What To Look For When Choosing a Payment Processor

Online merchants have an almost overwhelming number of options when it comes to choosing the right payment processor, and making the right choice can sometimes be the difference between thriving and surviving. 

While having a lot of options is generally a good thing, it can also leave merchants in a daze, wondering which service to choose. This is especially true for those e-commerce businesses that fall into the “high risk” category, a distinction that is often defined by seemingly innocuous factors like high average ticket sales or high monthly sales. 

For merchants of all varieties, though, there are some basic signs and features to look out for that can make the selection process easier and ultimately create a better match between the merchant and processor: 

What kind of support do they offer? 

Well-established merchants who are looking to switch to a new payment processor may have an advantage by already understanding the e-commerce landscape. But even those merchants require support in the daily course of running their business, so one of the most important aspects of a payment processor is their approach to support. This is an even greater concern for the many new and future entrepreneurs who decide to stake their claim in an online market and need help to get started. 

What level of knowledge do they have about my industry?  

Different industries naturally have different needs, patterns, and risks, so the ability of a payment processor to understand a particular industry says a lot about their ability to be a true partner to a merchant. With the hands-off approach employed by many processors, merchants in niche industries may be at greater risk when navigating the complexities of online credit card payment processing. 

What is their attitude towards communication and transparency?  

The payment processing industry is filled with examples of merchant accounts being shut down without providing the merchants much in the way of explanation. In business, having the right information at the right time is essential to success; because of this, a processor’s disposition and attitude about transparency is a key differentiator when choosing a service. How do they handle performance reporting? How easy is it to access real-time information? What about disputes or the ability to easily find a particular transaction? These are the kinds of questions a merchant needs to be asking during their search. 

What technology do they utilize?

As web technology continues to evolve, payment processors need to innovate in order to stay ahead of merchant needs. Just as banks and other financial institutions use advanced security technology to encrypt data, so should the payment processor you choose. Another important technological feature is API integration; do they offer it? Is there a cost to use it? The way a payment processor integrates technology should make the service easy to use, reliable, and extremely secure.

How do they handle chargeback defense?  

Anyone who has operated an online business probably already understands that disputes and chargebacks can become major obstacles, not just in terms of cash flow but also in terms of the future ability to continue accepting credit card payments. A payment processor’s attitude about chargebacks and their commitment to mitigating risk for the merchant are critically important factors to consider. 

What if my business is considered high risk?  

The list of business types and industries that are considered high risk to payment processors is extensive; it includes traditionally “questionable” businesses like online gambling and adult entertainment, but it can also include fully respectable operations like furniture stores or legal services. Some processors won’t even work with these businesses, and many who do will charge exorbitant fees. Finding a payment processor who will be fair and provide solutions for reducing that inherent risk is another key element in the search for the right service.  

PayCafe: Making Online Payments Easier  

Ultimately, the best credit card payment processing service will be the one that makes the process as hassle-free as possible. PayCafe is a processor whose vision is to provide a simple and easy-to-use service for both high and low-risk merchants and to help them successfully navigate the often complex and confusing world of payment processing. They do this by offering an innovative platform with a rich feature set that includes robust fraud prevention, real-time reporting, API integration, bank-level security technology, and a concierge-style customer support system that provides merchants with an indispensable partner in running their business.