What Is a Cryptocurrency Payment Gateway?

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 recieve 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 required. It's perfectly acceptable to use your personal wallet to accept cryptocurrency payments; however, gateways take the extra work of exchanging cryptcurrency 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.

How Does a Cryptocurrency Payment Gateway Work?

Payment gateways are companies taking on the perceived risk of cryptocurrency payments by using their wallet(s) to facilitate transactions between merchants and their customers.

Payment Flow

In terms of steps, the following workflow gets executed:

  1. Your customer opts to make payment in cryptocurrency at checkout (in-store, on the web, or in-app).
  2. They pay you an amount equal to the digital currency's fair market value at the time of the transaction.
  3. The cryptocurrency payment service instantly converts the payment into the currency you choose.
  4. 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.

Be sure to check your country's cryptocurrency regulations before setting up an account with a gateway. These gateways can operate from anywhere in the world, and many countries are developing new laws regarding digital currency use.

Fees

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 computional 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 and Disadvantages of Payment Gateways

By nature, cryptocurrency is designed to be decentralized and anonymous. The system makes it easy for two parties to make an exchange. However, some merchants might not be comfortable accepting payment in digital currency; they might not understand how any of it works or be skeptical about the system.

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.

Advantages

  • 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.

Disadvantages

  • 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.

Final Thoughts on Cryptocurrency Gateways

Removing third parties from financial transactions is one of the fundamental tenets behind cryptocurrency. While this sounds great to some that embrace change and understand it, others might not accept it. Cryptocurrency is a new concept, and it is hard to understand in a world where exchangeable value has always been placed on tangible assets. Only recently have developed countries moved to a financial model where most of their transactions are credit and debit based, where it is possible never to exchange physical money.

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.

How Do I Accept Payments With Cryptocurrency?

You can accept payments with a cryptocurrency wallet. Many are free to use; however, if you want to accept cryptocurrency as payment but don't have the time to put into learning about it, a cryptocurrency payment gateway can help you accept cryptocurrency payments.

Which Payment Gateway Is Best for Cryptocurrency?

There are many to choose from. It's best to compare them to see which fit your needs the most. Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange based in the U.S.—and regulated by the government—has a payment service called Coinbase Commerce.

What Is a Cryptocurrrency Payment?

A cryptocurrency payment is a payment made using any cryptocurrencies accepted by merchants or individuals for a product or service.

Article Sources

Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy. "Frequently Asked Questions." Accessed Jan. 12, 2022.

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