Payment Processing Vendor Selection

Payment Processing Vendor Selection for Small Businesses in New England

This article will help your small Connecticut business with payment processing vendor secletion. When you are running a small business, you need to get paid in a way that is secure, easy for your customers, and well-integrated with your system.

With a brick-and-mortar location, that can be fairly simple: you can accept cash, credit card, or perhaps a check. Even then, you will need to engage a credit/debit card processor to keep things easy and secure for your customers and you.

However, online payment raises additional concerns since customers entrust their money to a process that is automated and less personal. Depending on your type of business, you might need to include delivery/return services and customer support in your online payment interface.

If you run a professional service business, you might want the ability to generate, send, and track invoices. Sometimes, your customers might expect additional payment options such as ACH or EFT to transfer funds.

With so many options regarding features, it can be difficult to decide which payment processing vendor is right for your business. Here are some things you should consider.

Payment Processing Vendor Selection

Security and Reliability

Everyone on both ends of a financial transaction seeks security and reliability. Therefore, any vendor that you select should adhere to the latest information security standards regarding transmission of data and storage of customer information. Because of the worldwide threat of ransomware and other malicious activity, these standards change from time to time.

Information security standards can be difficult to understand. That’s why you should have your IT team or an external managed service provider check out any potential vendor’s security protocols.

In addition, the company you choose should be reliable. It should have a good reputation for stability and for delivering the services that they claim. Check out who their clients are, especially returning clients, and any reviews of service that you can find.

Easy Experience for Customers

People won’t cough up their money for services or products unless they find it easy to do so. Research shows that over 75% of online customers abandon the process without purchasing a service or product. Two of the most important reasons are having to create a required account and encountering a long, difficult payment process.

Even when purchasing legal, medical, or other services, clients want the payment process to be as easy and transparent as possible. They need to trust the website through which they submit payment. Out-of-date site design, cumbersome navigation, or sluggish loading times can erode trust and cost you money.

Further, many customers resent having to create a full account just to submit payment. If you run a professional service business, you probably have all your clients’ personal information already on file. In any event, consider eliminating any requirement to create an account. At least, make it optional.

If your organization is not-for-profit, make sure that your payment vendor can handle donations easily, perhaps through an appropriate “Donate” button on your payment form. Make sure that a donation can be appropriate linked with its purpose.

Good Integration with Other Systems

One of the most important features to seek in a payment processing vendor is the ease and degree of integration with other software and systems. For example, you should know how the payment vendor interacts with your bank.

  • Does the vendor offer to process ACH or EFT transactions?
  • Moreover, does the vendor provide automatic deposit of funds received to your bank?
  • Are deposits forwarded the same day they are received, or must you wait a few days before your bank receives the funds?
  • How well does the vendor’s platform integrate with your accounting software?
  • Can you download individual or bulk transactions into your accounting software?
  • Can the vendor automatically update your accounts payable files?
  • Similarly, how does the vendor transmit customer identification information to your CRM system if desired?
  • Further, how much control does the vendor permit over display of the payment form(s) that customers must complete?
  • Can you insert your logo? Does the form conform to the design of your website?
  • Can you control which fields are included or in what order?
  • Can the company handle international payments (if needed)?
  • Are there extra fees associated with international transactions?

Cost and Support

Most vendors are transparent regarding their subscription costs and transaction fees. But for the sake of your budget, you need to understand fully your vendor’s fee structure.

For instance, what are the fees charged for transactions? Fees can vary according to the number or amount of transactions. (Typically, fees can range up to 3% + $0.30 for each transaction.)

Does a prospective vendor require an annual contract? What will it cost to transfer your business to another vendor?

If something goes wrong, what sort of support does the vendor offer? Many will provide 24/7 phone or chat support. Others limit personal support to specific days and times during the week. Some restrict support to email or community forum.

Payment Processing Vendor Selection Takeaway

As you can see, selecting a payment processing vendor involves many factors, some of which are technical.

Since all businesses and not-for-profit organizations must be concerned about efficiency, security, and a good customer experience, the choice of a payment vendor should be well informed. Unfortunately, many business owners lack the technical resources or time to sort through all the options.

Most especially, it is crucial to make sure that the integration of a vendor’s platform and the IT system that you use to run your organization is as seamless as possible. Here’s the simple fix. Have your in-house IT team or your IT managed service provider evaluate prospective payment vendors.

If you are a Connecticut organization in need of assistance, get in touch with Now IT Works.