneurial spirit will probably never flag. But access to capital can be a problem. Even the most revolutionary business ideas of our time couldn’t have seen the light of day without funding.

There are many scenarios that can affect access to capital. How business-friendly is the economy? Are investors and lenders bogged down with red tape? Are they optimistic about the prospects of yielding a profit? Might they be concerned about consumer purchasing power if it’s not rising? Or maybe regard the market as saturated in a given sector? Endless possibilities can influence the outlook of investors and lenders.

One scenario that can surely affect startups’ access to capital is a financial crisis. Despite the inspiring success stories I’ve mentioned above, there is evidence that shows that potential for startups to succeed in the US has not yet fully recovered to its former pre-crisis levels in terms of births and deaths of startups, job creation and, perhaps most importantly, commercial lending. Fast-forward to 2018, and you’ll find the business press making noise about an upcoming and potentially deeper recession. Gloomy headlines such as “another economic downturn is just a matter of time” and “monetary policy for the next recession” can be found in the Economist and the Financial Times. JPMorgan Chase has even put a date on when it expects the bad news: 2020.

If the recession of 2008 is any guide, we know that we can’t underestimate how connected the GCC markets are to the fortunes of Wall Street: the US market, as the world’s biggest and most important, had a direct impact on commodity markets globally, which in turn affected GCC financial markets and government revenues. So the question for us becomes: how will we cope if a new crisis befalls us? Can we prepare any contingencies to keep new startups connected to their lifeline? Crisis or not, a lot can be said about the ability of startups to address all sorts of challenges, including the problem of access to capital. Just ask the people behind Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Beyond that, the role of pro-business institutions like Bahrain’s Tamkeen will be key in helping startups to rise and, if the doomsayers are correct, survive the winter of another recession on Wall Street.

About the author

Mahmood Almahmood is a translator and editor at a national news service. Trained in the social sciences and the arts, he enjoys staying abreast of the business press and analyzing its trends.