Payment Gateways - How to choose one that works best for your preschool & daycare payment processing

Mukta Balsara

Mukta Balsara

Published 6th Jan 2023

Preschools and childcare centers are increasingly integrating payment gateways into their billing software. This allows them to accept multiple online payment methods and process them securely.

 Online banking is one of the world’s most complex systems, yet it carries out thousands of transactions per second. How does this happen? Short answer – Payment Gateways. A long answer follows. 

 You may jump to our recommendations for payment gateways that work best with your preschools and childcare payment processing software, or just follow on to understand what a payment gateway does and why your business needs to set it up now.

Table of Contents

How Do Payment Gateways Work?

Payment Gateways act as a middleman between a payment service provider, the issuing bank, and the merchant’s payment acquiring bank.

The details of online payment (card, wallet, internet banking) initiated on a merchant’s website are first collected and stored securely on the servers of Payment Gateway software. The software verifies the transaction details, for example, the validity of the card, balance, etc, and forwards the transaction data to the issuing bank for approval. 

Once approved by the issuing bank, the payment gateway sends the transaction status back to the merchant’s website.

Why Does A Childcare Payment Processing System Need a Payment Gateway After all?

Gone are the days when parents or students lined up at the school administrator’s office to hand out a Demand Draft or a cheque. Your customers are used to instant payments and refunds. 

A robust and versatile Childcare billing and payment processing software is effective in handling today’s fast-paced world, payment surges, transaction failures, instant receipts, and financial reporting. 

You run the risk of losing customers if you fail to demonstrate that your organization is agile enough to adopt modern technology to simplify processes, especially when it comes to payment processing.

This is why you need it:

  • Safe and secure payment processing: Secure your online transactions and customer data using PCI-DSS-compliant payment gateway
  • Faster payments and ease of use: Given that online payment is the way forward, you do not have to get into the technicality of setting up infrastructure for online payment processing.
  • Better reporting: Generates useful, customizable reports around success rate, performance across platforms and devices, etc. (A screenshot of illumine report)
  • Enhanced customer experience: With the right payment gateway, you can support a global customer base and offer multiple preferred payment modes.

Top 7 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Payment Gateway For Your Childcare Billing Software

You know how it works. You know you need it. But there are numerous payment gateways out there, promising wonderful things. How do you decide which one is apt for your institute? 

People behind Illumine – a childcare management software – have had numerous interactions with diverse customers across the globe. They have recorded some key factors that are important for the customers while setting up a payment system for their preschool/daycare center.

Below are a few major factors that you need to consider before you decide.

Payment Gateway Charges

This is a tricky one. Do you go for the cheapest? If it was that obvious, the many payment gateways wouldn’t have existed. It’s a tradeoff between your needs and your budget. Cost includes cost per transaction which commonly ranges between 2% to 3%, setup cost, and the cost for value-add features it offers, like – security, low settlement time, payment mode (UPI, Wallets, Cards), etc. Go for a payment gateway that offers flexible pricing strategies that suit your organization.


It’s the top job of a Payment Gateway – to ensure the secure transfer of sensitive data between the merchant’s website and the acquiring bank. You need to ask your payment gateway provider if they are compliant with the necessary data security standards (PCI DSS is the most prominent) and regional laws.

Support for different payment modes

A payment gateway should be able to support payment modes that your customers are more likely to use – credit cards, debit cards, quick and free UPI payments, ACH for recurring payments, digital wallets, bank transfers, etc.

Ease of integration with your Childcare Billing Software

Not all businesses have a hardcore technology team. Whether you opt for hosted gateways or API-driven integrated gateways, it should offer well-laid-out documentation. A good payment gateway also offers customizable and data-rich reports that deliver valuable insights about success rates, performance across platforms, preferred payment modes, payment collection, and more.

Transaction Success Rate (TSR)

Transaction failures may happen majorly at one of the following levels – in the checkout flow of the website (incorrect OTP, delayed input, etc), due to a technical interruption at the payment gateway level, or at the level of the bank/card network. 


A payment gateway can play an important role in increasing the TSR by handling such failures gracefully and creating a favorable user experience. Compare TSR for different payment gateways or even try A/B testing with multiple gateways to determine which one works best for your business. 

User experience and easy checkout

Payment gateways can enrich users’ checkout experience. An API-driven integration allows for customizations to match the checkout workflow with your site’s look and feel. A good payment gateway has a high capacity for storing your payment gateway should have a high storage capacity for saved cards, bank accounts, etc. Your customers are excused from the tedious task of entering never-ending digits every time they transact. The transaction time reduces, thus improving the TSR.

Customer support

How your payment gateway provider supports your queries and grievances, both pre and post-sale, determine how your overall experience will be. Based on your business needs you could opt for Payment gateways that offer live customer support, 24X7 assistance, or even a quick automated bot interaction.

Here’s a list of Payment Gateways recommended for your Childcare Center

Key Takeaways

  • A payment gateway that supports multiple preferred payment modes and integrates easily with your childcare payment processing system is your best bet to successful transactions. 
  • Setting up multiple payment gateways on your website will offer you a fallback mechanism in case of transaction failure happening due to technical issues with the card scheme or the issuing bank network.

Explore Illumine for smart and easy childcare billing and payments solution

Illumine offers customizable billing and payment software specially designed for preschools and childcare centers. It easily integrates with some of the widely used payment gateways across different geographies – Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa.

Talk to an Illumine expert today, to know more about payment gateway integrations and to learn how Illumine can help your childcare business enhance its operational rigor and transform itself into a successful organization that teachers and parents love.

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