If your association is planning to use Wild Apricot to collect funds online from members and others for membership or event registrations, one of the things you’ll need is a Payment Gateway.
A payment gateway is an e-commerce application service provider service that authorizes credit card payments online. Think of it as the online version of the point of sale terminal located in most retail outlets (think swipe card unit). It is NOT your merchant account, but it allows for the coordination with the merchant account to apply funds from purchase into your financial institution account.
Sometimes your bank will have a requirement of the Payment Gateway that their customers must use, and if so, you’ll have to make sure it’s one that Wild Apricot allows. The major ones, such as Authorize.Net and PayPal Payments Pro, are allowed, and a variety of other options are as well – you can see the list (it does change from time to time) here:
We generally don’t recommend the “free” version of PayPal, although it does work with Wild Apricot. The main reason is because eventually in the transaction you end up on the PayPal web site, and it really is too big of a contrast. It doesn’t matter that PayPal is well known and well used. It’s different than your site, and it can be a hindrance to a transaction because of that. And for $60 a year, you can use PayPal Payments Advanced,
and it will allow you to do your transactions with a simple looking credit card transaction form. Now we do not get involved in getting our clients an account with PayPal – this is up to them. It’s their financial institution, and we can’t do it. But we provide that link above and recommend they contact PayPal. We’ve heard mixed reviews in how effective their customer support can be with those uninitiated with payment gateways. But keep plugging on and it will be set up, usually by the next day. Once the PayPal account is set up, we do assist our clients in setting up their Wild Apricot account to work with their PayPal account.
Let me be clear: this isn’t a recommendation one way or the other on the quality of Payment Gateways. But if your organization needs one and doesn’t have one, and your financial institution allows PayPal’s Payments Advanced, you probably won’t find a lower cost to entry.