Credit Card Processing can be a very intimidating, yet necessary evil in business. We get that. At Century Business Solutions, our job as a Merchant Services Provider is to inform our clients so they can make an educated decision about the way they accept payments from their customers. With that being said, there are a lot of different terms and jargon thrown around the credit card payment industry. One very important term that can be misunderstood is merchant integration. This term holds so much importance due to the benefits your company can realize from such a product.

What is a Merchant Integration?

Let’s dive in a bit further as we unpack this little merchant processing crash course. The dictionary defines integration as “the act of combining or adding parts to make a unified whole.” The idea is to improve efficiency with one process. So how do we apply this term to your credit card receivables?

A merchant integration is an added feature for your billing software. For example, let’s say your typical process involves a stand-alone (dial-up) terminal and then posting payments to QuickBooks. Typically, you would punch in the cardholder’s information into the terminal and then process the payment. At the end of the day, you would then have a report of all of your transactions that you entered for that day to post to the corresponding open invoices in QuickBooks. Sound familiar? A merchant integration gives you the ability to eliminate the double-entry process and post a credit card payment right in from your QuickBooks platform. This is the combination of two separate, yet related functions, to improve efficiency and save you money at the end of the day (because after all, time is money).

So where does one acquire one of these fancy worded plug-in’s of magical goodness? There are only a handful of merchant services providers that offer these tools. Usually, if your processor offers this benefit, you can ask your representative about the process, costs, and timelines to implement the plug-in. Building something like this is time consuming and costly, so merchant services companies don’t typically provide merchant integration add-ons for free. Lucky for you, you landed on a company’s website that does. 🙂

Not all integrated solutions are the same, and it is absolutely crucial to do your homework when making this decision. Figure out which functions you find most important and make sure that the merchant provider’s integration meets all of the criteria you expect from a merchant integration. A good way to assess which functions your company needs most is to think about what process is most time consuming for you in the payment posting process. Make a list and check off the functions that have been met as you do your research for each product.

Uncover all of the costs before you commit to any integrated solution. Sometimes, these fees can be tricky. Make certain that you completely understand all of your costs (immediate, monthly, annually, etc.), benefits, and savings before tying the knot with any processor.

Now get out there and start researching for the merchant integration that’s right for your business!