Large enterprise-level companies have to take extra care when selecting a payments processing partner. A processor that charges exorbitant fees can wind up costing you millions in both processing fees and equipment costs. Yet working with a processor simply because they offer the lowest fees could mean that you don’t have the right level of support when you need assistance.
Choosing a payments partner doesn’t mean you have to become an expert in all things payments processing, but you should familiarize yourself with the industry and dig into what makes a payment processor the right fit.
The right payments processor can be a beneficial partner. So how do you select the right processor? The following sections discuss factors you should consider when making a decision about a payments processor.
Pricing of Services
Every payment processor has a different pricing structure, and these differences can wildly affect your business’ bank account. Getting information on pricing upfront is a good way to narrow down a short list of payments processors. Some of the questions you might want to ask are:
- Is there a setup fee, or some other one-time upfront cost?
- Are there monthly or annual service fees?
- Can you rent or lease equipment, and for how much?
- Are you required to show quarterly or annual proof of PCI compliance?
- What are the associated transaction fees?
Transaction fees are the bread-and-butter for payment processors, yet some processors are willing to negotiate rates. These fees can be calculated as:
- A percentage of each transaction
- A flat fee charged per transaction
- A combination of transaction percentage and flat fee
Transaction fees can mean very different things for various types of business. For instance, a business that has fewer, yet high-ticket transactions — like car dealerships or kitchen appliance retailers — could easily wind up paying very large percentage-based fees. A business with a higher volume of low-ticket transactions — like a coffee shop or a convenience store — could similarly suffer from per-transaction flat fees.
Understanding how various fee structures affect your type of business can prove helpful when discussing pricing with a processor’s sales representatives. Our first example might benefit more from higher flat fees and lower percentage-based fees, while the opposite is true for our second example. It’s recommended that you consult with any financial professionals in your employ when making a decision of this nature.
Payments integration — linking payments with other financial systems, like accounting, inventory, analytics, and payroll — has become a priority for modern enterprise organizations. Yet there are numerous ways to accomplish this task, without one clear uniform solution.
It can be a complex process at the enterprise level, which requires some planning and decision making upfront. Before integration can begin, you must decide between two general approaches.
Use an all-in-one provider: This type of payments solution offers the easiest, quickest integration and the highest degree of top-down control. Having a single, consistent service provider for all your payment needs facilities training and reporting, along with many other technical aspects of business operations.
Though this type of system is easier to integrate and manage, there are some risks worth considering before taking the plunge. And it’s quite the leap. Replacing an entire system is a bigger, more costly project than changing a single part. Additionally, these systems may limit flexibility, which can impact various departments or locations that are looking for a more customized option.
Use separate custom solutions: Some organizations prefer to piecemeal together various solutions and integrate them with each other. In order to do this, you’ll need to first ensure which solutions are able to integrate with which. This is something in which your IT department can assist. If you go with this option, you might find that it’s simpler and quicker to replace part of the system (as opposed to the whole thing) if you decide it doesn’t work for the company after a trial period.
The risks here lie predominantly with the integration and management of several moving pieces. You’ll have to keep track of various support contacts, bills, tech specs, training manuals/videos, and more. You might save money with this option, but that’s because you’re paying for convenience with the previous option.
Regardless of the approach your company decides to take, you’ll want to work closely with support representatives and integration specialists to ensure that the job is conducted thoroughly, in a timely manner, and with minimal interruption.
Securing Your Payments
Data security is a complicated topic and let’s face it — unless you’re in network management, you probably don’t understand how it works. But that’s okay as long as you understand why it’s necessary.
Data breaches have been increasing in frequency and severity over the years, and experiencing one could be a nightmare for your business. (For more statistical information on data security, we invite you to download our free eBook called 4 Security Musts in Payment Processing.)
Securing your organization’s payments is critical for maintaining a good reputation and customer trust. You should be able to rely on your payment processor for assistance with data security, especially when it comes to acquiring PCI-compliant equipment. Today, many card readers and payment terminals encrypt data as it’s scanned in for safer transmission across the internet.
Payments software and online shopping carts tend to be more varied than mass produced hardware, and many payment processors will offer proprietary software options. You’ll want to speak with your payment processor representative to ensure that all aspects of your payments solutions — both hardware and software — are protected. This means transmitting data over a secure connection, encrypting data that travels externally and data that’s stored on your servers, replacing outdated hardware, and generally keeping up with PCI compliance regulations.
Fortunately, your payment processor — in partnership with your IT department — can help with many of these security needs. There is no blanket solution for security that guarantees complete protection, but you can take steps that minimize the risk of fraud and breaches. It starts with pinpointing potential areas of risk, and then working to secure each of them. It’s an effort that’s worth the time and resources to get right.
Finding a Payments Processor
Doing research and shopping around is a good way to handle any big decision. And with so many payment processors available, the decision can seem daunting. You can whittle down the list by finding a processor that offers the services your business needs, reading customer reviews, and speaking with sales representatives.
Speaking with sales reps can help properly align your expectations of what each processor can and cannot do for your business. From there, you can build a short list and start collecting pricing information. This allows you to select the more efficient, affordable option for your payments solutions.
Ready to dig a little deeper? You can begin your research by visiting the Forte site or calling our Sales team at 866-290-5400.