Integrated Payment Solutions 101

Chances are your business accepts a variety of payments, but how much do you really know about payments technology and what it can offer? It’s a complex industry, and it can be particularly tough to grasp for smaller businesses without dedicated resources.

But there’s good news! Finding the right payment processor to assist you with payments integration makes the job so much easier. And it helps level the playing field so smaller merchants can keep up with the competition and continue meeting customer expectations.

With integrated payments, you can say goodbye to manual accounting and the resulting vulnerabilities. Instead, you can look forward to simpler payments solutions that work directly with your existing software and systems.

Sounds pretty cool, right? In this blog, we’ll go over the basics of integrated payments so you can walk away with a greater understanding of how this technology can benefit your business.

Payments integration explained

Simply put, payments integration weaves a link between accounting and payment processing. This allows transaction data to automatically, electronically flow from the point-of-capture directly into an ERP system or other accounting software. After integration is implemented, payments from any source — online, in-person, or over the phone — will post without the need for direct involvement.

For example, say you want to integrate payments into an order management system. When all is said and done, you can convert your systems into a single solution that accepts orders, packs shipments, updates inventory, and handles accounting.

This automated process eliminates the need for paper invoices and manually handling accounts receivable. Everything will run smoothly all on its own, creating a seamless experience for your business and its customers.

Integrating a payment gateway

Take note that if you plan to make sales or accept payments online, you’ll need to integrate a payment gateway along with the rest of your payments solution.

A payment gateway acts as an intermediary between the buyer and seller by collecting customer data, encrypting it, and securely transmitting it to a merchant’s payment processor. Essentially, a payment gateway is the backbone of an eCommerce business.

Most processors that offer all-in-one solutions can provide you with a payment gateway, so your options are plentiful. But there are a few features you should look for in a payments gateway, such as:

  • Scalability to facilitate future growth
  • Options to accept multiple payment methods, and multi-currency support if you plan to conduct international business
  • Industry-leading security technologies like tokenization and end-to-end encryption
  • Responsive website that displays well on a variety of mobile devices

Payment gateways come in two primary formats. Customers can either be redirected to a (embedded or offsite) hosted payments page to complete transactions, or an integrated payment gateway can be developed directly into your existing site.

Your payment processor can help you select the right option based on your business’ budget and needs. And with a choice made, you can work with your processor to develop an integration plan.

Benefits of payments integration

By now, integrated payments probably sound pretty cool. But how can this technology benefit your business, and what makes it a smart investment? Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Payment automation is a great way to save time and refocus on other important tasks
  • A simplified payments process means less time spent training new employees
  • Faster accounting processes lead to getting paid on time and improve cash flow
  • The electronic transfer of data helps minimize human accounting errors
  • Cloud-based software keeps data safe in off-site servers, providing greater security

The right integrated payments solution will be fully compatible with your existing software, systems, and website. Finding a payment processor that offers free in-house customer support can come in handy later on when perhaps you might hit a roadblock that you need help overcoming.

Challenges of payments integration

Upgrading to newer technology often proves worthwhile in the long run, but the process is not without some initial challenges and growing pains. Some things you may experience during the course of implementation include:

  • An older legacy system may not interact well with newer technology
  • It may take some time to get security protocols up to PCI standards
  • You may lack the staff and developmental resources to work on integration efforts

Fortunately, many potential challenges can be addressed with the help of your payment processor. Their development team should be able to set up a custom integration procedure — like creating specialized APIs — along with providing continued support throughout the course of your partnership.

Are you ready for integrated payments?

If you’re ready to take the leap and implement payment integration, the first step is finding the right payment processor to be your partner. From selecting the features of your solution set to enjoying a seamless payments experience, it’s a complex process that can take some time and extra effort before it’s ready to roll out.

But the journey as just as important as the destination. Your patience is likely to be rewarded with improved operations, reliable technology, and a better customer experience. Sounds like a win-win for both your business and customers!

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