If you’re an online merchant, you probably already know that you need a payment processor to be able to accept credit card payments online. What you might not realize, however, is that not all payment processors are the same. Indeed, in the world of e-commerce these days, the competition is fiercer than ever to win your business, and you have seemingly endless options to choose from. But how do you know if your processor is really a good value? One of the most reliable ways to tell is their approach to customer service; in short, if your processor isn’t sensitive to your customer support needs, it’s time to find a new processor.
Why is Customer Support So Important?
For some newer merchants, customer support may not seem like an important feature since maybe a need hasn’t arisen yet. But accepting card payments while running an online business can present some unexpected challenges, and if your payment processor doesn’t help you navigate those challenges, you might not know what to do. Here are a few potential issues you can run into:
Chargebacks: Originally designed to protect consumers, chargebacks too often become a thorn in merchants’ sides. When a customer decides to dispute a purchase (for legitimate or illegitimate reasons), the issuing bank will deduct the amount of the transaction from the merchant’s account and credit it to the customer. Only after that transfer is complete will they begin to investigate the veracity of the dispute. For the merchant, this process represents a risk because of the possible loss of revenue in addition to the consequences of having too many chargebacks (up to and including account termination). Without assistance from their payment processor, the merchant is on their own to try to manage the process or to make it less likely in the future.
Suspended or terminated account: In the payment processing industry, the payment processor has a significant amount of leeway and power in determining whether or not a merchant account should stay operational. For this reason, some processors have been known to suspend or terminate a merchant account for even an appearance of a problem, and this can happen without even warning the merchant. This is naturally a potentially huge problem, as a merchant’s online sales screech to a halt until the issue is resolved or until they can secure a new merchant account.
Fraud: Credit card fraud is unfortunately more prevalent than ever before, and it has become an especially heavy burden for online merchants. One of the most common types of fraud is referred to as “card not present” fraud; since the actual credit card is not present during an online transaction, it is possible for fraudsters to make unauthorized purchases and get possession of the merchandise before anyone realizes what happened. In a similar way as chargebacks, the consumer usually has greater protection and can get their money back; if a merchant is the victim of fraud, however, they usually have the burden of proof and may not be able to recover the lost sale or the merchandise.
Integration problems or glitches: As the technology behind websites continues to improve in capability, it also means an increase in complexity. When a glitch occurs, or when difficulties emerge in integrating an online shopping cart or other e-commerce features into a merchant’s website, it can be daunting to know how to resolve the issue; after all, most merchants are experts in their business but not necessarily experts in web technology.
Hidden fees: Every merchant knows that there are fees associated with accepting online payments, but it can be confusing to know what the fees are for or how much they are. This is especially true when you consider the various “interchange fees” and “assessment fees” and complicated equations that take into account the many different players getting their cut of each transaction. It all amounts to a situation where the merchant may not get full transparency from their processor on fees for the service.
What Should You Expect From Your Processor?
Running an online business doesn’t mean that you’ll always be loaded with problems, but these kinds of situations do happen. And when they do, you definitely want to make sure that your payment processor has your back and that they are available when you need them. This means you should be able to pick up the phone and get answers and assistance whenever you need it, but on a deeper level it means that you should have a supportive business relationship with your processor that meets some basic expectations:
- Your payment processor should take the time to learn and understand the needs and nuances of your business
- Your payment processor should be as concerned and passionate about your business as you are
- Your payment processor should commit to always offering direct contact with representatives
- Your payment processor should be vigilant about helping you prevent and deal with fraud
PayCafe was founded because they continually noticed an indifference among payment processors towards their merchants and an unwillingness to provide robust customer support. PayCafe wants to be the kind of payment processor that helps merchants thrive in their business goals by being a guide and partner in navigating online payments. With a concierge-style approach to customer support, merchants can always pick up the phone and get an answer to any question they have. Beyond being responsive, though, PayCafe seeks to get to know each business and tailor the service to their needs.