There are lots of factors to consider when choosing payment solutions for your business. Finding the best payment service provider for your specific needs is crucial to your company’s success, as they will help you to develop a secure, reliable, and suitable payments flow and experience, to convert and retain customers and maintain a good reputation.
In this blog post, we outline 9 important questions to ask prospective payments service providers to help you in your selection process.
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Before approaching payment service providers, consider your business needs
Before reaching out to payment service providers, your organisation should firstly ask itself questions concerning key business needs in order to pose the right questions to prospective providers.
People tend to think that the more information you gather the better. This isn’t correct. Too much information can be overwhelming and make decision-making difficult. It’s important to gather meaningful information from across your organisation and establish your top business requirements and priorities before assessing which is the best payment service provider to choose.
When performing an internal analysis of requirements and priorities it’s important to distinguish between what’s critical to your business success and what’s a “nice-to-have”. Too often we’ve seen decision-makers choose a PSP that ticks all the boxes on their “nice-to-have” list only to fail on most (if not all) of the things that are critical to the business. Remember the maxim: not everything that glitters is gold!
Key questions to help determine the best payment service provider for your business
If you think you have enough intel from within your organisation and clearly defined requirements, then you need to arm yourself with the right questions to carry out an informed selection process. And while there may be many questions that are specific to your business, the following are the key questions we recommend every business should ask prospective payment service providers.
1) What markets do the payment service providers specialise in?
Ask your candidates what markets they specialise in. The best payment service provider for your organisation will ideally specialise in your business market or target markets and be able to provide insights regarding the payment process, common payment methods, and your customer needs and expectations within the given market(s). This should be proven with metrics! Prospective providers that can’t tell you approval ratios by country and merchant category code (MCC) or those that throw around ambiguous or fantasy figures are not worth considering.
2) What payment methods and solutions are supported?
Understand the payment solutions that providers offer and see how well they suit your business needs. This includes the payment methods they support.
Modern customers expect to be able to use various forms of payment and ease of transaction is vital, so offering a range of payment methods that are common in your target markets helps to boost customer experience, reduce barriers to purchase, and enhance your reputation. However, consider your target customers and what payment methods YOU want to offer them.
Payment methods vary by many factors and adopting a “the more the merrier” approach is a sure way to lose money and customers rather than gaining them. Don’t be swayed by PSPs that offer a range of 300+ payment methods when all you’re interested in is just 3 of those!
3) What capabilities do providers have for customising the checkout process?
Most payment solutions have capabilities for merchants to customise their checkout process. Learn how customisable the process is with your prospective payment providers, as this affects the flow and user experience. The more flexibility and customisation available, the more aligned the journey can be with your business and customer needs.
Find out whether your potential providers can suitably match the route to purchase and the checkout options that you want to offer your customers. Plus, ask about the level of mobile optimisation available.
You also need to understand what would be required from you on a technical perspective to support customisation to the level you’d like. For example, the process may be very customisable but require you to have specialised developers to write the relevant code (which you may not have readily available or at a considerable cost).
4) What is the onboarding process like?
It’s important to get potential payment service providers to outline the onboarding process you can expect. This includes the following considerations:
- What are the timelines?
- What is the required documentation?
- What training is required?
- What level of support is provided during the process?
See if you can get an onboarding roadmap from providers. A smooth and timely onboarding process, with minimal disruption, is key. Ensure that the onboarding process matches your expectations and requirements. It’s also good to find out how long it will be before you can start accepting payments after onboarding, as you want to make sure you can hit the ground running.
5) What level of support can you expect from your provider?
Get information about the level of support you can expect from payment service providers ongoing. Seek answers about the following considerations:
- Does the solution provider offer responsive support or a ticketing system?
- What methods of contact will be available?
- Will live chat be available?
- Will you have dedicated account managers?
- What are the average response times and SLAs?
- If you have any critical issues, are there escalation options to resolve them quickly?
- Can I track progress?
Having a great payments system is not enough. The best payment service providers will offer adequate support to resolve any issues that may arise. Getting a clear picture of the support available with different gateway providers will give you peace of mind.
6) What risk management tools do prospective payment service providers offer?
Learn how your prospective payment services providers monitor and manage risk and what measures they take to help businesses avoid repercussions and financial and reputational damage. Ask providers to show you their risk management policies and see how comprehensive their support is for helping you to minimise risks involved with transactions, such as fraudulent activity, payment errors, chargebacks, etc.
7) What kind of reporting you will receive for your transactions?
Ask potential payment service providers for a demo of their reporting dashboard. Understand what level of data you’re getting and how detailed decline messages will be. Transactional data provides important information and insights for your business to improve the payments experience. So, it’s vital to know what level and format of reporting will be available, how flexible and detailed it will be and how it will integrate with your existing systems.
8) What are the fees and commercial terms?
You need to have a clear picture of the fees and commercial terms involved to determine the best payment service provider for your business. If any of your prospective providers have an unclear pricing model, get to the bottom of it – you don’t want to run into any hidden costs. Also, find out if providers offer preferable commercial terms for specific types of industries.
Consider your business goals and forecast and, crucially, determine the real monthly costs of the payment solutions offered by service providers, once everything has been considered, including:
- Set-up fees
- Transactional fees
- Minimum/maximum transaction thresholds
- Dispute management
- Currency conversion
- Early termination of contract charges
- POS terminals (if you have a bricks-and-mortar presence)
Also, find out how quickly you’ll receive your funds from sales. Waiting for long periods for payment settlement can be problematic for some businesses. Certain payment service providers hold onto funds for longer than others, from a month right down to 1-3 days.
9) What level of data protection and security policies can you expect?
Get an understanding of how the best payment service providers under consideration will protect your data and the level of security they offer your business.
All reputable payment service providers should comply with PCI-DSS requirements. Ease any fears you have over data security, protection and compliance by requesting details about their policies and accreditation related to payment services security regulations.
Remember: The best payment service provider will most closely align with your business needs
The answers to these questions will help you discover which providers are most suited to your business type, industry, products/services, target market, demographics and, most importantly, your specific business requirements and customer needs.
Due to the unique needs of today’s businesses and their customers, payment service providers offer varying solutions and benefits, making certain providers more suitable for your own business requirements than others. So, making an informed decision about the best payment service provider for your business, based on the key considerations, will help you to save money, reduce risk, plan for the future and ensure a smooth payments process and user experience. Asking prospective providers the right questions will set you up for success.
If you’d like more help with the payment solution selection process, we’ve compiled a handy checklist for choosing the best payment gateway for your business. It’s free to download – get your copy!
Anything you’re not sure about? Any considerations you don’t see above? Get in touch with our payments experts for guidance around implementing suitable payment solutions.
Fibonatix is a global payments consultancy and leading payment service provider, offering customised payments solutions to power and scale your business. We empower merchants with our expertise and offer tools to process payments effectively and drive business growth. Get expert advice around risk management, compliance and regulation, and payment technology development and optimisation. Fibonatix is FCA regulated, with offices in the UK, Germany, and Israel.