+ 5 considerations for choosing a payment processor.

5 considerations for choosing a payment processor.

When you make the decision to partner with a top-of-the-line payment processing company, you are giving your business an invaluable gift. It goes far beyond gaining the ability to accept credit card and ACH payments. In fact, a payment processor can help to ensure that you receive your payments safely and quickly every time. For that reason, it makes sense to invest your time and energy into finding the vendor that can best meet your business’s unique needs and help you to rise above your competitors.

1. Compliance with PCI standards.

Recognizing that data security was vitally important for both customers and merchants alike in this digital era, the major credit card companies collaborated to create a unified set of requirements. To that end, the Payment Card Industry Security Council annually updates a set of data security standards designed specifically to help companies like yours in preventing, detecting, and responding to the wide array of security incidents that could jeopardize the safety of your sensitive customer data. In order to remain compliant with the comprehensive set of standards that this council has set, businesses of all sizes may be required to complete an annual Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). At a minimum, the payment processing vendor that you choose should be able to demonstrate compliance with all of the data security standards set forth by the Payment Card Industry, commonly known by the acronym PCI DSS. Many of these vendors are also willing to assist the businesses they serve in completing this important assessment tool, so be sure to ask if this is a service your prospective processor is willing to provide.

2. Payment security.

No doubt, customers appreciate and enjoy the convenience of being able to pay for your goods and services anywhere and at any time. However, a steady stream of cybercriminals is constantly hovering around the perimeter of your networks in hopes that they will be able to find a chink in your armor and thereby gain access to the valuable identity information they seek. As a merchant, it is your responsibility to safeguard this data to the best of your ability.

Your payment processing company can be a vital ally in assisting you with this vital task. Be sure to choose one that uses the latest technologically advanced procedures to protect sensitive customer data. These include tokenization, a technique that changes the customer’s account number into a series of randomized letters or numbers that you store and that cannot be used to compromise the customer’s privacy. Another effective method is point-to-point encryption (P2PE), which enables the customer’s information to be encrypted throughout all aspects of the transaction. This means that your merchant systems will never have access to the data or be held responsible in the event of a security breach. As a result, you can reduce the costs that you are required to pay for complying with PCI standards while still ensuring that your buyers’ precious credit card information is not violated by criminals.

3. Echeck processing.

Anyone who has done business for a few years can tell you that accepting checks is costly and time-consuming. While you may never totally eliminate paper checks from your business model, simultaneously accepting Automated Clearing House (ACH) or echeck payments can drastically cut costs and save time for you and your staff. These types of payments make it possible for the customer’s bank account information to be transmitted electronically, facilitating a faster and more efficient transfer of funds. As a result, you can offer the option of direct deposits and conduct B2B and ecommerce payments safely and efficiently. When you work with a payment processor that provides ACH capabilities, you can offer your customers with a wider set of services that will ultimately increase satisfaction and potentially bolster your profit margins.

4. Thorough reporting.

Whether your company is tiny or massive, you need to have a reliable and effective mechanism for reporting your sales from the beginning of the transaction until its resolution. By selecting a payment processor that offers payment gateway services, you will be able to achieve this goal. If your processor provides you with reporting application payment interfaces (APIs), you will also have a complete view of all of the information that is being passed to every player in the payment process. Furthermore, you will have leeway to customize the system to meet your business’s unique needs.

5. Seamless integration

If you have been serving your customers at your business for any length of time, you probably already rely on several third-party accounting, customer relationships management, and/or payroll administration programs that make running your operations more efficient. Far from clashing with what you already have in place, the services of the payment processing company you choose should augment and enhance your existing software. As a result, you will be able to transact all payments from one interface, making the reconciliation process much simpler. Furthermore, you will quickly realize that you are saving both time and money while minimizing those costly data entry errors.

Not all payment processors are the same. That is why it is vital that you do your research in order to find the one that can provide you with reliability, security, and the most affordable rates. Once you integrate your carefully vetted vendor into your business structure, you can streamline your processes, enhance your working relationship with your staff and buyers, and rely on accurate and thorough reporting that will enhance every aspect of your operations.

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