What to consider when picking a payment gateway?

A lot of people, when asked why they want to start their businesses, won’t feel comfortable with naming money as one of the reasons because of the stereotype that labels those who want to have money as greedy. I think you’ll agree with me if say that’s not true. More money equals more opportunities not only for ourselves but for changing the world as well. Same in business. Money should be one of the main goals for your startup.

To find out how to pick a payment gateway, I met with Tomek Popow, co-founder RST LIFT-OFF Startup Accelerator, a startup-oriented accelerator to ask about his experiences.

Payments processing

The first thing you have to make certain when building your startup payments system is that payments are being processed automatically. Look for solutions that support not only Visa and MasterCard but also other methods like PayPal, American Express etc. The more methods you can cover - the better.

If you need help with implementing a payment gateway, just drop me a line at ross@softwarebrothers.co

After you found a provider that supports the above, you have to dig deeper and find out how their solution behaves when it comes to big sums of money. For example, if the transaction will be over 100k, how much time will it take for them to transfer you the money? Some provider may give you the money only after a month or more. Which can be a deal breaker, especially for a startup. You have to be sure you’ll have cold cash to cover your expenses.

This approach is especially helpful when you’re starting a marketplace business. Make sure you’re the one who’s having the money.

Let me draw a quick example to explain what I mean. You have a service that offers lunches delivery to offices and you work with many restaurants. Instead of making your customers pay straight to the restaurant, you take care of the payments and become a middleman who not only connects clients with restaurants but handles the payments as well.

Monitor & analyze

Next, a great system has to give you access to tracking and monitoring statistics regarding your payments, so you can analyze them and react to what’s going on in your startup.

Tomek recommends trying Braintree Payments.

Building businesses is not an easy task and after you start, there’s a high probability that you’re going to change your initial pricing. You have to pick a system that will make it less of a pain for you to migrate users between different pricing strategies, plans, and packages.

When it comes to pricing your product, you can start even from the small price to get your first paying clients on board. Later, proceed with raising the price gradually, until you hit a point at which you stop generating new clients. Then lower the price to the previous one and add some new functionalities. You can raise your price again afterward.


You don’t change the price for your patrons. You can try different prices but they should be applied only to new customers or those customers, who once bought your products but then stopped and came back after a while. The only situation in which you might be forced to charge your patrons differently is when you change your pricing model. For example, you change to a subscription-based model. Then you have to call your client, explain them a situation and tell them that you have to change the price, but you won’t be charging them the regular price, you’ll give them a lower price instead. If the client decides to stay, good. If they're not agreeing to the term - I'm afraid, you’ll have to separate your ways.

Last but not least, don’t forget to do A/B testing of the plans and packages you’re offering to your customers. It might be better to offer discounts to those willing to buy long-term plans, i.e. 12-24 months. The amount of discount may vary, so make sure to test all the possibilities.


  • Make sure the payments gateway provider supports a broad variety of cards and payments operators.
  • Make sure it won’t take more than a month for the provider to transfer money to your bank account.
  • Make sure you’re the one who gets all payment and only then transfers them to subcontractors.
  • Track your payments.
  • Make sure your payments system allows to migrate users between different pricing plans without any additional pain.
  • Test your pricing.