What are crypto payment gateways and how do they work?

The Cointelegraph ​

Cryptocoins News / The Cointelegraph ​ 33 Views

Cryptocurrency payment gateways are digital currency payment processors that allow merchants to offer cryptocurrencies as a payment method.

The parallel development of payment processors for digital currencies is taking place along with the implementation of blockchain technology in various industries like healthcare, academics, supply chain and among others. Businesses willing to accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method rather than fiat currencies rely upon crypto payment gateways to operate. 

Without the trouble of needing to keep a cryptocurrency wallet and convert digital currency into fiat money, a crypto payment gateway can offer a straightforward solution for a merchant to adopt crypto. This facilitates the broader acceptance of digital currencies and makes it simpler for a vendor to provide cryptocurrency payment options.

This article will highlight the role of crypto payment gateways in the cryptocurrency market, their advantages and disadvantages and how a crypto payment gateway works.

What is a cryptocurrency payment gateway?

Crypto payment gateways like BitPay, PayPal and Coinbase Commerce handle and facilitate the processing and receipt of cryptocurrency payments for merchants. In return, businesses receive fiat currencies in their bank accounts. Therefore, companies can offer alternative payment options to customers, removing uncertainties concerning cryptocurrencies.

However, crypto payment processors are not mandatory to receive digital currency payments. That said, merchants can use their personal wallets to accept cryptocurrencies. Nonetheless, crypto payment gateways make it simple for businesses to accept cryptocurrency as payment alongside fiat money and settle transactions in real time.

In addition, custodial and non-custodial are two types of crypto payment gateways. In the case of custodial crypto payment gateways, the profit made by the merchants is placed into their accounts, at which point they can start withdrawing funds to their wallets. Noncustodial crypto payment gateways, on the other hand, do nothing more than process the payment and promptly transfer the profit to the merchant’s wallet.

On the contrary, a bank account and the appropriate payment system are linked through a fiat payment gateway, which is restricted to accepting only national currencies like the United States dollar, euro, etc., and cannot serve as a fiat-to-crypto payment gateway. Fiat payment gateways approve or reject bank card and electronic wallet payments based on customers’ bank card details.

How does a crypto payment gateway work?

Businesses can use the crypto payment gateway if they want to offer a demanding form of payment method but aren’t yet ready to enter the cryptocurrency market completely. In return, they charge a service fee from the customers to stay operational in the long run. The providers also incur a fee for facilitating the transfers levied by the transaction validators or miners of the cryptocurrency network.

The work of payments executed by cryptocurrency payment gateways looks like follows:

  • When a customer selects a good or service from a merchant’s website, app or in-store, they choose to pay with cryptocurrencies through a cryptocurrency payment gateway.
  • The customer will then be locked into a transaction window during which the market conversion rate of the cryptocurrency they want to spend vs. preferred fiat currency, such as the British pound, would also be frozen.
  • The payment is instantaneously converted into the fiat currency of your choice by the crypto payment gateway.
  • The funds are then deposited into a merchant’s account for withdrawal or other purposes.

Related: How to pay your bills with cryptocurrency?

Advantages and disadvantages of crypto payment gateways

Among the advantages of crypto payment, gateways include instant transaction settlements at the cost of a small network fee (to be borne by the service provider) and a service charge (to be paid by the customers). Moreover, only one intermediary, i.e., the crypto payment processor, is involved in the process, improving the overall customer experience.

In addition, merchants are protected against chargeback fraud thanks to transparent blockchain networks. However, in the case of fiat payment gateways, there might be some instances when businesses do not get their money after it leaves the buyer’s card. Moreover, crypto payment gateways support multiple cryptocurrencies and reduce volatility risk for the merchants.

Nonetheless, crypto payment gateways are the intermediaries between merchants and customers; therefore, the settlement does not take place in a fully decentralized manner. Also, if the service provider’s business is uninterrupted, merchants may be affected, such as delayed payments, until issues with crypto payment processors are fixed. Or if a crypto payment gateway gets hacked, merchants also lose their funds.

Another drawback is that using a crypto payment gateway is more expensive than making payments directly on the blockchain because they operate as middlemen and tack on their own costs to the transaction fees incurred on a blockchain network.

Also, since crypto payment gateways are centralized organizations, there must be some level of trust, which requires merchants to confirm that the payment processor can deliver high-quality, reliable and sufficiently secure service to fend off potential cyberattacks.

Does Binance and Coinbase have a payment gateway?

Both Binance and Coinbase (centralized crypto exchanges) offer crypto payment gateways. Additionally, merchants can build their own checkout page with complete design control using application programming interfaces (APIs) provided by both exchanges. A software intermediary called an API enables communication between two applications.

Related: Binance vs. Coinbase: How do they compare?

Binance offers the Binance Pay payment option method to crypto-friendly companies. By displaying the store’s unique QR code, merchants can set up Binance Pay in their physical location for a contactless, secure cryptocurrency payment experience. They can also integrate Binance Pay into their online store for a borderless transaction process, giving consumers more payment options.

Binance Pay Merchant Program members can just need to set up a Merchant account to accept crypto payments. Alternatively, businesses can receive cryptocurrencies via Binance Pay with the help of channel partners.

Coinbase's crypto payment gateway is called Coinbase Commerce, supports ten digital currencies, namely Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), USD Coin (USD), Dogecoin (DOGE), Tether (USDT), Litecoin (Lite), Shiba Inu (SHIB), ApeCoin (APE) and Dai (DAI).

Payments are automatically converted to USD by Coinbase Commerce, and Coinbase does not have any access to the funds received by merchants, meaning that if a 12-word seed phrase is lost, Coinbase cannot recover funds. In addition, before delivering funds to merchant accounts, Coinbase charges a 1% transaction fee for receiving crypto payments.

Are crypto payment gateways safe?

Before selecting any cryptocurrency payment gateway, merchants should conduct due diligence on how service providers store cryptocurrencies and subsequent fiat payments. Other factors they can consider include transaction fees, cryptocurrencies supported and a history of hacks and scams suffered by the platform.

In addition, checking if a crypto payment gateway provides customer support is vital to get a timely resolution in case of disruption. Furthermore, verifying each candidate's reputation is another crucial step one can take while looking for crypto payment processors. To achieve this, go to specialized review websites and read what other people say about their interactions with various service providers and choose wisely.


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