When it comes to selling your Moodle courses, pricing your courses is probably the biggest hurdle. But that’s something only you can decide.
Once you have that out of our way, you can look for an option to accept (and manage) student payments. This means- a way for your students to pay for your courses and then be enrolled in the course once the payment is made.
It is as simple as it sounds – for the student (or at least you want it to be that way).
For you, there’s some work involved.
You’ll have to:
pick a payment gateway,
set up payment options,
think of the purchase terms, handle cancellations, refunds, and buyer support!
But first, let’s get started with the basics.
What is a payment gateway?
In the sense of the term,
“A payment gateway is a merchant service provided by an e-commerce application service provider that authorizes credit card or direct payments processing for e-businesses, online retailers, bricks and clicks, or traditional brick and mortar.”
eCommerce jargon apart, a payment gateway is a portal that verifies payment information (credit card/ bank details) and processes it, to accept payments. It’s like the system where you swipe your card in a grocery story— just taken online.
A few payment gateways offer recurring payments to be set up or accept payments in instalments. But that’s as far as the options go.
Payment Gateways vs e-Commerce Platforms for Moodle
If you’re looking for more options, like running sale prices, a simplified approach to selling bundles, managing and offering coupons, automated course recommendations, you’ll want to go beyond simple payment gateways.
See, payment gateways come into play when the customer (student) in this case, comes to make the final payment. Discounts or course upsells are offered much before the final purchase is made.
Such options are offered as part of the e-commerce capabilities of a system. And Moodle has none. It’s not meant to. It’s not an e-commerce platform; it’s an e-learning platform.
For e-commerce capabilities, you’ll need an e-commerce platform along with a payment gateway.
Payment Gateways in a nutshell
To put it simply, with payment gateways you get:-
A platform to handle student payments
An option to handle one-time or recurring payments for a single purchase
A payment gateway is simple to set up (fewer settings)
A single payment gateway might not be able to process payments from certain countries
It’s easier to maintain
There aren’t many options to manage prices
E-commerce platforms explained
An e-commerce platform offers far more capabilities than a payment gateway. In fact, payment gateways are a part of the platform. You get options to:
Market, cross-sell, and upsell your courses
Complete management and control, of course, selling
There might be some learning involved (when it comes to using the system)
Several options to set sale prices, add coupons or offer discounts
Some maintenance effort is involved
Detailed reporting of purchases and customers
Lead generation possibilities
Support for several payment gateways
What are you looking for?
Whether you need a payment gateway or an e-commerce platform depends on your requirements and the scale of your business.
If you’re thinking…
“I’ve set up a PayPal account. I want students to be able to pay for my courses”
…and that’s about it. You most definitely need a payment gateway. And yes, PayPal is the most popular. But it’s worth taking a look at Stripe or Authorize.net too.
It helps to compare the list of currencies the payment gateway handles and the countries it supports, and transaction fees, of course.
But, in addition to the above, if you’re thinking…
“I want to provide students with some options while making the purchase. And maybe add discounts on prices, not always, sometimes. Like, run a sale or something.”
…you need an e-commerce platform.
Might not be as simple a requirement. But for complete control over the purchase process and to go beyond payments and nurture a lead (prospective student), you’ll need an e-commerce platform.