As the eCommerce space becomes increasingly competitive, more merchants are turning to their payments strategy to accelerate business growth — through reducing declines and optimizing acceptance rates. As such, we are witnessing a revolution in payments processing. As customer demographics, merchants’ needs, and payment technology evolve, an online merchants’ relationship with its payments partner has shifted significantly.
Today, only a few payment providers can solve all expansion requirements, be a true consultant, and turn payments into a revenue booster around the globe.
If you’re selling goods or services online, here are the top questions you should ask a prospective payments partner to ensure you’re getting the best possible service and return from your payment technology and team:
1. Can I easily scale and add payment methods?
The global payment landscape is getting increasingly local in terms of preferred methods, currencies, and regulations. Also, if your customers’ card transactions are declined, offering more methods can avoid losing the sale.
If you’re planning to grow your retail business in overseas locations and want to scale up your payments to be ‘local’ in that region, your partner should offer these services to support you.
So, ask how many APMs they support. If your payments partners’ limited scope prevents you from using methods your customers know and trust, those transactions are almost certainly lost. It is paramount for payment partners to connect into multiple APMs globally.
Also, find out the partner’s level of support for emerging methods for younger consumers who dislike credit cards — offering options like buy now, pay later services for example.
2. How reliable is the service and support?
First, check the payment company’s platform reliability — its uptime and resilience. You don’t want your payment service to drop out during peak shopping seasons. Some payment platforms, like ours at Nuvei, offer 99.999% uptime which is a critical SLA for a high-traffic online business.
In addition, ask how important human relationships are to this payments partner. Despite the ever-evolving technology in customer service, you don’t want automated services or chatbots but rather valuable human support at a critical moment. Choose to work with people who understand your business.
Ask them directly, how good would you rate your customer support and response times?
3. Can I switch or add providers easily?
First, it’s worth asking yourself: what do you like and dislike about your current PSP? Businesses’ needs and requirements change. It should no longer be the case that signing with a single payments partner prevents you from working with other solutions, partners or acquirers, should your needs shift. This linear, exclusive approach is positioned firmly in the past.
So, ask if this prospective provider is agnostic. Can it be easily integrated with other systems and providers? Choose a provider that believes in choice, flexibility, and redundancy.
4. How do you route transactions to improve acceptance rates?
If a payment is declined, ask how the platform automatically attempts to recover the payments. Does it trigger an automatic response upon refusal, enabling customers to select another payment method or to be connected to your support team?
Also, does the partner allow you to create your own routing parameters to decide how each payment transaction is processed? For example, sending transactions to the most cost-efficient acquire. Ask how their technology boosts your revenue.
There can be hundreds of reasons why a transaction might be accepted or declined. But only some payment providers will provide this level of automation.
Don’t be afraid to get granular: ask the provider what their acceptance rates are in your specific vertical.
5. How well can you support my international growth?
Does the payment partner offer consultancy support in international expansion? Can they offer advice with aspects like accepting new types of payment methods, international regulation, and other cross-border payment issues? Do they offer Merchant of Record services that allow you to set up shop without a local presence? These questions can be important for your business’ growth, a payments partner that can provide expertise and experience in these areas can be invaluable.
Also, how extensive is their global acquiring coverage? Which acquirers do you have connections to/with? Find out if you can leverage a wide network of acquiring partners to accept payments locally anywhere in the world.
Finally, ask how quickly you will get your funds with this partner, per region. Check how easily refunds and split payments are managed, so you get a sense of the full payments cycle’s agility.
6. What is your level of fraud management and data protection expertise?
It is essential that your partner is your ally in fraud management and is fully up to date on evolving risks in payments. Ask whether the payments provider offers real-time fraud detection and which level of security standards they meet. How do they respond to new types of fraud? Are these services integrated into the platform, as standard?
When it comes to eKYC, are they on top of anti-money laundering regulations and identity management? Ask whether they will advise you on best practices on meeting regulatory requirements like PSD2 and Strong Customer Authentication, whilst helping you get the best authorizations.
Finally, ask how the partner supports recurring payments like subscriptions and one-click payments. How is customer data stored, is tokenization technology used to keep the information secure for future payments? With tokenization, you outsource liability while conforming to 3D Secure specs and requirements. Along the way, the billing cycle gets shortened as you automatically recognize users across all manner of transactions.
7. How advanced is your reporting and analytics?
Nowadays, payment managers are part of high-level strategic discussions, interacting with marketing departments and helping craft initiatives that target new customers. The main reason? There’s a wealth of customer and payments data available that wasn’t accessible a decade ago. It’s become easier to drill down and gain visibility into acceptance rates and how to optimize the end-user experience.
Ideally, your payments partner will help you leverage that data so that the shopper preferences and experiences are tracked and remembered, with everything set up and in place for the next transaction.
Ask the provider what level of self-service analytics they provide. Does the reporting tool provide real-time authorization and batch data broken down by card brand, payment method, geography, etc? Can they help you automate and streamline the matching and reconciliation of your payments across multiple service providers?
Ultimately, there are a huge number of providers offering to facilitate payments, so it can be hard to establish which solution will work best for your specific business. Only by asking the right questions, getting under the skin of the payment provider’s level of support, flexibility, resilience, and geographical reach, merchants will get the most out revenue out of each transaction.