The key to running a successful online business is secure internet acquiring, but how can you ensure the availability and reliability of payment services? Eugene Kuzovlev, Head of Operations at ECOMMPAY IT, offers a sneak peek into the inner workings of a payment gateway.
A payment gateway acts as the virtual gatekeeper between the online business and the acquiring bank. To process online payments, payment service providers build their own payment gateway. In some cases, they have the necessary partnerships with international payment systems and are able to offer secure internet acquiring directly.
To process payments on behalf of online merchants, payment service providers must have their own data processing centre. Entrusting all client operations to one data centre, however, carries the risk of unforeseen failures. The solution? Additional data centres. When two or more data centres are functional simultaneously, efficiency increases.
Reliability for Online Business
Having two data centres isn’t just back-up in case one burns out. Although, failures of this sort do happen and it’s best to be prepared. Instead, think of it this way. Data centres are like speakers for a stereo system. Two create a stereo effect, but four produce a much fuller sound. Each new data centre is a functioning duplicate that increases the processing power and speed.
Two or more active processing centres improve the classification of the payment gateway. One data centre means a high-reliability system. Two means fault-tolerance. If a high-reliability system has a rating of 0.999 or 8.5 hours of downtime per year, the fault-tolerant system is rated 0.9999 with no more than an hour of downtime per year.
What is fault-tolerance? Simply put, reliability is significantly higher. Neither hardware nor software failures will have an effect on the payment volumes or transaction speed. These are the kinds of technologies used to pilot space flight.
Faster and Cheaper Payments
What does a data centre look like? Held in a special storage facility, the data centre is more than a dozen shelves of servers and technological equipment, featuring multiple levels of protection against both physical and digital accidents, errors, and attacks.
Data centres are located around the world. If a payment service provider works with online businesses based in Europe, it would be far too long, tedious, and expensive to process customer payments in, say, Australia.
Geographical proximity to the client increases the speed of operations. For example, the network delay between London and Zurich is 40-70 milliseconds per connection. A data centre located closer to the end user can increase network speed by 15%.
Speed is essential for online business. For example, the transaction speed for ridesharing apps averages 2.7 seconds – perfect for a customer always on-the-go.
What happens when a tourist travelling to an Asian country pays for a taxi aggregator’s services with a card issued by a European bank? If the payment services provider processing the transaction has a data centre in the region, then the payment will be sent to the taxi aggregator’s regional bank in the fastest and most cost-effective manner, thereby reducing processing time and ensuring funds are transmitted securely.
Flexibility through Dynamic Updates
The payment gateway processes hundreds – if not thousands – payment transactions per second. To maintain the level of service, the system must be updated, optimised, configured, and reconfigured on a regular basis.
The biggest challenge to working with a payment platform is the stringent international standards to which developers must comply. Developers do not have access to the client’s payment gateway. Any and all updates the developer introduces must be checked to prevent any external intrusion. No data is transmitted in an unencrypted format outside of more than 10 different circuits and systems. This is the only way to ensure the highest level of security for online money transfers.
To respond to emerging threats and improve the payment process, new updates to the payment gateway are introduced up to 60 times per week. The implementation of each update requires developers to install the latest version on a backup gateway before gradually driving traffic to the updated gateway.
The security of a good payment gateway is no lower than that of a nuclear power plant. Digital sensors likewise monitor the process.
So that the newly introduced updates are successful, there are over a dozen tools and technologies continuously testing the operational version of the payment gateway. Some tools are responsible for checking the status of the payment gateway internally every 15 seconds while others evaluate the system speed and redirect transaction flows to improve traffic.
From intelligent monitoring of transaction dynamics to programmes that recognise coding errors, each tool can be configured to online business requirements. This is especially important when seeking equilibrium between conversion and security throughout the payment process.
A payment service provider with several data centres offers not only improved reliability of its payment services, faster transaction processing speeds, and higher payment gateway capacity, but also the potential for rapid growth. As a versatile, client-oriented payment organisation, ECOMMPAY scales its payment solutions for any geographical context and payment landscape, collaborating with clients to ensure their needs are met.