A rising trend among software companies is to harness costs by scaling down the number of payment processors and payment gateways they support in their platform. They have discovered that too many integrations result in an unwieldy environment that drains both resource time and budget dollars. But, if you’re downsizing your integrations, how do you know which is the best integrated payment processor for your business? Should you get rid of all your current integrations and start fresh with a new partner? Is there a list of the top providers that can help?
First of all, simply compiling a list of the Top 10 Payment Processors wouldn’t really help you find the best for your business. The word “Top” is just too vague. Top at what? Number of customers? Customer retention? Low cost? The list of potential “tops” can be endless.
The better way of getting at the best integrated payments processor is to compile a list of the top characteristics that make a provider “the best.” Then, you can compare this list with the processors you currently work with and others you are considering. As a result, you’ll land on the best integrated payment processor for your business.
Payments represent a huge opportunity for a software provider’s business. Thus, a plug-and-play solution is not typically offered by the best integrated payment processors. From creating revenue to building customer loyalty to differentiating in the marketplace, integrated payments should be approached strategically. The best integrated payment processor recognizes that and leads you down a path that re-envisions your payment environment and customer experience.
Too often, there are only two seats at the table when an integrated payment program is developed – the software provider’s and the payment provider’s. As a result, customers often become an afterthought.
Sure, any payment processor worth their weight will make sure an integrated program accommodates the needs of customers. That’s table stakes for any integrated payment solution.
The best integrated payment processor invites your customers to the table to also understand what they will need to transition their payments. This may include things like the conversion of tokenization for mobile wallets and moving data from the existing system to the new one.
It’s not uncommon for customers to think that transitioning to a new provider is too much work. Consequently, they decline to convert – even if it means remaining in an unsatisfactory payment relationship. Having the best integrated payment processor isn’t really helpful if your customers do not board with your new partner.
2020 was a banner year for change – in particular, changes in customer preferences and methods of engagement. None of us could have predicted the rapid acceleration of change that resulted from the pandemic. But, consumer trends and advancements in technology were already on the radar screen of forward-thinking payment processors. As a result, the best payment processors were not caught off-guard when usage began to accelerate.
A good example of this is the rapid adoption of contactless payment methods. Mastercard reported an increase of 40% in the first quarter of 2020 alone. Contactless was growing prior to this year. Forward-thinking integrated payment processors were aware this and had already been preparing their software customers to support it. Software providers that hadn’t considered contactless methods were caught off-guard. Hence, a little bit of scrambling has been happening behind-the-scenes to enable the demand.
The best payment processor will help you create an integrated payment solution that meets today’s needs and prepares you for tomorrow’s.
When you integrate payments in your software platform, you’re turning your customers over to a third-party for billing, service, and support. It’s a good idea to know that party’s track record before you introduce your customers into the relationship.
If your payment processor overcharges them, deprioritizes their phone calls, or delivers mediocre support, you’re risking those customer relationships. Poor service is a direct reflection on you – whether you directly delivered it or not. You’re the one that chose the payment provider, so the ultimate responsibility for customer payment satisfaction falls on your shoulders.
The best integrated payment processor will have a customer retention rate of 90 percent, at a minimum. If current customers are sticking around, they must be doing something right.
Lastly, yet most importantly, the best payment processor does not consider themselves as just a payment processor. The main focus of a payment processor is pretty much just that – processing payments. There are hundreds of them out there, and most of them are probably pretty similar. But if you’re looking for the best, turn your attention to a merchant services provider.
A great merchant services provider won’t just hand you an API and say good-bye. No, the good ones actually partner with you and become an extension of your business. They will provide the guidance you need to deliver a strategic, well thought-out integrated payments program that is best. Best for you. And certainly best for your customers.
This includes expertise in integrations, hardware, compliance, and security. A solid merchant services provider is a partner that pushes up the sleeves and works with you rather than simply a vendor that works for you. Among the services are:
So there you have it – five traits of the best integrated payment processor (or rather, integrated merchant services partner!) If you’re in search of the best partner for your payment program, shoot me an email. I’ve been in the business for a lot of years, and I can help point you in the right direction.