Are You Ready for a New One? When Is It Time for Another Payment Service Provider?

When does the time come for an online retailer to worry about changing its payment services provider? Roger Niederer, Head Merchant Services at SIX Payment Services, has created a checklist for merchants that will allow them to check whether they are ready for a new payment services provider:

1.Know-How & Support: Does your payment service provider deliver practical solutions that respond to your problems?

Customers want a seamless shopping experience. In order to offer this, merchants need to constantly examine the optimal multi-, cross- and omnichannel strategies. But the more purchasing channels they offer the customer, the more complex the requirements become – because each channel needs specific expertise. Often, a payment service provider (PSP) can take an advisory role, sharing many years of experience and helping to coordinate a strategy for the specific (online) store. This also means that the implementation and maintenance can be handed over to the professionals.

In addition, a PSP should be able to advise shop owners when their customers’ purchasing behavior or conditions are changing. For example, with regards to meeting the needs of a new target group such as millennials, who have grown up in the digital world and like to pay via smartphone. Risk management should also be included in the portfolio of your service provider. As an example, if the system detects an unreliable payer, it can put them on a blacklist and only offer them those means of payment that bear the lowest risk for the merchant.

2. Transparent costs

Is data management part of your provider’s services? Some payment service providers offer such additional services. For example, a free analytics tool so that a merchant can quickly and easily see the status of their transactions and fees details. In particular, small and medium enterprises benefit from a full-service solution, as they can receive a valuable overview of card payments in a few simple steps without having additional expenses. Merchants that know the payment preferences of their customers can develop strategies to build up loyalty and retain them.

Transparency plays an important role for merchants, not only when it comes to customer preferences. The cost of the services from the payment service provider should be presented in a clear pricing model in order to get a holistic picture of the costs and services.

3. International: Is your payment service provider capable of working for you across borders?

If an online shop is putting together an international offering, is about to expand into other countries, or is interested in going abroad, it should be considering whether the current payment service has cross-border abilities. International sales do not only influence the choice of currencies and languages that need to be provided, but also the payment methods offered in the checkout process. In addition, the PSP should always be able to support the merchants with additional information about international payment markets and trends.

4. Confidence is half the battle: Does your payment service provider know your daily challenges?

Customers tend to pay with a favorite method with which they are particularly happy, and which they feel is secure. Often, however, these are different across sectors and vary from region to region. If merchants can offer the personal preferences of potential buyers, this reduces the number of transaction losses and will improve the return ratio. However, being able to offer many different payment methods can be quite a challenge – particularly for small and medium businesses. With the right PSP, a merchant can save internal expenses for the integration and processing of a new payment method. For example, it is easy to offer payment by credit card because the PSP handles the costly mandatory PCI DSS certification.

It is always worth evaluating how much time, effort and cost is involved in finding professional advice, the implementation and maintenance of channels and analysis of billing information; and how much your current PSP charges for it. Then look for a flexible PSP which makes you feel valued and with which you feel comfortable, because, at the end of the day, it is the personal relationship which is paramount.