Your payment gateway is down, what would you do now?

~ 4 min read | September 11

Recently, gateways like Authorize.Net, Pin Payments, Stripe, and PayPal had outages.

Although the issues were resolved, for the entire period of the downtime, we weren’t able to process payments for our customers who were using these gateways.

After hours of poring over transactional data, analyzing and shooting out multiple emails, we managed to salvage the situation, to an extent.

So, in what way does an outage affect payments related to subscriptions?

When there’s an outage, there are two main types of transactions that get affected in the case of subscriptions: 1. Subscription Renewals and 2. New Sign-ups.

Subscription renewals are scheduled. You know when they are going to happen.

So we paused them. For the subscriptions which did go through the renewal and failed, we recovered them without a problem, using our efficient retry logic!

So what was the problem?

New sign-ups. You wouldn’t know when a customer signs up for the first time. When new customers try signing up during an outage and hit repeated “Transaction Errors”, chances of them coming back to purchase from you are minimal.

We were able to provide our customers with the email addresses for those who tried signing up. But could this have been avoided?

This is what we suggested to our customers.

Multiple gateways. At the same time.

It never hurts to have some redundancy. Especially when it comes to onboarding new customers.

Say you have Stripe as your default gateway and Braintree as your backup (All new transactions happen via the default gateway unless specified otherwise).

Suddenly, Stripe has an outage. You realize this and quickly make Braintree your default gateway, thus routing all your new sign-ups via Braintree. And, you don’t end up losing new sign-ups!

Nothing spells smart like being proactive in case of an outage. It’s not just that. There’s more to having multiple payment gateways than just smoothly handling outages. Read on to find what they are.

High Ticket Value and Micro-transactions

Another reason would be to use different payment gateways for different transactions depending on the value. If you use ChargeBee’s API, you can specify a gateway in which a card has to be stored. So, if your charges for certain products are about $100 and charges for other products are below $10, then you would want to save money by using different payment gateways. It would be logical to use a payment gateway that charges less for micro-transactions and another gateway that may charge based on a percentage of the amount.

Intelligent routing does save you money.

Payment Methods

When you offer your customers different payment methods like Credit cards, ACH, EFT, etc. you can route your customers to different gateways based on what payment option they choose. Alternative payment methods can also be a safe fallback option.

Multiple Currencies

If your company is incorporated in multiple countries, accepting payments in multiple currencies could be a problem. With gateways which support the local currency of that particular country, you can seamlessly support multiple currencies and have payments settled in the currency of your choice instead of getting into conversion hassles.

ChargeBee supports usage of multiple payment gateways, so go ahead and leverage the power of multiple options. Apart from multiple gateways for card payments, you can also accept payments from your customers through alternative payment methods.

More the options, the merrier!

Update: As a fellow startup in the trenches, we know how difficult a task it is to compare, weigh up, and pick out the payment gateway that will best suit your business. That’s why we decided to do all the heavy lifting, and have come up with, drum rolls please, this nifty payment gateway comparison tool to help you evaluate payment gateways specific to your country.

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Anusha Murthy

Tech Writer at Chargebee. Word Ninja. Suffering from Wanderlust.