Chargify works with 10 payment gateways in different countries.

The gateways used to be confined to their home countries, and they all used to do pretty much the same thing: store cards, process payments, and perform anti-fraud functions.

That’s all changing with expansion into more countries, plus some exciting feature differentiation that may help your Chargify businesses.

Gateways Expanding to More Countries

The large gateway companies are expanding beyond their original countries:

  • Authorize.Net (based in the USA and owned by CyberSource/Visa) works with businesses in Canada and parts of Europe.
  • Braintree (based in the USA and owned by PayPal) works with businesses in a long list of countries.
  • Stripe (based in the USA) works with businesses in a growing list of countries.
  • eWay (based in Australia) works with businesses in New Zealand and the UK.

Differentiation in Payment Gateway Services

Perhaps more interesting, the gateways are differentiating with services, such as:

  • Authorize.Net offers ACH/eCheck processing. (We added support for ACH payments last month – read more here.)
  • Braintree introduced card Account Updater two weeks ago. This service keeps your customer cards “fresh” with no effort from you or your customer – if their card number changes or their expiration date rolls over, the system automatically updates the data. Braintree appears to be the first gateway to offer this widely. From what we can tell, it works for most/all cards (this was not the case for similar services in the past), and it’s free for all businesses using Braintree as their gateway.
  • Stripe also has card Account Updater, but only for large accounts. We assume they will offer it more widely in the future.

Other Forms of Differentiaion

The gateways are also differentiating in other ways:

  • Authorize.Net is the king of the hill in terms of US market share. Everyone knows Authorize.Net. Walk into your bank and ask to accept credit cards, and there’s a good chance they’ll sell you a package with Authorize.Net as the gateway. They are by far the leading gateway that businesses use with Chargify. Their setup time (for the merchant account portion) is usually a few days. For established businesses, this is no big deal, and may businesses that we run into already have a relationship with Authorize.Net.
  • Braintree was, years ago, the favorite among software developers and startups. They seem to have lost that in recent years to Stripe, but after Braintree was acquired by PayPal last year, they are making a push to regain that ground. For instance, they announced their “Ignition” program last week whereby certain startups don’t pay for their first $50K in normal processing fees. Braintree is also working to make the whole setup process quick: we sent a new customer to them yesterday, and the customer was processing live credit card charges thru Chargify + Braintree in about an hour.
  • Stripe pioneered fast turnaround. You can sign up and start processing credit card transactions in a matter of hours, and the whole process is very smooth. They’re also very focused on software developers, having a great API and software libraries.

New Opportunities for Chargify Businesses

With the gateways all working on new offerings and pushing into new countries, it opens up interesting new opportunities for Chargify businesses:

  • If you’re a US-based business, especially a B2B business, we recommend Authorize.Net, as they are used by most of our customers already, and they support credit card payments and ACH payments.
  • If your business can really benefit from the card Account Updater feature, we recommend Braintree. This feature is probably most helpful for B2C businesses that sell something non-critical, as customers may be less likely to respond to Chargify automated emails asking them to update their card details.

The nice thing is, you don’t have to choose just one.

Multiple Gateways in Chargify

You can operate any number of “Sites” in your Chargify account. There is no charge for this.

Each Site represents a “business in a box”, with its own products, customers, coupons, taxes, emails, etc.

And each Site is connected to its own payment gateway.

Traditionally, businesses running on Chargify have used different Sites and different gateways to support different currencies, but with the gateway changes above, Chargify businesses can also use Sites to match gateways to wider business needs.

For example, a business can have Chargify Sites set up like this:

  • 2 Sites connected to Authorize.Net for credit card payments and ACH payments. Many businesses have existing arrangements with Authorize.Net that give them very attractive rates for high volume processing. And depending on what those businesses sell, their customers may be less likely to churn due to credit card changes alone.
  • 1 Site connected to Braintree for credit card payments, to utilize their card Account Updater feature. Perhaps this Site is a B2C business where churn due to inaction by the customer to update their card is more likely.

Card Data Portability

We don’t store card data at Chargify. Instead, the data is stored in whatever gateway(s) you use with Chargify.

This brings up a caveat of the gateways: some will give your data back easily if you ever want it, and some will not.

  • Authorize.Net will not easily give you your card data. We’ve heard that they charge ~$500 to port your data to another PCI-compliant entity (like Chargify or another gateway). This is not a big deal for medium/large businesses, but it can be difficult for a startup or small business.
  • Braintree and Stripe will give your card data to you if you ask. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but it shouldn’t cost you anything.

We’ve helped a number of Chargify businesses get their data from one gateway and then place that data in another gateway. It takes some work, so we only do it on medium & large accounts.

Choosing The Right Payment Gateways

We encourage businesses to choose the right gateway(s) early for each business/Site in Chargify.

Most business owners don’t want to switch gateways once things are up and running. They usually have many other things to think about.

The typical reason is because the gateway doesn’t want them.

It’s not often, but it does happen: The gateway or underlying merchant account provider decides the business is too high a risk.

So be SURE you are honest with your gateway provider and merchant account provider about the kind of subscription-based business you’re running.

Summary

The payment gateways are innovating in new and interesting ways.

We’re excited to see it.

It allows us to keep developing new functionality that helps you run your business and manage your customers through (hopefully) years of recurring billing and customer lifecycle, while the gateways develop new features that make the whole picture richer for everyone.

*** Update ***

For an up-to-date list of all payment gateways Chargify currently supports, please click the link below. You’ll also find the merchant locations, supported currencies, and payment types listed for each payment gateway Chargify supports:

Chargify Supported Payment Gateways