E-commerce Payment Processing

Custom E-commerce Payment Processing vs. Third-party Providers

If you have an online sales component to your business, then there are two main ways of managing your e-commerce: either by linking to a third-party site, such as PayPal, to facilitate transactions, or having developers create a custom payment processing system within your website itself.

Different businesses have different needs. A smaller company may choose the route of basic product listings and a simple PayPal checkout—this puts the financial dealings in a third-party’s hands. Other businesses may have more complex needs, which require a more elaborate storefront.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using a customized onsite payment system as it compares to a third-party link.

Pros of custom e-commerce solutions

Enhanced Functionality and Design

Whenever you have something custom designed, you have the opportunity to tailor it to the precise functionality and look that you want. A customized payment processing systems gives you, the merchant, the ability to update products, pricing, shipping, users, taxes, orders and invoices/receipts—all within Drupal. You have complete control without the hassle of having to make updates or changes through an intermediary. Custom designing also gives you the opportunity to build in extra features, such as programs to conduct your own analytics. You also have the freedom to present your payment system however you please since it is on your own site. You control what the user experience will be and the appearance of the checkout.

Control over Support

A customized onsite payment system, such as a Beanstream merchant account, allows for better control over your transactions and better support should there be an issue with a client’s credit card or a payment dispute. Resolution to any of these problems is going to be much smoother when payments are handled onsite, as you can deal directly with your bank, the credit card company, or the customer, rather than battling it out with the third party and being at their mercy. Direct communications with the relevant parties can also expedite the resolution and give you some authority in the outcome. In contrast, some third parties may lock your account down if there is any dispute, negatively impacting your bottom line and hindering other transactions.

Integration of Business Processes

When your e-commerce system is onsite, user accounts and orders are managed within Drupal. Having your payment processing system contained within Drupal helps you streamline your business and integrate and control all of its facets. A bonus of this system it that your hosting with Drupal is already covered for your site, so you will avoid having to pay extraneous/separate monthly merchant hosting fees. Integrating the payment processing with your website allows you to keep the customers onsite and never redirect them to third-parties. This leads into the next pro:

Traffic Retention

If your site contains within it a customized payment processing system, your customers will remain onsite for the entirety of the purchasing process. The fact that the customers are never redirected means extended opportunities for them to browse, which could increase the chance that they will view and purchase additional products. Moreover, keeping customers onsite longer and clicking through to more of your web pages (such as a checkout page) can help your traffic metrics with Google.


Many users dislike being redirected to other sites or have preferences or biases regarding third-party pay processing systems. Redirecting customers to PayPal may give the appearance that your business is a “mom and pop” operation; where as having your own payment system allows you to present a more professional image and gives you full control over customer experience, so you can ensure a positive buying experience for your customers.

Cons of custom e-commerce solutions

Expense Upfront

Initially, it will be more expensive to develop a customized onsite payment processing system. Your cost is front-loaded with this option. That said, third-party sites usually charge fees on a monthly basis, making the cost ongoing, so over the years you could easily pay the same, if not more for a third-party as you would for an onsite system.