Ecommerce Payment Gateway Primer

Plug 'n Pay

Plug 'n Pay attempts to take the gateway to the next level by positioning their services as a complete business management system. Indeed, they do have many service services available to compliment their basic gateway service.


Fraud Prevention
Plug 'n Pay offers two different levels of Fraud Protection. The first level is called FraudTrak. It offers a feature called Negative Database. This is an in-house database of known fraudulent customers and credit card numbers. As plug 'n Pay members report violators the database continues to grow.

The second level is called FraudTrak2. It offers more advanced features for reducing fraud. Features include:

eCheck Processing
Plug 'n Pay's eCheck processing handled by a third party. This means that billing is separate from your regular billing through Plug 'n Pay. However, all eCheck reporting is done through the Plug 'n Pay control panel which makes organizing your online sales easier.

Recurring Billing
Recurring billing is limited. Recurring billing accounts can only be set up manually and only for monthly increments. Managing accounts is easy to do through the recurring billing interface.

Membership Management
Membership management takes recurring to the next level. This feature allows you to offer a member's only section to your website, manage the access levels, password protect it, manage those passwords, manage the length of subscriptions, and automatically create a recurring billing account. It also includes monitoring of the content within your members' area. If someone is determined to be downloading an excessive amount of content you will be notified. Security measures are in place as well such as IP monitoring to prevent users from sharing accounts.

Digital Downloads
Managing digital downloads is a headache for ebook authors. How do you provide a link to your product without having your customers email it to everyone they know? How do you verify that your customer did actually download the entire ebook? With Digital Download Delivery of course! With Digital Download Delivery you get:

Affiliate Management
Plug 'n Pays affiliate management tool enables merchants to signup and manage a network of affiliates. The tools offered to make managing your affiliates easier include:

Coupon Management
An interesting feature offered by Plug 'n Pay is the ability to issue and track coupons. You determine the offer you want to make and when your customer makes a purchase they enter the code you have supplied and your special offer is redeemed right then and there. The Plug 'n Pay system knows the discount you have offered and will apply it when your customer submits their order. You can run multiple promotions simultaneously and set an expiration date just like a paper coupon.

Shopping Cart
If you are having difficulty finding a shopping cart that supports Plug 'n Pay (which isn't likely since the largest shopping cart providers support Plug 'n Pay either by default or with a plug in) then simply use Plug 'n Pay's shopping cart. The shopping cart is hosted by Plug 'n Pay so no SSL certificate is needed plus the gateway is automatically integrated into the shopping cart. You can even customize the HTML template to have the shopping cart more closely match your website.

QuickBooks Integration
As any QuickBooks user can tell you getting data from your online sales into QuickBooks is quite a chore. Unless you establish a merchant account through QuickBooks you are forced to manually enter your daily sales one at a time. That is unless you use the Plug 'n Pay gateway. It offers an automated process to import your sales directly into QuickBooks as either Invoices or Cash Sale receipts.

Choice of APIs
Just like the gateway Plug 'n Pay gives you a choice of integration methods. You can choose to the simple WebXpress HTML method which utilizes a form on the Plug 'n Pay server so you don't need to worry about installing your own SSL or communicating with their gateway. Or you can use their API which allows you complete control over the checkout process. You can switch back and forth between both methods at any time and every feature available through the API is also available through WebXpress HTML.

Not really a feature per sé but still worth noting. Plug 'n Pay holds merchant training every Monday through Friday to teach new merchants how to integrate their new gateway into their website. They go through it step-by-step from beginning to end. Best of all, they do it for free.


The Plug 'n Pay gateway can be purchased directly through Plug 'n Pay or from an authorized reseller. The pricing below will cover Plug 'n Pay's direct pricing. Except where noted it is safe to assume that reseller pricing will be equal or higher.

Setup Fee
To start using Plug 'n Pay you must first pay a $295 set up fee. Some resellers do have lower pricing for this. It can cost anywhere from $50 - $295 to sign up through a reseller.

Monthly Fee
On a monthly basis it costs $20 to maintain the gateway which is on par with other providers.

Transaction Fee
Each transaction processed through the gateway costs10˘. However, the first 200 transactions are free.

Fraud Prevention
Plug 'n Pay's basic FraudTrak fraud prevention is free and included with their basic service. FraudTrak2 is optional and costs $195 to set-up, an additional $15 per month, plus 15˘ per transaction.

Digital Downloads
The handy digital download feature is as pricy as it is effective. It costs $490 to set up and 25˘ per transaction although the first 100 transactions are included. However, there is a $25 monthly minimum which means if you don't incur at least $25 in transaction fees through their recurring billing feature they will charge you up to $25 to make up the difference their monthly minimum and your actual incurred fees.

Recurring Billing
Automatic recurring billing is costs a whopping $590 to set up, $30 monthly minimum, and 30˘ per transaction. However the first 100 transactions included and there is no monthly fee.

Membership Management
Plug 'n Pay continue their theme of high set up fees rolling by charging a $690 set up fee, $35 monthly minimum, 35˘ per transaction (first 100 transactions included)

eCheck Processing
To accept online checks through Plug 'n Pay it will cost $145.00 up front plus $12.50 per month. They will also take a small percentage of the checks value as well. Your cost will be 1.50% of the face value of the check plus a 45˘ transaction fee. Returned checks cost $4.00.

Affiliate Management
To manage your affiliates you will incur a $195 set-up plus an additional $25 per month.

Coupon Management
To offer coupons to your visitors you will incur a $195 set-up plus an additional $20 per month.

Shopping Cart
To use the Plug 'n Pay shopping cart it will cost an additional $15 per month. However, some resellers are not charged for setting up their merchants with the shopping cart and they may pass that savings on to you.


The sheer number of available services offered through Plug 'n Pay is astonishing. With features such as digital download management, membership management, and affiliate management built in to its system it's easy for merchants to find a tool that will benefit their business. There's no need to use a third party and because it's already integrated into the gateway no extra work is required to implement the feature into your store.

Just like, Plug 'n Pay gives merchants two ways to integrate their gateway. You can choose from their easy-to-implement WebXpress HTML or more advanced API. Either way you get the same feature set and availability of services and can switch to either implementation at any time.


Although Plug 'n Pay offers a robust selection of services they come at a steep cost. Their digital download service is exactly what ebook authors need to manage their sales and reduce theft. Unfortunately the $490 setup fee is usually cost prohibitive. The $590 setup fee for the setup recurring billing eliminates any benefit the service might have offered. Although the other services average $200 to establish, combined with the $295 setup fee Plug 'n Pay charges to establish their gateway, a merchant is looking at spending at least $500 before they even accept one credit card.