When your business is processing payments online, you need to give customers reassurance that transactions will be handled smoothly and securely.
This isn’t just a matter of removing hesitation to purchase—it’s also about making sure that your business isn’t responsible for any data breaches.
With more people shopping online than ever before, it’s not surprising that payment security is top of mind for many consumers. 48% of consumers say they’re more concerned about data security than they were before the pandemic, while 66% say they would never return to a shop where eCommerce fraud had occurred.
So, what can your business do to create a seamless and secure checkout experience?
It all starts with a hosted payment page.
In this blog, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about hosted payment pages, and why they are a great fit for emerging and established businesses.
In This Article
What is a Hosted Payment Page?
A hosted payment page (HPP), also referred to as a hosted payment gateway, is a secure portal that enables businesses to accept payments online. A hosted payment page is operated by a third-party provider who offers data security and payment processing services in exchange for a small fee.
When a customer wants to make a purchase, they are directed to this external page to enter their card information. This differs from a self-hosted payment page, where customers will stay on your business’ website for the duration of the checkout experience.
Because your business is not responsible for managing credit card transactions directly or storing payment information, this frees up more time to focus on other areas of your business.
There are various use cases for an HPP. eCommerce businesses can use a hosted payment page to reduce liability and ensure they’re not capturing sensitive payment data.
An HPP is also helpful for businesses to easily accept payments online in versatile ways. For example, if you offer legal services, you could direct your clients to a hosted payment page and complete the transaction from there.
How Do Hosted Payment Pages Work?
A hosted payment page workflow will progress as follows:
- The customer or client agrees to purchase your products or services. This could mean adding items to their shopping cart or signing a service contract.
- The customer is directed to your hosted checkout page on an external server.
- The customer provides their payment details and selects ‘submit’
- The payment gateway will process the transaction and transfer money to your merchant account.
To summarize, customers navigate hosted payment pages in the same manner as regular onsite checkout. The only difference is that none of their information (e.g. card number, and other cardholder data) will pass through the merchant’s website.
Why Use a Hosted Payment Page?
For many businesses, implementing a hosted payment page makes a lot of sense. Here’s why.
Secure checkout with less liability
Running a business involves far more than generating sales. If your checkout page is self-hosted, this means you are responsible for the security of the payment process and protecting customer data. The cost of not maintaining Payment Card Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance can be high; if you experience any kind of data breach, your business will be liable for any customer losses.
By using a hosted payment solution, your business is outsourcing data security and authentication to a third party that maintains high security standards. Because online payment data isn’t passing through your website directly, you aren’t responsible for meeting the majority of PCI requirements. This lessens your obligations while still providing customers with a secure payment and checkout experience.
It’s easy to set up
Hosted payment pages are a quick and convenient solution for online stores. Most payment gateways will offer a payment page as an optional extra via open API integration. This means little to no technical work is needed on your end to begin accepting online payments.
Optional recurring billing
One of the biggest advantages of using a hosted payment page is that it opens up new capabilities you won’t find with a standard payment gateway. Many hosted payment pages offer subscription billing, which gives your business the ability to offer recurring services or product replenishment. Additional features like this give you wraparound support and more robust selling opportunities.
For example, if you’re selling recurring services or products, having an HPP provider with built-in subscription features allows you to put your billing needs on autopilot.
Accept multiple payment methods
Today’s consumers expect to make online payments using a variety of methods. In addition to standard credit and debit cards, Buy Now, Pay Later, ACH, and digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay are all standard options that are key to a smooth payment experience.
Using a third-party checkout enables your business to offer customers many different payment options. The more payment types you can accept, the more flexible and friction-free your checkout is.
A streamlined checkout experience
It’s not an exaggeration to say the checkout process can make or break the customer experience. According to Baymard Institute, “a long and confusing checkout” is the third biggest reason for cart abandonment in online commerce.
Even when customers have items in their shopping cart, it only takes one moment of friction to trigger cart abandonment. Whether it’s difficulty entering payment information or the web page being slow to load, the checkout process is full of potential interruptions that cause customers to shop elsewhere.
In the realm of professional services, an unsecured or cumbersome online payments process can ruin the client experience. When your clients can’t make payments easily, they may choose to take their business elsewhere.
A hosted checkout is one of the best ways to simplify the checkout process because it’s designed with your customer’s convenience in mind. From single-page payment forms to guest checkout options, hosted payment pages help to remove many of the barriers that result in cart abandonment.
What Types of Businesses Should Use a Hosted Payments Page?
There are very few businesses that won’t benefit from using a hosted payment page. Here are some instances where a hosted page is particularly helpful:
You don’t want the hassle of managing payment processing. No matter the size of your business, managing a checkout takes up a lot of time and energy that could be put towards generating sales or refining your marketing strategy. By using an external checkout provider, you can let the experts handle your payment page and focus on what your business does best.
You’re considering offering services that require recurring billing. If your business wants to offer a subscription box, some kind of replenishment service, or a retainer agreement, you need a payment gateway with recurring billing capabilities. By getting a hosted payment page sorted out now, you won’t have to worry about changing your payment processing system in the future.
You’re a large business with more complex PCI compliance requirements. The more transactions you process, the more requirements there are to stay compliant. If you run a sizeable business, the hassle of keeping up with these regulations is very time-consuming. It makes far more sense to outsource PCI compliance to an external service provider to save both time and money.
>How to Set Up a Hosted Payment Page
How exactly can you set up a hosted checkout page? Below, we’ll go over the steps you should take.
1. Choose a Hosted Payment Page Provider
To set up a hosted payment page, your business needs to select a payment processing provider. Here are the key questions you need to ask as you compare different providers and their wide variety of payment solutions:
How do they maintain PCI compliance?
Not having the burden of PCI compliance is one of the biggest benefits of using a hosted payments page. But it’s important to note that there are different levels of compliance, depending on the number of transactions being processed:
- Level 1: 6 million card transactions per year.
- Level 2: 1 to 6 million transactions per year.
- Level 3: 20,000 to 1 million transactions per year.
- Level 4: 20,000 transactions per year.
So, when a provider says they are “PCI compliant” it’s important to dig a bit further to check whether they offer the right level of compliance for your business needs. Stax, for instance, is a Level 1 PCI compliant provider, which means we offer the highest level of security as determined by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.
What payment methods are accepted?
Not every hosted checkout page will offer the same range of payment options, so you’ll need to consider what payment methods you want to accept.
While just about every provider will process a standard credit card like Visa or Mastercard, they might not accept Apple Pay and Google Pay or ACH payments. If your customers want to pay using these methods and are unable to do so, this could result in a high rate of cart abandonment.
Whatever service provider you decide on, make sure that they offer a wide range of payment options to accommodate your customers. This includes making sure that your page can be configured to accept store-branded gift cards.
Does it offer customization?
The look and feel of your hosted payment gateway might not seem like a top priority, but it’s critical to prevent customers from abandoning cart when they reach your payment form.
Redirecting customers away from your website might save you a lot of liability, but it does have the downside of interrupting the flow of the shopping journey. If your payment page template can’t be branded to reflect your brand identity, security-conscious consumers may decide not to complete their purchase.
Make sure to look for a hosted payment page provider that offers CSS and HTML markup tools so you can customize your page with your company name, logo, and brand colors. Note that customization options are not available within the iframe itself, as this form is protected by 3D secure.
Is it easy to integrate into your website?
Your business doesn’t want to spend any more time than necessary connecting your hosted payment page with your eCommerce store or company website. Your service provider should offer an easy setup process so you can start processing payments quickly. If it requires the expertise of a developer, you may want to look for another solution.
2. Configure the Settings for Your Hosted Payment Page
Once your payment page has been set up, you need to go into the settings tab to make sure that everything meets your specifications.
This includes any customization of your page, selecting available payment options, and setting up CTAs for directing customers to the checkout. In addition to the shopping cart itself, you may have the option to redirect customers to your hosted payment page via email and invoicing.
3. Make a Test Transaction
Ready to start accepting payments? Before setting your hosted payment page to live. Be sure to make a test transaction or two to check that your page is functioning as it should in a variety of scenarios. This includes:
- Testing out each of your payment options.
- Using expired credit cards to check for failed payment notifications.
- Setting up recurring payments (if applicable).
- Making secure transaction fees are charged correctly e.g. passing them onto your customer.
Payment processing is never a merchant’s favorite activity to manage. By bringing a hosted payment page provider into the fold, your business can spend more time focusing on generating sales and customer relationship management—all with the confidence that your provider is handling all the nuts and bolts.
Be sure to customize your page and offer a broad spectrum of payment options to offer a seamless payment experience that keeps customers coming back for future purchases. Remember, a better payments experience = a healthier bottom line!
Looking into ways you can leverage payment links for an even better way to collect payments from customers? Contact Stax to discuss your needs and how Stax Pay helps you go beyond just standard hosted payment options.