Singapore Payment Gateway Guide for Ecommerce Businesses
Starting an ecommerce business is an exciting journey. But while developing your branding and building a website, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is pick an online payment gateway in Singapore.
It may seem like a small decision, but a payment gateway can be a gamechanger for your business. A bad gateway can lead to a bad checkout process on your site and cause your new business to lose potential sales. In fact, a recent survey by Baymard showed that 18% of American adults abandoned their cart on an online store because the checkout process was too long or complicated; a further 17% said it was because they didn’t trust the site with their credit card information; 7% said it was because the gateway didn’t offer enough payment methods.
When picking a payment processing provider in Singapore, it’s essential to think about how you see your business developing. Finding the right payment gateway for your business can be tricky as there are many factors to consider. Make sure you examine the options and choose one that will suit your needs and support your business throughout its journey.
What are payment gateways?
A payment gateway performs the same function as a point-of-sale terminal at a physical store. It allows your customers to pay by credit card on your ecommerce site. During payment processing, the gateway encrypts credit card details, validates these details, and authorizes the transaction. It ensures safe, fast payments for the customer and the merchant.
You may ask how a payment gateway works—it’s quite simple. There are three basic steps in online payment processing:
- Security: A payment gateway encrypts credit card details, allowing the secure transfer of transaction details between a customer’s web browser and your store’s server.
- Authorization: After transferring the credit card details, a payment gateway requests authorization for the payment from the customer’s credit card issuer. This happens in seconds.
- Completion: Once the gateway receives authorization, it allows the customer to proceed to the next step of the checkout process on your site; this is usually completion and confirmation of the purchase.
These are the primary functions of payment processing services. But many gateways also offer other useful functions. For example, some online payment gateways in Singapore can calculate taxes and provide prices in local currencies for international customers.
Types of payment gateways
There are three types of payment gateways, each offering a different customer experience. Understanding the differences between them will help you choose the most appropriate type for your store.
- Redirecting Gateways: These take customers to their own site to complete a transaction. Merchants have less control over these types of gateways, but if they are a major brand, like PayPal, it may make customers feel more secure.
- Split Gateways: Checkout occurs on your site, but the other half of the process, payment processing, happens on the gateway’s site. It allows a simple payment process, but you won’t be able to control the whole user experience.
- Onsite Gateways: These gateways are best for established retailers with high sales volumes. Because they allow you to handle payments on your site, you have full control over your customers’ purchasing journey. Just remember to have adequate security measures.
Why are payment gateways important?
You may be wondering why you need a payment gateway in the first place. It may seem obvious—they facilitate online purchases, after all—but there’s more to it than that.
Here are a few reasons why you need a good payment processing gateway:
- They provide a way to take a customer’s credit card details remotely and securely
- Using one helps to reduce instances of credit card fraud for the customer and merchant
- They allow fully digital transactions
- You can reach customers internationally
- Customers can complete their purchase in one seamless process
- A good payment gateway facilitates sales conversions—and can increase these if a customer likes the process and trusts it
- They can help streamline your business processes, including invoicing and inventory
How to choose a payment gateway for your ecommerce business in Singapore
So now you know why a payment gateway is essential for your online business, how do you go about selecting one? Each online payment gateway in Singapore will suit different ecommerce stores and customers. So, to pick the right one for your store, you should consider your goals and your customer’s needs. Here are a few things to think about:
What are your customers currently using?
Knowing what payment services your customers already use can help you work out what gateway to use. For example, PayPal is popular the world over, but many local customers may prefer to use DBS PayLah! as a payment gateway in Singapore. It’s also helpful to know what credit or debit cards your customers use so you can pick a gateway that accepts these.
How much does it cost?
All payment processing providers in Singapore will charge fees. These are usually a percentage of all transactions and sometimes include monthly user fees. If you’re just starting your ecommerce venture, it may be tempting to pick a payment gateway with low fees. But a gateway with higher fees may offer better features and more flexibility as your business grows.
Is it secure?
Customers are more confident about making online purchases if they feel a site is safe. That’s why secure payment gateways are vital, especially for a new ecommerce store. To pick a secure payment gateway, make sure it’s PCI-compliant. This means it upholds the standards laid out by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Many payment gateways also offer visible security markers—such as a Verisign checkmark—giving customers added ease of mind.
Where are your customers?
Having an online payment gateway in Singapore that caters to local customers is great if that’s your target market for your online business. But throughout your journey, your needs may change. So, if you want to be able to accommodate international customers, then you should pick a payment processing provider that can handle this by offering local payment methods in different countries, for example.
Debit vs Credit: The Difference between NETS and Visa PayWave
When picking a payment gateway, you may need to decide whether to accept debit cards or only credit cards. In Singapore, this means understanding the difference between NETS and Visa or other credit cards. NETS is a local payment processing service linked to Singaporean debit cards. Payments can be either contact or contactless, but both immediately debit the user’s Singapore bank account. Visa PayWave, though, is a contactless payment service that can be used globally; payments can be either debit or credit. For merchants, there is another important difference between NETS and Visa PayWave—NETS charges lower merchant fees and is widely available in Singapore.
Most popular online payment gateways in Singapore
Online retailers have plenty of options when it comes to picking payment processing providers in Singapore. However, you’ll have to do a little research to figure out exactly which one will work best for you. To help you out, here is a Singapore payment gateway comparison.
With nearly 400 million active accounts around the world, PayPal is the global leader in online payments. It is a trusted, fully functional online payment gateway in Singapore for both merchants and customers. The system accepts a range of credit and debit cards and offers secure transactions with 24/7 fraud monitoring, seller protection, and two-factor authentication. It’s also great for merchants who want to reach an international audience—it’s available in more than 200 countries and supports 25 currencies. However, PayPal has high transaction fees of 3.9% plus SG$0.50 for local sales, or 4.4% plus a fixed fee for international sales.
2. DBS PayLah!
As one of Singapore’s most popular local payment applications, DBS PayLah! is an excellent choice for reaching local customers. The gateway debits the money directly from a customer’s DBS account, allowing quick, seamless payments. It also accepts omnichannel payments and easily integrates into online stores. It can be expensive, though, especially for new ecommerce merchants. There is a one-time setup fee of SG$800, an annual fee of SG$1,000, and a 3% fee on credit and debit card transactions.
This online payment gateway in Singapore lets customers pay a third of the full purchase cost upfront and the rest through interest-free instalment plans but sends the full transaction amount to merchants within four days. Hoolah is a good choice for online retailers who are just starting out. It also accepts credit and debit card payments and will integrate easily into your online store.
A versatile payment processing service, WorldPay offers competitive fees. In fact, your monthly fee could be as low as SG$35/month for a basic Gateway Standard account; credit or debit card transactions incur a 2.75% plus SG$0.37 charge. This gateway also accepts a range of credit and debit cards and supports recurring billings.
Over 26,000 businesses use eWay, and it’s not hard to see why. This payment gateway integrates easily with online stores, accepts all major credit and debit cards, and is PCI-compliant. It also offers 24/7 technical assistance and flat-rate pricing of 3.4% plus SG$0.40 per transaction, making it easy for new merchants just starting their ecommerce journey to streamline payments.
Originally a popular ride-hailing app in Southeast Asia, Grab now offers GrabPay, its proprietary online payment gateway in Singapore. To use this service, merchants will have to integrate the service with their Shopify store through Strip, a third-party payment processing system. Singaporean customers like GrabPay because they can make payments through credit cards linked to their Grab account or use their Grab Points. However, GrabPay is great for new merchants as it sends payments instantly, offers full encryption, and allows merchants to easily check balance and transaction details or issue refunds.
Frequently asked questions about payment gateways in Singapore
Which payment gateway is best?
Is Shopify Payments right for my business?
Should I consider stacking payment gateways?
Are payment gateways different from payment processors?
Start Receiving Payments with Shopify
All retailers have access to our own branded payment gateway—Shopify Payments—which offers a seamless checkout and payment process in your Shopify store. However, we also support the integration of many other online payment gateways so you can organize your payments in a way that makes sense for your business.
We also offer our merchants over 160 customizable shop themes, 24/7 customer support, and a robust collection of SEO and marketing tool. So, you can set up your Singapore online store quickly — and get your brand in front of potential customers from all over the world.