A payment gateway and a payment aggregator are both systems used in online transactions to facilitate the transfer of funds from a customer to a merchant. However, they serve different roles and have distinct characteristics.

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is a technology infrastructure that enables the secure transfer of payment information between a customer, a merchant, and the financial institutions involved in the transaction. It acts as an intermediary between the customer’s payment method (such as a credit card) and the merchant’s bank account.

Key features of a payment gateway include:

  1. Payment processing: A payment gateway processes the payment transaction, securely transmitting the customer’s payment information to the relevant financial institutions for authorization and settlement.
  2. Security: Payment gateways employ various security measures to protect sensitive customer data, such as encryption and tokenization, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of the payment information.
  3. Integration: Payment gateways provide integration options for merchants to integrate their websites or applications with the gateway’s infrastructure, allowing for seamless payment processing.
  4. Customization: Merchants often have control over the payment experience, including branding and customization options, as the payment gateway can be customized to reflect the merchant’s brand.
  5. Direct merchant relationship: Payment gateways establish a direct contractual relationship between the merchant and the gateway provider, allowing the merchant to have more control over pricing, customer service, and other aspects of the payment process.

Payment Aggregator

A payment aggregator, also known as a payment service provider (PSP), is a third-party entity that enables merchants to accept multiple payment methods without directly establishing relationships with individual payment processors or banks. Aggregators simplify the payment integration process for merchants by consolidating various payment options into a single platform.

Key features of a payment aggregator include:

  1. Multiple payment methods: Aggregators support multiple payment methods, such as credit cards, debit cards, digital wallets, and alternative payment methods. They provide a unified interface for merchants to accept these different payment options.
  2. Easy setup: Payment aggregators typically offer quick and easy onboarding for merchants, allowing them to start accepting payments with minimal technical complexity or administrative overhead.
  3. Shared merchant account: Aggregators operate on a shared merchant account model, where multiple merchants are grouped together under a single account managed by the aggregator. This allows smaller or newer businesses to access payment processing services without individually establishing their own merchant accounts.
  4. Simplified payouts: Aggregators handle the distribution of funds to merchants, collecting payments from customers and settling the funds to the respective merchants’ bank accounts. This simplifies the payout process for merchants.
  5. Limited customization: Payment aggregators often provide a standardized payment experience, limiting customization options for merchants. The branding and payment flow may be consistent across different businesses using the aggregator’s services.
  6. Risk management: Aggregators typically manage the risk associated with payment processing, including fraud prevention and chargeback management. They may apply risk assessment measures and set transaction limits to mitigate potential financial risks.

In summary, a payment gateway acts as a secure bridge between the customer, merchant, and financial institutions, processing individual transactions and providing more customization options. On the other hand, a payment aggregator consolidates multiple payment methods under a single platform, simplifying the payment acceptance process for merchants and offering a shared merchant account for faster onboarding.