Adding payment acceptance to your software probably wasn’t an easy decision. After all, there are significant costs and customer experience implications tied to that decision. Deciding to integrate payments is only the beginning of the “tough calls.” There’s another decision right around the corner, and it’s just as important. That decision? Which of the hundreds of integrated payment partners in the industry should you choose for your software or choose to retain in your software?
Related Article: Five Things to Look for in an Integrated Payments Partner
Maybe you already have an integrated payments partner. Maybe you already have several integrated payment partners so you’re thinking there’s nothing in this article for you. I encourage you to read on though, because regardless of your payments status, there are four major myths about integrated payment partners that can wreak havoc on your budget, your reputation, and your customer satisfaction.
MYTH #1 – Giving Customers a Choice of Integrated Payment Partners is the Best Approach.
Like you, your customers probably know very little about payments. And, why would they? Their expertise lies in their business – just like yours lies in your software. This is why you want to be extra thoughtful and strategic on which partners you integrate.
Your integrated payment partner should be much more than a payment enabler, which is likely what your customers will choose for you. Your partner should be your guide to the future of payments. Someone who’s standing on the hilltop with a telescope and can see what’s ahead.
Payments are evolving faster than anyone could have imagined (think cryptocurrency as an example). Your payment capability runs a high risk of being outdated very quickly. The result is either 1) you constantly scramble to keep up with the changing needs of your customers. Or 2) you follow the lead of your payment partner and stay a step or two ahead of the evolution. This is why YOU need to select your payment partner, not your customer.
Myth Buster: If you currently support multiple integrations, consider shifting to a preferred integrated payment partner. A partner you have fully vetted and strategically selected to keep you ahead of the game and to deliver the level of service your customers deserve (See Myth #2).
MYTH #2 – All Integrated Payment Partners Will Treat My Customers Well.
Quality customer service is a huge issue we see all the time in the integrated payment world. Customers really don’t know who to call with issues or questions. Do they call their ISV? Or do they call the payment provider? Chances are, if it’s a payment issue, they should call your payment partner directly.
That can be a real challenge as the service of many payment providers has started to slide. They outsource their support function to a call center, off-shore facility, or online requests only, which leads to long hold times, no return calls, and needing to explain their issue to multiple service reps.
Payments are money, and money is critically important to your customers. They’ll put the issue in your lap when they feel like their problems aren’t getting resolved. Remember, poor service can be a poor reflection on you and your software.
Myth Buster: Never assume the playing field is level across integrated payment partners when it comes to servicing your customers. One result of the numerous acquisitions of payment providers over the past few years has been a decline in service. How can you determine whether or not your integrated payment partner will deliver superior service? Ask them about their customer retention rate. It should be north of 90 percent. Anything less is a red flag.
MYTH #3 – My Integrated Payment Partner Handles PCI Compliance for My Customers.
PCI compliance is kind of like flood insurance. You don’t think about it until you need it. More than half of US businesses are unprepared “for the day they need it.” There are several reasons companies remain non-compliant – they are unaware it’s required, don’t think a breach can happen to them, or the compliance process is so daunting they just give up. (There are over 300 controls in the certification process alone!)
This can be a costly decision that puts your customers’ data at risk. Plus, they will be charged a fee every month they remain non-compliant. And those fees can add up quickly. It’s no wonder many payment providers remain silent on the subject of PCI rather than proactively helping customers with the process. It’s more profitable for them. But that profit can come at a high cost to you and your customers. The average cost of a data breach is $36,000-$50,000. The impact on your reputation can be even greater.
Ask yourself two questions:
- How many of your customers are PCI compliant today?
- What is your financial risk if any of your customers has a data breach?
If you can’t answer those, your payment partner isn’t doing a very good job.
Myth Buster: There’s too much at stake to take for granted that your integrated payment partner has your customers’ PCI needs covered. If they’re not offering up ways to reduce your customers’ PCI scope or to help them with compliance certification, chances are they are putting their profits above your reputation and your customers’ well-being.
MYTH #4 – What My Integrated Payment Partner Charges My Customer Doesn’t Affect Me.
When you think about pricing for your customers, think two words: “cable company.” We all have been there. The enticement of low introductory rates that tend to creep their way up over time. This is a common occurrence in the cable industry. It is also a common occurrence among integrated payment partners.
The rates your customers are being charged DOES indeed affect you. How do you think your customers will feel about you if they find that your integrated payment partner is sticking them with creeping rates and hidden fees?
No doubt you want to keep your customers happy and ensure a superior experience at every touch point. You can’t do that if you can’t trust the pricing your payment partner is delivering.
Related article: Why Trust is the Top Must-Have
Myth Buster: Talk to your customers about pricing. Do they feel like they’re paying too much? Do they know what they’re getting for their money? Then talk to your integrated payments partner. What is their pricing model? Bundled rate? Cost-plus? You’re looking for transparency. If you’re provider dances around the subject, chances are they have something to hide.
One Final Thought
If you’re looking to integrate payments for the first time, here’s a great article written by the CEO of WrenchWay on how to vet potential partners. If you already have integrated payments, read the article anyway. It contains a great list of questions to ask your current payment partner and can help you determine whether you have a payment enabler or a payment guide.
When all is said and done, these are your customers. Your relationships. Your reputation. Don’t buy into the integrated payments partner myths that can damage any of those.