“I know a guy…” Most people have experienced this at some point in life: you need to get some work done, and a friend or relative knows someone or thinks they can do it themselves. Maybe you need your car fixed. Or maybe you need a website designed. Or maybe you need a payment processor so that your business can accept credit card payments. In many of these situations, that friend of a friend might even be able to help, but when it comes to payment processing, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
What does a payment processor do?
While credit card payment processing is naturally an important part of the regular operation of ‘brick-and-mortar’ businesses, it is the world of e-commerce that is truly reliant on it, especially as they continue to constitute a larger and larger share of the global economy. Sitting at the intersection of the various players in the payments industry, the payment processor is tasked with managing the interaction between the customer, the merchant, and the banks.
When a customer makes a purchase, the encrypted transaction information is sent to the payment processor; the processor then requests authorization from the customer’s bank based on whether or not the customer has sufficient credit to cover the purchase. Once approved (in a part of the process that takes usually mere seconds), the processor informs the merchant of the approval and signals the merchant’s bank (also known as the acquiring bank) to credit the appropriate funds to the merchant’s account.
Why trust a professional processor?
Even though the steps involved in every single transaction may seem simple, in truth they represent a complex process that involves the customer, the merchant, the acquiring bank, the card network, and the customer’s bank. Being able to understand and navigate this world requires a payment processor who has the time, the knowledge, and the resources to successfully act on behalf of merchants. So why trust a professional payment processor? There are numerous reasons:
- Complexity: As noted, the payment industry is complex, and it would be time-consuming and potentially risky for merchants to try managing it on their own or relying on an unreliable party. As a merchant, you’re undoubtedly busy enough working to make your business thrive, so you probably don’t have time to delve into the nuances of payment processing.
- Compliance: On a similar note, compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a high bar that requires detailed know-how of industry rules, norms, and technologies; it isn’t something to be taken lightly, particularly because there can be hefty fines for noncompliance.
- Service: Besides performing their core function, professional payment processors also bring service elements to the relationship. One of the best examples of this is merchant support; when you have a question or concern about a transaction, or about any aspect of payment processing, the right payment processor will be available with answers and insight into any concern.
- Reliability: In truth, the acquaintance who claims to be able to help with payment processing is probably some sort of middle man for another processor or is in some way farming out the business. With the extra layer of interaction, it may be difficult to determine how reliable the connection may be.
How to choose the right processor?
If choosing a professional payment processor is the right move for your business, then how do you choose the best processor? The competition is fierce, and there are many options to choose from, but here are a few important qualities to look for and questions to ask:
- Merchant Support: What is the processor’s approach to merchant support? If you pick up the phone to call, will you have easy access to actual humans who are knowledgeable and happy to help? Or are you just an inconsequential number? A great processor will place a high value on being there for you when you need assistance or answers.
- Industry Knowledge: What level of knowledge does the processor have about your particular industry? Will they take the initiative to learn about your business so that they can better serve you?
- Chargeback Defense: Chargebacks are one of the biggest risks faced by online businesses, and too many of them can have costly consequences for your bottom line and your continued ability to accept credit card payments. How high of a priority is chargeback defense to the processor? What tools are in place to prevent chargebacks or defend against them when they happen?
- Support for High Risk Merchants: In the payment processing industry, many merchants are deemed “high risk” that you wouldn’t expect; often it comes down to products and services that have characteristics that make them more likely to trigger chargebacks. Some processors won’t even take on high risk merchants because of this. As you’re investigating possible processors, what is their policy on high risk businesses? Are they supportive? Or do they begrudgingly bring them on?
Running an online business is a wonderful challenge to take on, but you can’t do it alone. PayCafe is a payment processor who is dedicated to being a partner for high risk and low risk merchants alike. With the latest security technology, robust chargeback defense, access to excellent customer support, and a dedication to knowing and understanding your business, PayCafe is a payment processor you can rely on to have your back as you’re working to make your business thrive.