Payment Processor for Online Business
In the age of credit cards, e-commerce, and online transactions we are constantly looking for ways to ensure our customer get the best possible service coupled with an easy to use payment option. Many of us look for payment processors like the well known PayPal or Due who provide the services we need to have an easy transition into the field. However, it’s best to consider that there are many more options available to you. Just settling for a processor is not a good business decision, and should not be taken lightly. You need to identify your needs, and who will serve them the best. There are many startup and fraudulent companies within the wild west of the internet. On the other hand there are legitimate companies that can provide better services than some major corporations. Finding a payment processing company will take time, and is arguably one of the most important parts of starting an online business. Whether you are just starting in the business of e-commerce, or have been in business for some time this article is here to help you find the right payment processor for your company.
How Companies Process Payments Online
Processing payments online is a very important part of e-commerce. If you own an online business, or a business that sells products online you need a payment processor. Selecting a payment processor comes down to your needs as a business. If you are just starting your site you want to make sure you do your due diligence, and understand every aspect of the process. You should review the guidelines, cost of the service, and the legitimacy of the company. If the company has few or no reviews it doesn’t necessarily mean the company can not provide the services intended. What you want to look for is shown in the next few paragraphs. How companies process payments online is through an Application Protocol Interface that you need to integrate with your website in order to function properly. These API’s come in different sizes with multiple endpoints that you will need to include in your site. This is a simple process that requires you to review the API documentation and create the endpoints within your website. Sometimes this requires a plug-in to be created, but this is just as easy as creating the endpoints within your site. Once you have created these endpoints and paid whatever fees may be required to start you want to test the API. Payment processors should have test cards that you will use to make sure the API is functioning properly. If something does not work you will either need to review the documentation to make appropriate adjustments, or contact the processor for further guidance. Once you’ve completed these steps you are ready to go live and begin processing. Keep in mind that you want to monitor this API often, and inform the processor of any issues you may encounter while using it.
Online Payment Processor
One of the cornerstones of any great online business is a great online payment processor. You want to look for a company that will accept you, charge a reasonable transaction fee, and will make sure you understand the guidelines. A good online payment processor has the following qualities:
- PCI Compliance: Payment processors typically store client information temporarily. There are requirements that must be met to process transactions legally, so it is within a store owner’s best interest to do their own research on any online payment processor before agreeing to a partnership. Never agree to setup PCI Compliance on your own.
- Transaction Fees: Any good CFO knows to run the numbers two, three, or four times. Make sure you know your estimated costs and fees before selecting a payment processor. How many customers do you expect each month? How much revenue do you estimate each month? Payment processors generally charge a small transaction fee per transaction. Make sure you estimate the cost before reaching an agreement. Make sure to watch out for any hidden fees as well.
- Software Compatibility: More than likely you have software already built before you’ve even considered a partner. This software needs to be able to communicate with the processor’s software. So the best thing to do is make sure either your software has compatibility with theirs, or that you will be able to bridge the differences.
- Answers Questions: Your payment processor should answer any questions you have and be completely transparent. Documentation may or may not be readily available, and if so a representative of the company should be able to get in contact with you. You want to make sure you have a clear understanding of what they provide.
It’s up to you to decide what you’re looking for, and what it is exactly you need. Online Payment Processors come with a variety of different services, and sometimes it boils down to “The Simpler the Better.” The more services a company offers the more endpoints will need to be created. So if you are looking for something to just get the job done it’s best to review each payment processor, and pick the one that offers exactly what you are looking for.
Questions to ask a Payment Processor
As stated before asking questions is a very important part of finding a payment processor. Whether they are big or small you want to make sure you have a full understanding of what to expect from them. Here are some key questions to ask a payment processor:
- What are the processing fees? One of the big questions for any processor. How much is this going to cost me? You want to make sure you know the fees for all services you will be using.
- What types of payments do you process? Payment processors generally accept credit and debit transactions. But, do you want to accept more? Maybe Google Wallet or Paypal? How about reward or business cards? These payment options are something to consider.
- Do you charge different fees for different payment methods? While unlikely it’s still important for you to account for any fees you may encounter. Therefore this question should encompass all and should be documented in some manner when asked.
- Is there a contract? And if so make sure to get documentation of it. Read it thoroughly and ask the processor questions you have within it. Also ask about possible early termination fees if not clearly defined within the documentation.
- Is there a monthly fee? Some payment processors have a monthly fee in order to use their services. You want to make sure you know what that fee is, and (if there is one) whether it may fluctuate depending on your transactions.
- Is there a minimum amount to process? Some companies require you to meet a minimum goal in order to use their services. Sometimes this can be different depending on the size of your company.
- Is there a maximum amount to process? Although unlikely this is still a question to ask because some processors do limit the amount. This can be especially frustrating and may alter your client’s/customer’s perception of your business.
- What support do you offer? Sometimes we have a bad month. Sometimes sales hit a snag, or maybe your site must be down for a time. Whatever the case may be you need help from your processor. Find out what support they offer to you and your business. Preferably in the form of a live representative to assuage you and help you through the process.
- What services do you offer? You have needs that differ from the next guy. You want to make sure your processor has all you need to run your company efficiently and effectively.
- Are you PCI Compliant? PCI Compliance is something that should never be the responsibility of a client. The payment processor’s job is to provide a service that is legitimate, secure, and compliant with all laws regarding payment processing. This question should always be on your list when speaking with a representative, or reviewing documentation.
Alternative Payment Processing
Most people look at an alternative payment processor as a way to get away from generic widely used sources that generally offer more than required. Alternative payment processors can be a good or bad thing depending on how you go about it. Some clients within the e-commerce business have witnessed first hand what happens when a payment processor decides to interrupt or deny services when the client has already been processing through them for a time. The loss of revenue hits home, and is something that affects the company heavily especially in reputation. Factors could be as simple as a technical “glitch” in the system. Or it could come down to political factors influencing their decision. For example people in the business of supplements understand that supplements are not FDA regulated, and are therefore in the “gray area” of the law. This can cause problems with some payment processors who attempt to avoid the red tape. This is why they generally look for “high risk” or “alternative” payment processing for their needs. Having to find a new processor is a challenge, however finding one immediately is even more troublesome. The more time you spend on your research is more revenue lost for your business. This translates into needing a payment processor who is quick to setup, affordable, and provides the basic services your company will need to function. Finding this will require hours of reading API documentations, calculating percentages and fees, and making sure you have a complete understanding of the company as a whole. Alternative payment processors can be a quick fix to the problem, or may even become a long-term investment.
The 4 Syndicate: An Alternative Payment Processor
A great example of an alternative payment processor is The 4 Syndicate, a Dallas TX based company that processes for multiple clients throughout the United States and Canada. The 4 Syndicate (The 4) is an alternative payment processing company that can help you get your marketplace up and running easily. They accept high risk clients or clients who have been turned away from other processors. These clients are reviewed for possible fraudulence, and given a score of low to high risk depending on the company’s history. The 4 monitors each client’s transactions, and uses a fraud system they have developed to identify any problems with the client’s transactions. The 4 has an API with only three endpoints to help get your platform going with exactly what you need quickly. The company works with its clients, and is generally able to create useful tools for the client as needed. The 4 Syndicate charges a six percent transaction fee, plus a fee per transaction depending on the client’s risk evaluation with no hidden fees whatsoever. The 4 has a history of creating powerful applications already, including a video optimization platform known as incline.media. The processor has no hidden fees, and is easy to use with helpful representatives there to guide you through the process. You can contact The 4 Syndicate at their website the4.net or by phone at 520-pay-card.
I hope this article has helped you in understanding the importance of picking the right payment processor. It can be very frustrating, but is always worth the due diligence. You want to think about how this could affect your company’s reputation. In a time where everyone is trying to conquer the internet you will need to move quickly and precisely. The moves you make everyday will affect you, and you want it to be the right effect. Luckily you now have a short guide that will help you through the process of finding the right match for your company. Whether a novice or an expert it’s always good to think back to the basics. Payment processing can be a very tricky thing to work with, and it’s important to consider each step carefully. This business is your baby after all, and you want to give it the best you can provide. Hopefully this guide will serve you well, and your business will benefit greatly from the hours of research ahead. Good luck.