Governmental bodies need a reliable way to accept payments for everything from traffic tickets to property taxes. A payments solution should be simple, seamless, and ease administrative burdens.
In addition, it’s crucial to meet the demands of citizens in terms of payment options, including accepting online payments and various payment methods that can be accepted from any device.
Integrated payments — a form of automation that ties payments to accounting — creates efficiencies for both constituents and government staff.
What is payment integration?
Integrated payments technology links accounting and payment processing. This link provides a path for transaction data to flow from point-of-capture directly into accounting or ERP software. Everything runs automatically and electronically. No direct involvement is needed in order for payments to post.
Some smaller governments and municipalities still hand-process credit card payments, eating up time and forcing citizens to pay only during office hours. Payment integration eliminates the need for manual accounting and data entry.
You’ll be able to accept card payments in-person, online, or over the phone, in conjunction with existing software like accounting systems and CRMs.
What are the benefits of integration?
The automation of integrated payments lends to smoother payments processing and accounting, which creates a ripple of additional benefits. Some of which include:
- Saving time: Payment information is automatically entered into accounting software, eliminating the need for employees to manually handle the books. This frees staff up to focus on other tasks, making better use of existing resources.
- Minimizing human error: The automation of integration virtually eliminates the otherwise inevitable human errors that could occur with manual accounting.
- Enhancing security: Cloud-based software means that payments data is stored on servers in off-site data centers, providing a greater level of security and reducing system administration costs.
Your payment processor might offer additional benefits like industry-leading security standards such as tokenization and end-to-end encryption, along with a live support team to assist with setup and continuing service.
What challenges are associated with integration?
While integrated payments technology creates many benefits, it’s important to understand potential challenges and discuss them with your payment processor. Consider the following:
- Older technology: A legacy system may not interact well with newer platforms, and smaller governmental bodies may not have the resources to solve this issue if it arises. Ask your payment processor about APIs that simplify integration and provide the flexibility to handle future growth.
- Fraud prevention: The main source of fraud occurs with card-not-present transactions, which corresponds to online payments. Ensure that your integrated payments solution makes use of high-level security practices and standards for protection.
- Low resources: Your staff might not be equipped to set up technology like payment integration. Fortunately, most payment processors have in-house teams to set up custom integration procedures and provide continued support throughout the partnership.
Any other concerns should be discussed with your payment processor before beginning the process of switching to integrated payments.
Payments integration can be complex to set up, but your payment processor can provide assistance to get your solution up and running. However, know that it could take some time in development. The process requires meticulous accuracy and testing to ensure everything is working as it should before being launched to the public.
While integration methods may vary, you can expect it to go something like this:
- Ensure that all software you intend to use is compatible
- Review API documentation and requirements.
- Create a plan with your payment processor
- Use a sandbox environment to determine what functionality you want
- The payment solution goes into development
- Test the solution thoroughly before launching
- Push the solution live
- Address any pain points or desired changes with your payment processor
Though patience is required during this process, operations will be vastly improved once the solution goes into effect. Both staff and citizens will benefit from the functionality of a modern integrated payments solution.