Ah, the payment processor question! One of those classic ecommerce decisions that everyone must make once they reach a certain age in their life. Almost as classic as the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question you must also deal with — and a question with almost-as-surprisingly interesting consequences, for the payment processor doth make-or-break the ecommerce system. Among other variables that make or break it, of course.
Back in the day, in the salad days of ecommerce, it was a very straightforward question: to allow users of your ecommerce site to pay with a credit card, your ecommerce system needed to deal with, more or less, either the frustration of the 711-ton gorilla of Authorize.net or the relative ease of that quirky young startup Paypal, and there weren’t many other options. Then Braintree came (then Paypal bought it!), and a few years later Stripe burst on the scene and forced modernization upon what was quickly becoming a set of fossilized dinosaurs, and since then, a sleepy market has woken up, with a whole host of payment gateways to choose from.
For Salesforce Commerce Cloud, not all options are available. Stripe, the beloved star of Silicon Valley, announces on their site that their Salesforce Commerce Cloud cartridge is “coming soon”. (We know how to translate that: “coming soon” usually means “priority #74,659” and thus will be available sometime around May 6th, 2022, at the very earliest. Don’t hold your breath; at least, I’m not.
But there are three leading options for Salesforce that are worth reviewing: Adyen, Cybersource, and Authorize.net. Let’s look at each one.
Adyen, we’ll say it upfront, is our preferred one. Having done more Salesforce Commerce Cloud consulting, strategy & development than you can count on the hands and toes of a room full of people eating pizza, satisfies our key criteria more so than the alternatives.
As the young, new company in the neighborhood, they have a modern tech stack. They’ve gotten the user experience right. But that’s just the first part: in our experience, customer service matters a lot because there are often bumps and you need to deal with support to iron out all the wrinkles — and their customer service is fast, friendly, knowledgeable, and probably based in Ohio. They have global reach as well.
Specifically, they get a few details really right. They integrate themselves with a bunch of partners, like Apple Pay and Venmo — so using Adyen, you already get these payment methods, and you don’t need to do separate integrations.
The cream on top of the Adyen cake, however, is their fraud detection workflow. Best in class and, above that, not a separate fraud system you need to purchase and integrate — but already included.
Our second favorite option is Cybersource. While Cybersource is also fantastic, they’re the one that’s always a bit behind Adyen, who is setting the lead. A bit like how Walmart.com is always just a bit behind Amazon.com in implementing each feature or benefit, or how Bing tends to trail Google search’s lead. Almost as good, just a bit delayed.
Cybersource’s core presence is in North America, and similar to Adyen, it has both fraud detection, and certain integrations with other payment platforms. But both are more limited than Adyen’s.
Their customer service is also available; it just tends to be a bit slower and without some of the winning over-the-top charm of Adyen’s.
The third major player to consider is Authorize.net, which does have a few key points going for it: it’s the huge giant that is the choice of the huge corporations. Back in the day, there was a business saying, “No one was fired for choosing IBM”. We could also say, “No one was fired for choosing Authorize.net”. They can, potentially, do everything and anything, and their power and sophistication should not be under-rated.
But there are a few key points to keep in mind, in regards to using Authorize.net for Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
The first is that they don’t have an out-of-the-box integration with Authorize.net ready to go. This is a very important point, and it means that you need your Salesforce Commerce Cloud development team or agency do a custom integration each time. Not only is that slower and more expensive, but it opens up more opportunities for things to break and go wrong.
But beyond that, there are a bunch of other challenges with Authorize.net, most of which stem from their legacy as the long-time giant. Their customer service can often be challenging. (Here, we like to joke that, on their website, they over-emphasize their customer service precisely because they know this is their weakness.)
This implies a question: why would any Salesforce Commerce Cloud user choose to use Authorize.net? The answer is, as we say in software development lingo: “path dependence”. That is, where you are and where you go depends on where you came from. Many Salesforce Commerce Cloud users come to it from Magento, where lots of companies use Authorize.net — and if you’re already set up as a payment processing partner with them, it may be easier to have developers do an integration as compared to moving your whole reporting and payment infrastructure to a new system. Particularly if you’re a mid-sized or large company, where the hassles of doing so grow exponentially with size.
What this boils down to is this: United Virtualities recommends Authorize.net really only when you’ve already been using it, and the cost of moving is too high. If you’re doing a new Salesforce Commerce Cloud install, we’d definitely recommend, first, Adyen, and then in second place, Cybersource.