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What is the Difference Between a CRM, Gateway, and Merchant Processor Portal?
What is the Difference Between a CRM, Gateway, and Merchant Processor Portal?

Learn about the different platforms involved in processing a transaction

Max Jones avatar
Written by Max Jones
Updated over a week ago

There are three different technology platforms that may be involved in processing your transactions:

  • Gateway

  • Merchant processor portal

  • Customer relationship management software (CRM)

The following is a brief overview of the different platforms. Check the remainder of the article for greater details about each platform.




Basic Description

Payment terminal for transactions

Online access for merchant account

Filing cabinet of customer information


Processes payments and refunds

Records merchant account activity

Stores relevant customer and order information

Stored Data

  • Card information

  • Billing address

  • Shipping address

  • Daily payment and dispute details

  • Customer contact information

  • Order details

  • Customer service notes






A gateway is a software or device-based service that receives, protects, and shares transaction information. It is the technology that makes it possible to accept your customers’ payments for the goods or services they buy.

If you want to process card-not-present transactions, you must have a gateway (the gateway is the equivalent of a point-of-sales machine that reads card-present transactions in a brick-and-mortar store). Think of the gateway like a cash register for electronic transactions.

A gateway provides many useful services:

  • Receives transaction information from your website and ensures its safe transmission to the payment processor through encryption and tokenization

  • Initiates the authorization process and returns responses

  • Calculates taxes

  • May apply fraud detection tools such as geolocation, transaction velocity analysis, blacklists, device fingerprinting, AVS, and more

  • Converts currencies

  • Processes refunds

Some examples of commonly-used gateways include:

  • NMI

  • Authorize.Net

  • Inovio

Some examples of the data that might be stored in your gateway include:

  • The customer’s card number (truncated)

  • The customer’s billing address

  • The order shipping address

  • Authorization code

  • AVS response

  • CVV response

Merchant Processor Portal

A merchant processor portal is a log of all transaction processing activity. It is the technology platform that reports the deposits and withdrawals that are made to your merchant account.

If you process credit or debit card transactions, you must have a merchant account (which will have a corresponding merchant processor portal). Think of your processor portal as an online bank statement.

Some examples of commonly-used merchant processor portals include:

  • Merlink

  • mReports

  • ISO Access

  • Payment XP

  • Netbanx

  • ClientLine (and Dispute Manager)

  • Mx Merchant (most commonly associated with Priority Payments, Synovus, and Capri Payments)

  • PaymentsHub (most commonly associated with Humboldt, North American Bancard, and Merchant Focus)

Note: Your processor will determine which portal will be associated with your account. Unlike your gateway and CRM, you don’t get to pick which technology you use.

Some examples of the data that might be stored in your processor portal include:

  • Merchant account information

  • Dates and amounts of your settled batches of transactions (sales and refunds)

  • Processing fees

  • Chargeback information

  • Monthly processing statements

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

Customer relationship management software stores information about your various contacts and customers. It keeps track of the interactions you’ve had with your customers.

Think of your CRM as a filing cabinet or Rolodex.

Typically (depending on how you choose to set things up), a CRM acts as an all-in-one warehouse for every single data point related to your customers and their interactions with your business. It funnels transaction information from your gateway into the platform and combines it with general customer and order information. And you can update your CRM with chargeback information you receive from your merchant processor portal.

While you have to have a gateway and merchant processor portal in order to accept transactions online, using a CRM is optional (but highly recommended!).

Some examples of commonly-used CRMs include:

  • Konnektive

  • (previously LimeLight)

  • Response

  • Sublytics

  • Stripe

  • Shopify

  • InfusionSoft

Some examples of the data that might be stored in your CRM include:

  • A customer’s name, email address, shipping address, billing address, phone number, etc.

  • A description of the products or services the customer purchased

  • Information about how the customer interacts with your business (pages visited, offers redeemed, etc.)

  • The marketing source or campaign that generated the sale

  • Related customer service notes

NOTE: Payment gateways may be contracted through the merchant account, provided in conjunction with other vendors’ services, or offered as a stand-alone product. In fact, some payment facilitators — like Shopify, Stripe, and PayPal — provide the functionality of all three platforms in one (gateway, processing portal, and CRM).

Even though a platform offers an all-in-one service, you might not use all the available functionality and instead mix-and-match platforms. For example, you might use Stripe as a gateway and Konnektive as your CRM.

In these situations, it’s important to note how each platform is being used so you can clearly define which information is stored where.

In order to receive the best services possible, you may want to share with Midigator certain data points that are stored in some or all of the platforms mentioned here. If that is necessary, the customer support team will walk you through the process of enabling access.

Please let our team know if you have questions about the different platforms or where relevant information is stored. You can contact us via chat or by emailing

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