Everything you need to know about payment gateways

by | Nov 28, 2017 | Articles

If you need to accept payments for entries in your awards program, you have a few options available to you. You could ask entrants to pay by bank transfer, by cheque or even in cash at a physical location but these options require a lot of effort on the part of entrants and may have an impact on the number of entries your program receives. To give your entrants the best possible payment experience, use a payment gateway to allow for payments to be processed online by card. (Learn about Award Force payment gateways.)

What is a payment gateway?

When you pay cash for something at a store, you hand your money to the cashier in exchange for the goods you purchased. The cashier takes the money, places it in their cash register and you’re then allowed to take your goods. A payment gateway is like the teller at a cash register, but online. A channel between your entrant and your bank account.

Then, what does a payment gateway do? It would charge the entrant for their entry (or entries!), take their payment using a card, process this payment and then, if accepted, transfer the money into a “merchant” account, like a cash register, which is connected to your bank account.

Connecting your payment gateway to the Award Force system does not mean we get visibility on any card information which is exchanged between your entrant and your payment gateway. Award Force is simply the location the transaction takes place at, just like the physical building of a shop. While a transaction does take place within the shop, the physical building does not record or accept the payment. Award Force is the same, with the only difference being the payment gateway (or cash register) lets us know if the payment is successful or not and allows us to accept or decline the entry on that basis.

Choosing a payment gateway

There are thousands of payment gateway providers and it can be a daunting task to choose between them but there are a few key questions to consider which will help you get down to a shortlist.

Will it work in your country?

This is an important first step. Always check to see if the payment gateway operates in your country and is able to work with your currency.

Is it a reputable gateway?

Does this payment gateway have a good reputation? Check their website, visit social media and do a few online searches to see who else uses them. You can normally find a few logos of companies using them on the payment gateway homepage or main menu.

Will it work with multiple systems?

If you plan on accepting payments from a number of online systems, it’s a good idea to check if the payment gateway will work well with them all. Otherwise, you may end up needing more than one payment gateway. It is not serious if you do have more than one, it is just convenient to have everything under one roof.

How does pricing work?

Much the same as a cashier at a store, a payment gateway provider gets paid too! Check to see how they structure their fees. Generally, there are two main fee structures: flat fee and percentage of sales. Flat monthly fee means you will pay for the payment gateway service regardless of how many entries you get, while percentage will take a small cut of the cost for each entry. Generally, for recognition programs which accept entries for one or two months in a year, percentage makes sense since you won’t have to pay anything for the remaining ten months in a year. This is a general rule-of-thumb though and may vary depending on your specific program.

Payments, gateways and Award Force


Accepting paid entries with Award Force is exceptionally easy. All you have to do is fill in your billing information, select which gateway you are going to use, how much each entry will cost and whether there are any specific reasons not to charge for an entry. Zero programming work required! We don’t process payments in any way so money goes straight from the entrant via the gateway to your bank account.

Award Force only supports popular and trusted gateways with a strong reputation for security and good business practice.

Award Force is integrated with:

  • Authorize.NET
  • BluePay
  • Bpoint
  • CCAvenue
  • CyberSource
  • eWay
  • Mercanet (BNP Paribas)
  • NAB Transact
  • Netbanx
  • Sage Pay
  • Secure Pay
  • Payflow
  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Westpac PayWay
  • WorldPay

In conclusion

If you are considering a pay-to-enter approach for your recognition program, you need to use a payment gateway to enable online credit card payments. Be sure to check the reputation of the payment gateway before committing to any particular choice and be sure to confirm it will work in your currency/country. Connecting your payment gateway with Award Force will enable your participants to have a seamless entries experience and will help to encourage completion of paid entries by making it easy to do and pleasant to use.

If you have any questions regarding payment gateways, please don’t hesitate to get in touch here: hello@awardforce.com or visit our website www.awardforce.com to find out more.

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