How to Accept Crypto Payments
What is a Cryptocurrency Payment Gateway?
A cryptocurrency payment gateway is a payment processor for digital currencies, similar to the payment processors, gateways, and acquiring bank credit cards use. Cryptocurrency gateways enable you to accept digital payments and receive fiat currency immediately in exchange.
These companies remove any uncertainties or reservations you might have with cryptocurrency and allow you to offer more payment options.
It’s important to note that digital currency payment gateways are not a requirement. It’s perfectly acceptable to use your personal wallet to accept cryptocurrency payments; however, gateways take the extra work of exchanging cryptocurrency and managing a wallet out of your hands.
Key Takeaways —
- Cryptocurrency is beginning to be accepted as payment at many merchants.
- Cryptocurrency payment gateways act as transaction facilitators between merchants and customers for processing payments.
- If you don’t understand or trust cryptocurrency, payment gateways give you the ability to accept them as payment and receive fiat currency in exchange.
Cryptocurrency Payment Gateways
How Does a Cryptocurrency Payment Gateway Work?
In terms of steps, the following workflow gets executed:
- Your customer opts to make payment in cryptocurrency at checkout (in-store, on the web, or in-app).
- They pay you an amount equal to the digital currency’s fair market value at the time of the transaction.
- The cryptocurrency payment service instantly converts the payment into the currency you choose.
- The money is added to your account with the provider; it is deposited to your designated bank account in intervals decided on in your service contract.
The process is transparent to you because you don’t have to worry about cryptocurrencies; only that your cryptocurrency service provider will place the appropriate funds in your account.
The provider uses a cryptocurrency wallet to facilitate the transfers. If that currency is designed with a payment system, the provider will incur fees charged by the currency network’s transaction validators.
Transaction validators verify blocks and transactions in the blockchain—in exchange for their energy use and computational power, they are paid in small increments in the cryptocurrency transaction they validated.
The providers pass on these fees to you, and charge their service fees so that they can continue operating and offering their services.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Payment Gateways
For these reasons, it's important to know the advantages and disadvantages of payment gateways so that you can decide how you want to accept digital currency payments.
- A payment gateway removes the anonymity of who you're dealing with while maintaining your customer's preference for it.
- You have someone to contact if there are payment issues.
- You can accept payments from anywhere in the world, in any cryptocurrency your provider will take.
- You receive the funds in the account with your provider, who transfers them to you.
- You don't have to worry about or attempt to understand cryptocurrency.
- Reduces volatility risk—the risk of losing value waiting for a transaction to be verified by the cryptocurrency's network—by paying you the market rate for the tokens at the time the transaction was conducted.
- A payment gateway is a third party, which cryptocurrencies were originally designed to bypass.
- You have to rely on the provider's ability to maintain uninterrupted services because you might be receiving payments from around the world and in different time zones.
- Gateways are companies providing a service, so they will market themselves in a fashion that makes it seem like you need their services when realistically you don't.
- You pay small transaction fees when you use your cryptocurrency wallet; you pay more when you use a cryptocurrency payment gateway.
- If the payment gateway is hacked, you'll lose any funds you have in your account with the provider while you're waiting for them to be transferred.
Closing Thoughts on Cryptocurrency Payment Gateways
It's natural to be skeptical of something new, especially when it involves money and finances. Cryptocurrency payment gateways are not mandatory or necessary to carry out digital currency transactions. However, they remove much of the anxiety, confusion, disinformation, and speculation that can come from a decentralized and unregulated source of value.
If you're a business owner and understand how cryptocurrency works, you might not have any reservations about accepting it. As a result, you might not need the services of a gateway provider. But because more than 99% of the U.S economy consists of small businesses, it's possible that not every business owner will understand or trust cryptocurrency. If this is you, an intermediary can help you address your concerns by providing an immediate exchange for fiat currency—which lets you conduct your business finances the way you want while giving your customers the payment options they choose.
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