Choosing a Merchant Service Provider – Part Three

This is part three of the series of how to choose a merchant service provider. It deals with the aspects of integration into your business processes.

Factor Three: Business Process Integration

Your business requires you to interact with your customers in many different ways

  • Front office refers to where you have a direct interaction with your customer. Retail, kiosks, stores, etc. are obvious examples of this situation. You want to ensure that the service provider either
    • Provides a device to process the payments e.g, cards, checks, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc.
    • Or, integrates into the point of sale system you use e.g., Practice Management Software for a physician practice
  • Out and about where you travel to your customer, or don’t have a fixed location for doing business. However, you want to take a payment at the point of service or sale.
    • These typically require a dedicated mobile point of sale device such as those you might see in taxicabs, or,
    • More typically, hardware attachments for phones or tablets that effectively convert them into a point of sale device
  • eCommerce is another place for you to interact with your customers, where it is your website interacting with the buyer to receive payments. You want to ensure that website provider fits your payments needs since merchant services come pre-integrated with your site provider.
    • Typically, your website provider such as Shopify will provide integrations into merchant services gateways, and you’d be restricted to choosing one of them
    • Sometimes the sites may provide a white labeled service and that’s the only option for receiving payments e.g., with Etsy, eBay, Uber or similar marketplaces, payments are integrated part of the service

In all of these cases, make a catalog of your business processes first. How will you interact with your customers? How will you manage your business? It is quite likely that you will first select the tools you need to run your business e.g., your website, or point of sale system. As you shortlist these systems, ensure that you’ve included the payments preferences as one of the selection criteria. For example, if you anticipate receiving a lot of payments via checks, selecting a system that allows for good handling of checks, all else being equal, will generate better productivity outcomes.

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