Payments for Developers

Terminology associated with modern payment systems can be confusing for Developers who are new to the industry. We’ve outlined the most important terms you need to know to familiarize yourself with the world of digital payments.

Introduction to Payments for developers

The eCommerce world can be challenging to navigate for those just getting started, and transferring money requires complicated FinTech solutions. Thankfully, Zota has got you covered.

What is Zota?

Zota is a marketplace for payments that supports online businesses in accessing a wide range of alternative payment methods to suit their specific needs and those of their customers. Implementing industry-standard fraud detection and risk mitigation tools, we offer a wide network of alternative payment methods to the most populated and remote regions in the world. Our breakthrough technology enables businesses to process transactions locally and globally. This helps them expand their global customer base, market reach, and brand recognition by accessing perfectly matched payment solutions, unlimited by location. 

What is a merchant?

Merchants are businesses that sell products or services online. Online merchants provide customers with a digital storefront where they can browse and purchase products or services. They typically offer a wide range of goods, including physical products like clothing, electronics, household items, and digital products. Some merchants provide services online, such as consultations, digital marketing, or financial services. 

To facilitate online transactions, merchants often integrate secure payment systems on their websites, such as Zota’s MetaGate. This enables customers to make purchases using credit cards, debit cards, electronic wallets, or other online payment methods. They may also provide various shipping and delivery options to ensure that customers receive their orders in a timely manner.

What is a merchant account?

A merchant account is an account facilitated by an acquiring bank that enables a company to accept credit and debit cards. Merchant accounts are subject to fees that are added via monthly billing, usually based on the percentage of transactions. Merchant accounts enable businesses to receive credit or debit card payments that they submit to their acquiring bank, and then back to the cardholder’s issuing bank. For customers using eWallets, the merchant’s details go directly to the wallet provider, and then to the payment processor.

What is a payment gateway?

eCommerce transactions exist in many major markets, and a payment gateway is required to enable these transactions, facilitating payments by transferring information between relevant entities. Zota provides a payment gateway service called the MetaGate.

A payment gateway acts as a mediator between the transactions that take place on the merchant’s website and the payment processor. This is required because online security standards (PCI DSS) prohibit the transmission of transaction information directly from a merchant website to a payment processor. The gateway technology allows internal teams, as well as merchants, to review their transaction activity, download reports, and can act as their financial back-end. One of the great features of our gateway is the cashier page, which is the front-end user interface (UI) that the end user checks out through. 

What is PCI-DSS compliance?

PCI DSS is the most stringent level of certification available in the payments industry, according to which Zota is certified at Level 1. Our gold-standard security tools and best practices allow us to maintain the highest levels of security for storing and transferring personal data from credit cards. 

What is a Payment Service Provider (PSP)?

A  payment service provider delivers financial services to merchants, allowing them to make sales online. PSPs like Zota work alongside acquiring banks to give merchants the ability to receive funds, with many built-in features such as multi-currency options, security, and customer support. 

Understanding Zota’s integration models  

We offer various ways to integrate with our MetaGate software. The most common is via our hosted PCI payment page (also known as the cashier page), which identifies the customer’s country of origin and offers the most relevant payment methods in their local currency and language. Alternatively, merchants who can be validated as PCI certified can integrate into the MetaGate in a direct model known as S2S (server-to-server). Zota has also developed its own plugins for Woocommerce, Magento, and PrestaShop, saving the hassle of integrating with our system by downloading a simple plugin.

Zota’s payment form integration flow

Our payment flow is quick and straightforward, carried out following the seven steps below. For more information, you can check out the Payment Form Integration.

Understanding different types of payment processors 

Processors are software system components responsible for interactions with the payment gateway interface of acquiring banks,  alternative payment methods, and other PSPs. There are two main types of payment processors: clearing processors and money changers (MCs).

Clearing processor 

Clearing processors include PSPs, financial institutions, and other payment channels. A processor provides technology allowing the authorization of transactions and, potentially, receiving transaction settlement information. In other words, processors handle the technical side of the merchant services (including the movement of funds). 

Money changers

Money changers collect, convert, and settle funds from local processing countries to Zota’s bank accounts. 

What is a cashier?

In the context of online payments, a cashier is the front page that a customer uses to purchase items or services online, also known as the checkout process. Customers can choose their preferred payment method from a list of options and are then redirected by our cashier to the relevant bank for payment approval. 

Zota’s cashier page relates to the gateway ecosystem in the following ways:

  1. It’s fully customizable to match the unique brand of each business
  2. Customers can choose their preferred payment method
  3. QR codes can also be used to complete a purchase
  4. There is the option for online bank wire
  5. We offer multilingual support

Learn more about our cashier page here!

What is an eWallet?

An eWallet is a payment service operated under an electronic money institution’s EMI license and performed from a mobile device or inside an app. Instead of paying with cash, cheque, or credit card, a consumer can use a mobile wallet to pay for a wide range of services or products. These payments are usually made through QR code technology. 

How does a transaction settlement work?

A transaction settlement is the process through which a merchant receives funds from a transaction carried out by a customer. Once a transaction has been initiated and approved by the various parties involved, the buyer’s issuing bank sends the funds to the merchant’s acquiring bank (via the bank’s payment processor). The acquiring bank will then withdraw the funds and deposit them in the merchant’s account.

What are processing currencies? 

Some businesses, especially those with an international reach, charge customers in more than one currency – this is known as multi-currency processing. Multi-currency payment processing allows businesses to accept credit/debit cards from customers in foreign currencies. Processing in a variety of billing currencies can pose challenges, which is why payment gateways like Zota are an asset to businesses.

What are settlement currencies? 

Settlement currencies are the main currency that a merchant gets paid in. Even though many merchants process various transactions in different currencies, their daily, weekly, or monthly settlements are always converted into the settlement currency selected by the merchant. 

What is an acquiring bank and how does it work?

An acquiring bank is a financial institution that is a member of a card network or scheme like Visa. Acquiring banks can accept transactions through card networks for merchants, which make connections between banks to verify transactions made by customers. Alongside the management of transactions, these banks take on the associated risks of fraudulent activity that can come through transactions. As such, acquiring banks charge various fees for their services.  

Understanding order types

Within Zota’s order lifecycle, there are various order types.

  • Sales transaction – end users can top up their balance when they deposit funds by performing a sales transaction, which occurs when they make a purchase online.
  • Payout funds are transferred from the processor to the end user.
  • Reversal (refund)  returns the specified amount to the cardholder’s account. Refunds can be either partial or up to the full amount of the transaction. 
  • Top-up funding processor balance due to insufficient funds.
  • Chargeback when an end user carries out a transaction with their credit card but then wishes to waive the charge due to an error with the order (such as a product not being delivered properly), they contact their credit card company to initiate a ‘chargeback.’

As more and more people around the world embrace cashless payment options, companies like Zota are perfectly placed to meet the increasing demand for digital payment solutions.  

For more information about Zota’s range of products and services, check out our website at

For more information about Zota’s MG Deposit and Payout API, visit our API Integration Page.

Businesses can now benefit from the broadest range of global and local payment solutions available on the market. This includes the added advantage of PCI hosted payments and multi-currency support.