The Complete Guide To Payment Gateway APIs in Kenya

September 27th, 2022 by Felix Cheruiyot


Payment gateway APIs simplify the process of accepting payments on your website. Discover how they work and how to choose the best payment gateway API for your business in Kenya.

You may not see them work or know how they work, but payment gateway APIs are a core part of commerce. You’ll find them on websites, apps, and even physical POS terminals.

Without payment gateway APIs, checking out - whether online or in person would involve a lot of steps and waiting and would make for an altogether frustrating shopping experience.

This article is a guide on payment gateway APIs. It will teach you what a payment gateway API is, how it works, why they are so important, and how to choose one for your online business in Kenya.

Let’s get right to it.

What is a Payment Gateway API?

A payment gateway API is the set of instructions and permissions that enable software developers to easily integrate a payment gateway into their websites, apps, and POS systems. It simplifies payment gateway integration by removing the need to self-host the entire payment gateway software.

An API, short for Application Programming Interface, is a set of rules and protocols allowing software programs to communicate. Basically, an API enables computers and devices to talk with each other.

Payment gateways allow you to accept electronic payments from your customers, authorizing and processing them through a network of banks and processors. This streamlines the payment process for your customers and can also help reduce your processing time and costs.

Why are payment gateway APIs important?

Payment gateways are the backbone of online commerce, and integrating one into your website or application is a must if you want to take your business to the next level.

Using an API, a payment gateway like IntaSend can create a custom interface allowing your business to access and use its payment processing capabilities without self-hosting or coding it into your website or application. This will significantly reduce the work you must do to manage payments.

The result is a streamlined payment process, reduced time to market, and lower payment processing costs. A credible payment gateway provider securely stores payment information, especially when used for an eCommerce business.

How do payment gateway APIs work?

A payment gateway API is a set of programming instructions that allow the software to interact with a payment processing system. When you make a payment online, you typically use a payment gateway to process the transaction. E-commerce merchants use payment gateways to accept customers' credit card and debit card payments.

There are two types of payment gateway APIs: RESTful and SOAP. RESTful APIs use standard HTTP methods (like GET, POST, PUT, and DELETE) to perform actions, while SOAP APIs use XML for requests and responses. Both APIs can be used to process payments, but RESTful APIs are typically easier to work with.

When you use a payment gateway API, you'll need to provide basic information about the transaction, such as the amount charged and the customer's billing information. The payment gateway will then communicate with the customer's bank to verify the funds are available and process the transaction.

Once the transaction is complete, the payment gateway will respond to your application, indicating whether or not the payment was successful.

Benefits of using payment gateway APIs.

As your business grows, your sales and operational tasks also grow. Payment gateway APIs allow you to easily and cost-effectively automate the most essential of those tasks - accepting customer payments, freeing up your time to focus on important tasks that aren’t as easy to automate, like customer support.

Automating payments with a payment gateway reduces the time it takes to process customer payments, which can positively impact the customer experience and your bottom line.

Payment gateway APIs can offer many features and capabilities depending on the provider and product. Let’s quickly run through some of these:

1. Easy checkout

Payment gateway APIs facilitate a swift and seamless checkout experience, giving your customers a great user experience when paying for their purchases. Your customers want to the checkout process to be short and smooth, and a payment gateway API can make that happen.

2. Supports multiple payment methods

A payment gateway like IntaSend allows you to accept various payment types, including credit cards, debit cards, and mobile money. Customers can use the payment methods that are most convenient to them, which reduces the chances of cart abandonment.

3. Improved customer experience

Customers love it when they can checkout in just a few clicks, and that’s exactly what payment gateway APIs offer. A quality payment gateway API enables customers to pay with their preferred method without friction.

Customers also appreciate the transparency and security of using a payment gateway API. This leads to a better customer experience and more repeat business for you.

4. Easy customisation

Payment gateway APIs are designed to be easily customisable. As a merchant, you can get creative and customize your store’s checkout experience according to your customers' unique needs.

That could mean anything from modifying the design to changing how your store communicates with the gateway, issuing refunds, and much more. The possibilities are endless.

For example, you can add middleware to your payment processor that will allow you to run promotions and offer discounts. You can also customize checkout to allow for upsells, which can bump your sales considerably.

You can also customize a payment gateway to automate tasks like issuing refunds for cancelled orders. This can be especially helpful if you use a marketplace platform like Shopify and want to streamline the process for your customers.

As payment gateways advance, they will offer more cutting-edge features that can help you attract and retain customers. For example, some payment gateways now embed loyalty programs and rewards that can be integrated with your existing loyalty program.

5. Multiple ways to transact

Payment APIs provided by IntaSend support a wide range of transaction types. They’re not limited to card payments. They also support M-Pesa, Bitcoin payments, and many more. This makes IntaSend the perfect choice for merchants keen to expand their payment options and reach a wider audience.

The flexibility of IntaSend’s APIs ensures that you can integrate them into any e-commerce platform, making it easy to start accepting payments. IntaSend is constantly innovating and working on new payment types to serve a more diverse customer base.

6. Offline support

You can easily use payment APIs with technologies like USSDs to offer offline support to customers. Users can use services like PayBills, where payments can be collected without the need for an internet connection. With the IntaSend API, you can easily capture offline payments and auto-reconcile.

7. Secure operations

Payment gateway APIs offer enhanced fraud prevention capabilities that protect customer payment information and reassure them to transact without fear. In fact, payment gateway APIs are more secure than self-hosted payment gateways because APIs use SSL technology to encrypt all information as it’s being sent.

So, payment gateway APIs provide an added layer of security to the payment process by encrypting the customer’s credit card information. In addition, these APIs can also help to prevent fraud by verifying the customer’s identity and checking for suspicious activity.

8. Simplified regulatory compliance

Integrating a payment gateway API can help simplify the process of complying with various regulations so your business always operates within the rules.

Using an API can minimize the need for manual data entry and reduce the potential for mistakes that compromise customer data, which can result in serious penalties for your business.

As technology changes, new compliance rules are often put in place. Your business can quickly adapt and comply with updated regulations using an API.

Using a payment gateway API also enables you to receive card payments without the need to undergo the time-consuming PCI-DSS certification process yourself.

How to choose a good payment gateway API

You must exercise great care and diligence when choosing a payment gateway API. There are things to consider, such as the provider’s reputation, ease of use, documentation, etc.

The software provider's size and experience are good indicators of the quality of the service you can expect. Other factors to consider when choosing a payment gateway API are:

Why IntaSend is the best provider of online payment gateway APIs in Kenya

Now that you’ve explored what payment gateway APIs are and what factors to consider when choosing one, you must make that choice. We believe that IntaSend is Kenya's best payment gateway API provider today.

IntaSend has an impressive array of payment gateway APIs that can be customized to suit your needs. Our well-developed integrative platform makes connecting with various payment processors and banks easy.

IntaSend’s wide range of payment gateway APIs includes card and mobile payments, wallet as a service, REST API plugins and SDKs, and e-commerce APIs. Some of the benefits of using IntaSend's payment gateway APIs include;

If you're looking for a payment gateway that grows and adapts to your online business’s evolving needs, IntaSend is worth checking out.

Sign up for IntaSend to accept payments online and give your customers a seamless checkout experience.

Cover Photo by Adrien Delforge on Unsplash

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